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Now on to the top 10 prospect pools in the NHL!
10. NY Islanders – A Decent but Old Pool
The Islanders have been good at recognizing under valued talent for years. Many of these players have graduated and played big roles with the Islanders. Some recent examples are Barzal, Pulock and Beauviller. However, they’ve had trouble graduating a lot of these near sure things they’ve drafted of late. Their pool has some good potential in it (Dobson, Vande Sompel, Bellows, Aho, Golyshev, Wahlstrom) but many of the players were drafted 3-5 years ago and aren’t in the NHL yet. Time is running out.
9. Nashville – They’ve Got Some Pieces, They Need Some More
Dante Fabbro and Philip Tomasino are the key players in the Nashville system. They are good pieces and have significant star potential. They have a few other intriguing prospects, mostly D of course (this is Nashville), including Del Gaizo, Carrier, Allard, Davies and Farrance. Overall, Nashville has an above average top 5 prospect pool and an average overall pool. They need to re-tool the system with a few more bluechips.
8. Carolina – NHLers for Days, Now They Need Some Stars
The pool is headlined by Bean, Necas, Fensore, Honka, Suzuki, Rees and Drury. Carolina has a ton of probable NHLers in the system. But 13 out of 15 have a less than 60% chance of becoming an NHLer, the majority of their potential NHLers are 50/50 shots. Bean is their only prospect with significant star potential (Svechnikov and Aho are stars but don’t count here anymore). They need to re-stock the cupboards with a star.
7. Ottawa – Good. Might Be Great in a Few Weeks
The Sens have an above average pool across the board. Their main pieces are Brannstrom, Abramov and Norris. Brannstrom, who was acquired in the Stone trade, is a small defenseman with massive upside. He currently has a star probability over 70%. Abramov and Norris look to become solid NHL contributors, although not stars. The Senators don’t win out in any of the four categories but are telatively solid all over. Ottawa’s team prospect strength ranking could jump up by a few spots depending on what happens at the 2020 draft. Ottawa has two picks inside the top 5 in a very deep draft… time to make it rain!
6. Philadelphia –Rich in NHLers, Poor in Stars
The pool is headlined by York, Farabee, Frost, Zamula and Brink. The Flyers have a significant crop of prospects with a high likelihood of making the NHL. Their top 5 prospects have the 2nd highest average NHLer likelihood of all 31 teams. They have 14 players in the system with NHL potential. However, they might not have a single star out of the bunch. Although a few of the younger prospects, like York, may still develop into one.
5. Vancouver – Lots of Star Potential, All on Defense
The Canucks have the highest star potential in their top 5 of any team. Their top 5 prospects, however, are all defensemen. The big pieces in the top 5 are Quinn Hughes, Juolevi, Woo and Rathbone. The Canucks are expected to have 2 stars in their system. Hughes is one of them. They likely have another one between the other three big names. This is to go along with their elite forward crop of Pettersson, Boeser and Horvat that have all graduated to be NHLers and don’t count in this ranking. Notable 2019 forward draftees Podkolzin and Hoglander don’t show up high in the Hockey Prospecting model yet but they are still early in their development and could make big jumps going forward. A team rich in forward prospects (perhaps some of the teams you’ll read about next) may have a trading partner in the Canucks. The Canucks have a solid defense prospect pool but having some a-list forward prospects wouldn’t hurt.
4. Toronto – It’s Good and It’s Not Talked About Enough
The pool is led by N. Robertson, Sandin and Hallander. Moderate star potential, mostly provided by the big three, with the 2nd most probable NHLers of any team. Some of those less talked about potential NHLers include: Kral, Hollowell, Mikheyev, Abruzzese, Hoefenmayer (AHL deal for now), Liljegren and Koster. The Leafs have graduated three stars to the NHL in the past six years (Nylander, Marner and Matthews) and have done well to keep the prospect cupboard relatively stocked while they build into a contender. The Leafs should be able to avoid a rebuild for a number of years.
3. Minnesota – Underrated with Big Potential
The Wild have significant star potential in the top 5 (3rd highest). We’ve been waiting for Kaprizov and he could be a star as early as next season. He projects to be great and all of his comparables are incredible. There’s likely one more star amongst the their other big pieces of Boldy, Addison and Beckman. The Wild also have an above average expected NHLers as well with players like Khovanov, Lodnia, Shaw and Firstov in the mix. The Wild are undertaking a rebuild but could turn the corner quicker than we think especially if they can add another big piece when they pick 9th overall in the 2020 draft.
2. New Jersey – A High-Value Prospect System That is Solid All Over
The Devils have a very solid prospect pool. They have the highest average NHLer probability amongst their top 5 prospects, which include Jack Hughes, Jesper Boqvist, Nick Merkley, Reilly Walsh and Ty Smith. Hughes, Walsh and Smith also have significant star potential. Lots of star and NHLer potential throughout the prospect pool as well. The Devils are also set to add three more pieces in the first round of the 2020 draft. Their system could be in the conversation for best system in the league when October 7th rolls around.
1. Los Angeles – The Best Prospect System in the NHL
The Kings are loaded with bluechip star potential as well as probable NHLers. They rank 1st or 2nd in all four categories. Their major star pieces are Vilardi, Turcotte and Kaliyev. In addition to the big star pieces mentioned, Spence, Thomas, Shafigulin, Grundstrom, Anderson-Dolan, Fagemo, Durzi and Madden all have moderate to high NHLer probability. The Kings will also likely be adding Quinton Byfield to that stock at the 2020 draft. Have mercy.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed the Hockey Prospecting team prospect strength ranking series. The full summary of each team’s ranking within the four categories can be found below.