The Top 10 NHL Prospects On The Planet
With the regular season coming to an end, tanking teams shut down players for the season, and we get to see a glimpse of their best prospects in action.
With news scarce and the CHL Playoffs right around the corner, what better time than to unveil the top 10 NHL prospects.
10) Ilya Samsonov, G, Washington Capitals
Some people were shaking their heads as the Capitals made Ilya Samsonov the 22nd overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, but its paid off. Samsonov is putting up excellent numbers with KHL Magnitogorsk, including a 2.05 GAA and .925 SVP in 13 games.
9) Shea Theodore, D, Anaheim Ducks
The steal of the 2013 draft at 26th overall, Theodore is an offensively gifted defender who produced over a point-per-game in junior and had 22 points in 36 AHL games before getting called up to the NHL for good in late January. And he hasn’t stopped there, quarterbacking the Ducks 2nd PP unit.
8) Christian Dvorak, C, Arizona Coyotes
Dvorak has excelled playing on a team with Mitch Marner and 2016 draft prospect Matthew Tkachuk, putting up an absurd 101 points in 47 games (points as of mid-February), including a career high 44 goals. Dvorak is 20 years old and was a 2nd round pick in 2014, but he has probably played his way into an NHL spot next year, as he has defensive responsibility to go with offensive creativity.
7) Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
The 8th overall pick in 2015 looked great at the World Juniors, and has 22 points in 26 games on a stacked Michigan Wolverines team. He’s a workhorse on the back-end that should make an immediate contribution if he cuts his university stay short to play in the NHL.
6) Kyle Connor, LW, Winnipeg Jets
The Jets have found another gem, this time in the 17th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft. Kyle Connor, who transferred from the USHL to play with Werenski in the NCAA with the Wolverines is tearing it up. The freshman is first in the NCAA in scoring, with 24 goals and 51 points in just 28 games. The winger is lightning fast and has a good shot, but needs to fill out before he can play in the NHL.
5) Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche
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After the Avalanche made Rantanen the 8th overall pick last year, he played 5 scoreless games in Denver before getting sent down to play in AHL San Antonio, where he has thrived. He has 44 points in 35 games, and the 6’4′, 211 pound beast is a nightmare to go up against on the boards and has a heck of a shot.
Expect him in the NHL next year, and we could even see him as early as this postseason.
4) Ivan Provorov, D, Philadelphia Flyers
The player who was taken a pick ahead of Rantanen is shining bright with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. Provorov has put up crazy numbers this year, and is probably the best prospect on defense as of now. He has 54 points in just 49 games, and he also was a force at the World Juniors, finishing 10th in scoring among all players. He also has an NHL ready frame at 6 feet and 200 pounds.
3) Mitch Marner, F, Toronto Maple Leafs
The size concern surrounding the talented Marner are diminishing, as the 4th overall pick in 2015 has grown to 5’11’ this season. Marner has put on a show all season long in OHL London, scoring 36 goals and 94 points in a crazy 45 games. And although his World Juniors probably wasn’t what he expected, he showed up when he was counted on, scoring two goals in the 3rd period in a 6-5 loss to Finland that ended their tournament.
2) Dylan Strome, C, Arizona Coyotes
In the Hockey News’s Future Watch, Strome beat out Leafs prospect William Nylander for the best prospect by a hair. It’s the other way around in my ranking. Strome has been on fire all season long in OHL Erie, with 88 points in 44 games. He is big (6’3′) with soft hands and a laser beam shot that make scouts drool.
The fact that he led Canada in scoring at the WJC and scored some highlight reel goals only made his resume better. But in Strome’s defense, at 185 pounds he does need to fill out before he can play in the NHL, and his assist total may be a little inflated because he played with goal scoring dynamo Alex DeBrincat.
1) William Nylander, F, Toronto Maple Leafs
When you’re 19 years old and lead the AHL in scoring, it speaks volumes. William Nylander, the 8th overall pick in the 2014 draft, has a combination of speed, skill, and a deadly shot that makes him the #1 prospect on the planet.
After leaving for the World Juniors with 42 points in 34 AHL games, Nylander had 3 points in his first WJC game before being knocked out for the rest of the tournament after taking an ugly hit to the heat versus Switzerland. But that didn’t stop him. In his second NHL game, Nylander netted his first NHL goal on opposing netminder Andrew Hammond. So, who are your top 10 NHL prospects?