Welcome back to my 31 in 31 top ten prospect series.
Yesterday, we took a look at the Edmonton Oilers’ farm system where we found a plethora of young talent highlighted by Evan Bouchard, Kailer Yamamoto, and Ethan Bear. Today, we’re going to go on a trip down to the sunshine state and check out the Florida Panthers’ pipelines. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
1. Henrik Borgstrom (C, 1st Round, 23rd Overall in 2016)
The Panthers took a flyer on Henrik Borgstrom when he wasn’t originally projected as a first round pick and so far it’s looking like a wise decision. Borgstrom has been dominant at every league he’s played at since his draft year and shows no signs of slowing down. The Helsinki native is currently playing for the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL and has 22 points in 24 games so far.
2. Owen Tippett (RW, 1st Round, 10th Overall in 2017)
The first thing to be said about Owen Tippett’s game is that he’s a pure goal scorer. He has an incredible wrist shot and has a knack for finding the back of the net more often than not. He’s currently playing in what will likely be his last OHL season and has 19 goals and 33 points in 23 games so far.
3. Aleksi Heponiemi (C, 2nd Round, 40th Overall)
At this point Heponiemi is just getting bored of torching leagues and just moving onto the next one. After an incredible season in the WHL last year with 118 points in 57 games, he’s gone back to his native Finland to play for Karpat of the SM-Liiga and currently has 26 points in 28 games. Considering his age and position, these are absolutely incredible totals. It’s hard not to think that Heponiemi will be in the NHL next season.
4. Grigori Denisenko (LW, 1st Round, 15th Overall in 2018)
Touted as a Johnny Gaudreau-esque player, the Panthers would be ecstatic if they managed to pick up another Johnny Hockey in last year’s draft. Denisenko is currently playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL where he will more than likely spend the majority of his development. He currently has three goals through 15 games.
5. Samuel Montembault (G, 3rd Round, 77th Overall in 2015)
The 2015 NHL Draft was absolutely stacked with solid goalie prospects and the Panthers got one of them in Sam Montembault. The Quebec native struggles last season but has really turned it around in his second AHL season, so far sporting a record of 9-3-1 with a goals against average of 2.81 and a save percentage of .913.
6. Max Gildon (D, 3rd Round, 66th Overall in 2017)
Gildon has been nothing short of spectacular through his sophomore season with the University of New Hampshire, currently sitting with 14 points in 15 games. A 6’3 defenseman who has the ability to pitch in at both ends of the ice, the Panthers may have found a gem in Gildon.
7. Dryden Hunt (LW, Undrafted, Signed in 2016)
Although he hasn’t been able to put up impressive totals in his few NHL stints, Hunt still shows promise as a potential middle six goal scorer. He currently has 12 points through his first 15 games in the AHL with the Springfield Thunderbirds.
8. Jayce Hawryluk (C, 2nd Round, 32nd Overall in 2014)
Usually when you think of players in the ECHL, you write them off as prospects who won’t ever really be anything special. Despite this, Hawryluk is looking to defeat that narrative. He spent parts of last season in the ECHL last year and in turn is destroying the AHL this season with 28 points in 25 games thus far.
9. Logan Hutsko (RW, 3rd Round, 89th Overall in 2018)
Hutsko was selected by the Panthers after a very solid freshman season with Boston College and currently has a more-than-respectable 12 points in 14 games in his sophomore season. He’s putting up points at a great pace and could be in the pros sooner rather than later if he keeps it up.
10. Serron Noel (2nd Round, 34th Overall in 2018)
A projected first rounder, the Panthers pounced (pun definitely intended) on Noel when he slipped to the second round and so far it’s looking like a solid pick. The Ottawa native is a tower on skates at 6’5 and 205 lbs and is putting up points at a higher rate this year, with 37 points in 31 games thus far. He could project to be a solid power forward at the NHL level someday.
Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow where we’ll check out the L.A. Kings prospect system.