Tired of the prospect lists? No? Good. Here’s another series.
It’s the middle of February, but if you’re anything like me, you’re thinking of prospects just as much as you’re thinking of NHL hockey. As a result, I’ve decided to form another list looking at the future of the NHL. Only this time, I’m going to narrow it down a little bit. I’m going to be taking the top ten DRAFTED prospects and sort them into groups of 10 by country. Top 10 Canadian, American, Swedish, Finnish, etc etc. Without further ado, let’s kick things off and look at what Hockey Canada will have to offer in the future.
10. Gabriel Vilardi (C, LA Kings – 1st Round, 11th Overall in 2017)
It’s been a tough season for Gabe Vilardi. He appeared in four games with the AHL’s Ontario Reign, registering one point, before being sidelined with a lingering back injury. It seems as though Vilardi will be out for the rest of the season, but he’s still an incredibly talented prospect who has all the tools to be a future #1 center. He has good size at 6’3 and 201lbs and is effective at both ends of the ice. Things should get back on track rather quickly for Vilardi once he recovers.
9. Evan Bouchard (D, Edmonton Oilers – 1st Round, 10th Overall in 2018)
Not a lot of people agreed with me, but at one point I had Bouchard in my top three rankings for last year’s draft. Why? There is a ton to like about him. He’s right handed, has good size at 6’2 and 198lbs, he’s good defensively, and put up 87 points in 67 junior games last year. He actually played in seven games for the Oilers this season, scoring his first NHL goal. After his NHL stint he was sent to play for Hockey Canada at the World Juniors. After notching 3 assists in 5 games in the tournament, he was sent back to the London Knights. Currently he has 44 points in 37 games playing in a top pairing role. If all goes according to plan, Bouchard will be a top notch defenseman for the Oilers in the future.
8. Philippe Myers (D, Philadelphia Flyers – Undrafted, Signed ELC in 2015)
Nota lot of people know who Philippe Myers is, and he’s well aware of it. Since going un-drafted in 2015, he’s made it his mission to make the other 30 teams (at the time) who passed on him regret their decision. The ’97 born right handed defenseman is a monster on skates at 6’5 and 209lbs and has been very effective in the AHL this season, putting up 29 points in 48 games thus far. With Myers, Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg, and Ivan Provorov among others, the Flyers are more than set on the back end for years to come.
7. Owen Tippett (RW, Florida Panthers – 1st Round, 10th Overall in 2017)
In Tippett’s draft year, the one thing that separated him from other prospects was his shot and raw goal scoring ability in general. He’s spread out his offense a little bit more this year but he’s still lighting it up with 30 goals and 64 points over 46 games. At the last World Juniors he was an offensive force for Hockey Canada, scoring 4 points in 5 games and showing off impressive offensive skills. He saw seven games of NHL action last season where he scored his first NHL goal, but has been in the juniors ever since. Having recently turned 20, Tippett will more than likely play in the AHL next year if he doesn’t make the Panthers.
6. Maxime Comtois (LW, Anaheim Ducks – 2nd Round, 50th Overall in 2017)
After a small dip in production, Comtois slipped to the second round where the Ducks pounced on him. And so far, it’s looking like a very smart decision. The Quebec native played in 10 games with the Ducks this season and impressed in that span with seven points. He then unfortunately went down with an injury before joining the AHL’s San Diego Gulls on a four game conditioning stint and then getting sent back to junior. He’s currently playing for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL where he has 39 points in 19 games with them. Seeing how he produced in his short NHL stint, Comtois will almost certainly join the Ducks full time next season.
5. Jordan Kyrou (C, St. Louis Blues – 2nd Round, 35th Overall in 2016)
After a victorious final OHL season, Kyrou joined the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage and hasn’t missed a beat. He’s putting up points at almost a PPG pace with 37 points in 38 games thus far and has also seen 16 games of NHL action. While he only put up three points in that span, he should definitely become a top six center for the Blues in the future with the right development.
4. Nick Suzuki (C, Montreal Canadiens – 1st Round, 13th Overall in 2017 to VGK)
Originally a first rounder of the Vegas Golden Knights, Suzuki is an incredibly talented forward with offensive ability oozing out in every category. In what will more than likely be his final OHL season, he has 77 points in 51 games split between the Owen Sound Attack and the Guelph Storm. Whether he begins next season in the NHL or the AHL next season is a mystery, but regardless in the long run he’s going to give the Canadiens a significant boost up front.
3. Morgan Frost (C, Philadelphia Flyers – 1st Round, 27th Overall in 2017)
Frost was originally projected to be a second round pick in 2017, but the Flyers took a chance and selected him at 27th overall and so far, it’s looking like a very, very good pick. Frost has been all over the scoresheet this season, with 103 points in 53 games for the OHL’s Sault St. Marie Greyhounds and eight points in five games for Hockey Canada at the World Juniors. With totals like these, it’s hard to believe Frost won’t be in the NHL next season.
2. Cody Glass (C, Vegas Golden Knights – 1st Round, 6th Overall in 2017)
Cody Glass made headlines in 2017 as the first ever draft pick in the history of the Vegas Golden Knights organization. And so far, it’s looking like Vegas might have drafted their future #1 center. Glass is likely in his final season in the OHL, and he’s currently in the process of tearing up the WHL with 69 points in 38 games with the Portland Winterhawks. The 6’2 right handed center also put up six points in five games with Team Canada at the World Juniors. Like Frost, it’s hard to believe that Glass won’t be in the NHL next season.
1. Cale Makar (D, Colorado Avalanche – 1st Round, 4th Overall in 2017)
It’s incredibly early to be making Calder Trophy predictions for the 2019-20 season. Aside from the obvious contenders such as Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, there is… another. Yes, I believe that Cale Makar will easily be in the running for the Calder Trophy. Mark my words. Not a lot of Canadians play in the NCAA during their development, but Makar is and he’s doing more than making his name known. He currently has 36 points in 31 games for UMass-Amherst this season and hasn’t slowed down one bit. While all of the attention in Colorado goes to their top line of Landeskog, Mackinnon, and Rantanen, next year you’ll be seeing the cameras on Makar.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next time where I’ll go over the top ten drafted American prospects.
All stats used provided by HockeyDB.com
Featured Image Photo Credit – Josh Tessler