Loading scores...
Draft Guide

2017 Eastern Prospects

by Peter Harling
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Prospects eligible for inclusion on these rankings need to be under 25 years old and to have played fewer than 25 career NHL regular season games.

 

Boston Bruins

 

1. Charlie McAvoy, D – Boston University NCAA

The Bruins made an absolute steal of a pick landing McAvoy with the 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft. Since his draft just over a year ago, McAvoy scored 26 points in 38 games as an NCAA freshman, won Gold with USA at the World Juniors, then made his NHL debut in the Stanley Cup playoffs drawing rave reviews and finished the year with the USA at the World Championship. The Bruins have a long history of great defensemen from Bobby Orr to Ray Bourque to Zdeno Chara, and McAvoy is trending in that direction.

 

2. Anders Bjork, LW – Notre Dame NCAA

The Hobey Baker finalist had a huge season posting 52 points in 39 games. The 20-year-old has signed his ELC and will compete for a top six role with the Bruins this year. Since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft he has continued to make significant improvements and is proving to be a great value pick. Look for Bjork to start the year in Providence and get a few looks in Boston when injuries occur.

 

3. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C – Boston University NCAA

JFK is a consistent, two-way center who competes hard and can impact the game in a number of ways, from scoring points, to shutting down the opposition, to playing a physical gritty game. Having signed his ELC JFK will make his pro debut and will likely play the bulk of the season in the AHL.

 

4. Zach Senyshyn, RW – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

The speedy winger posted back-to-back 65 point seasons and 40+ goals in his final two years in the OHL. He has great wheels and soft hands but will need some time in the AHL to round out his defensive game and adjust to the pace at the pro level.

 

5. Urho Vaakanainen, D – JYP Liiga

The 18th overall pick projects to be a big minute, defensive defenseman. Vaakanainen is a safe bet to make the NHL and play a long time but don’t look to him to produce a lot of offense.

Buffalo Sabres

 

1. Alexander Nylander, RW – Rochester Americans AHL

Nylander is a highly skilled offensive winger. As a 19-year-old coming out of the draft he made the jump to the AHL and there was a learning curve, but the Sabres have faith and rewarded their prize prospect with a four game cup of coffee in the NHL. Nylander will see more time in the NHL in the coming season but isn’t quite ready for prime time yet. When he arrives, the rivalry with Toronto where his brother plays will be a fun one.

 

2. Casey Mittelstadt, C – Green Bay Gamblers USHL

With their first round pick in the 2017 draft, Buffalo probably would have preferred to pick a defenseman, but based on what was on the board the best player was Mittelstadt. He is a dynamic offensive player who can distribute the puck with his skill, vision and creativity. With Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly the Sabres are set at center. Mittelstadt has committed to play at the University of Minnesota and the Sabres can allow him to develop and add strength and not rush him.

 

3. Brendan Guhle, D –Prince George Cougars WHL

When injuries depleted the Sabres defense Guhle was recalled from junior on an emergency relief basis. In the three games he played he was held pointless but played well averaging over 16 minutes a game. After being traded early in the season he was producing almost a point per game pace for the Cougars before an ankle injury limited him to just 32 games. The 20-year-old will turn pro and should spend some time in the AHL but given the lack of defensive depth in Buffalo he could play in the NHL.

 

4. Rasmus Asplund, C – Farjestad SHL

Asplund was impressive for Sweden at the World Juniors and showed some chemistry with teammate Alex Nylander. At 5-11 he is slightly undersized and will need some time in Sweden and possibly the AHL before he is ready for the NHL

 

5. Viktor Antipin, D – Metallurg KHL

Buffalo signed the 24-year-old, five year KHL veteran defenseman to help bolster their back end. Antipin is undersized at 5-11 but plays the way the modern NHL defensemen need to play by creating transition offense. Look for Antipin to not only make the Sabres’ roster, but push for a top four spot.

Carolina Hurricanes

 

1. Martin Necas, C - HC Kometa Brno CZECH

A breakout performance at the Hlinka to start his draft year was followed up with a strong World Juniors that lead to Carolina selecting him with the 12th overall pick. Now the Canes’ top prospect, the question is, where will he play next year? He probably isn’t ready for the NHL so going back to the Czech League is a likely possibility. However, he was also drafted 10th overall by Saginaw in the CHL Import draft. If he wants to make the jump to North America, that is now an option as well.

 

2. Julien Gauthier, RW - Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL

After nearly making the NHL out of training camp last season out of his draft year, Gauthier was sent back to the QMJHL for his fourth year of junior. Gauthier had a great year playing at the World Junior tournament for Canada and going to the Memorial Cup. Gauthier will turn pro and likely start in the AHL for a brief pro orientation before making the Canes full time.

 

3. Jake Bean, D – Calgary Hitmen WHL

The offensive defenseman eclipsed the point per game pace in his draft +1 year in his third year in the WHL. With one more year of eligibility remaining he will return for his final season as the Carolina depth at defense is strong. Of all the impressive defensemen Carolina boasts, Bean is the most offensively gifted of the bunch.

 

4. Haydn Fleury, D – Charlotte Checkers AHL

The 21-year-old made the jump to pro and had a strong rookie season in the AHL posting 26 points and a plus -16 in 69 games, indicating he is ready to play in the NHL now. Carolina has a young but talented defense and Fleury should play the majority of the season in the AHL.

 

5. Warren Foegele, LW – Erie Otters OHL

One of last year’s last training camp cuts, Foegele nearly made the NHL, but was returned to the OHL. He was traded to Erie for a Memorial Cup run but fell short in the final game. Foegele has played out his junior eligibility and is turning pro, now eligible for the AHL. Look for him to play his first pro season in Charlotte.

Columbus Blue Jackets

 

1. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C/LW - Blainville-Boisbriand Armada QMJHL

After shocking the hockey world by picking Dubois third overall in the 2016 draft, Columbus surprised some by returning Dubois for another year of junior. He was a key member of the Canadian World Junior team but was held goalless. A trade to the Armada mid-season sparked his offensive game, returning him to over a point per game pace. A strong showing at training camp could earn Dubois a long look in Columbus to start the season.

 

2. Vitali Abramov, RW/LW – Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL

The Blue Jackets got a steal of a pick in the third round with the 65th overall selection. The undersized winger is a dynamic offensive player who broke the 100 point barrier in his second year in the QMJHL. The 19-year-old has one more year of eligibility in junior and will contend for a CHL scoring title.

 

3. Sonny Milano, LW – Cleveland Monsters AHL

In his first pro season, the sniper won a Calder Cup with the Monsters and was also loaned to USA for the World Juniors where he posted eight points in seven games. Milano has a combined seven career NHL games under his belt and has one assist in that time. He continues to make subtle and steady progress.

 

4. Markus Haanikainen, LW/RW – Cleveland Monsters AHL

The undrafted winger is found money as a free agent signing by Columbus. The Monsters’ leading goal scorer and alternate captain made his NHL debut playing in 10 games and garnering two points. The physical two-way winger also dished out 16 hits in his brief audition.

 

5. Calvin Thurkauf, LW – Kelowna Rockets WHL

Columbus may have found a gem in the seventh round of the 2016 draft with the big Swiss winger. Thurkauf had a 70 point breakout season combined with his 87 penalty minutes and plus-34 rating. Thurkauf will turn pro and play the upcoming season in the AHL with the Monsters.

Detroit Red Wings

 

1. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW/RW - Grand Rapids Griffins AHL

Bertuzzi made the Wings to start the season, playing in the first seven games before an injury knocked him out. He was assigned to the AHL for the balance of the season where he went on to lead the Griffins to the Calder Cup Championship and was named the Playoff MVP. He is ready for the NHL now.

 

2. Evgeni Svechnikov, LW/RW - Grand Rapids Griffins AHL

His first pro season was a resounding success, posting 51 points in 74 games in the AHL and capturing the AHL championship. Detroit needs goal scoring and Svechnikov can bring that.

 

3. Michael Rasmussen, C – Tri-City Americans WHL

The big pivot posted just over a point per game in his draft year in the WHL, was dominant for Canada at the Hlinka and had a strong performance at the Top Prospects game until a wrist injury ended his season early. Two more years in junior as he grows into his body and rounds out his game are needed before he will be ready for the NHL.

 

4. Vili Saarijarvi, D – Mississauga Steelheads OHL

The undersized but highly skilled defenseman will start his pro career in the AHL. The Wings are well known for slow cooking their prospects until they are over ripe in the minors and Saarijarvi should follow that development plan. His upside is significant.

 

5. Givani Smith, RW/LW – Guelph Storm OHL

The big power winger managed to post 44 points on a weak Guelph team in his third OHL season. Smith made his pro debut after his year in Guelph ended playing in three regular season AHL games for the Griffins but was held pointless. Smith will play his final junior season before spending more development time in the AHL.

Florida Panthers

 

1. Owen Tippett, LW/RW – Mississauga Steelheads OHL

Tippett has several highly coveted attributes in today’s NHL, he can skate and is very fast, and he has a deadly accurate shot. The big winger has a shoot-first mentality and can score goals, which is at a premium in today’s game. He needs to develop some consistency and better defensive play before he is ready for the NHL.

 

2. Henrik Haapala, LW/RW – Tappara Liiga

Signed as a free agent, the 23-year-old was the leading point scorer in the Liiga pro league in Finland last year. He had a strong showing in his first glance during the Florida Panthers Development Camp and is projected to start the year in a top six role.

 

3. Henrik Borgstrom, C – University of Denver NCAA

Some may have thought Florida was reaching by drafting Borgstrom 23rd overall in 2016, but in his rookie season in Denver he posted 43 points in 37 games, made the Finnish World Junior team, was named the NCHC Rookie of the year, second team All-Star and won the NCAA Championship. Not bad.

 

4. Adam Mascherin, LW – Kitchener Rangers OHL

Mascherin has continued his development, making significant improvement from year-to-year. As a rookie in the OHL he posted a respectable 29 points, then upped that to 81 points in his draft year and last year topped out at an even 100. Mascherin will contend for the CHL scoring title in his final year of junior.

 

5. Jayce Hawryluk, RW – Springfield Falcons AHL

His first year as a pro, Hawryluk was looking like he may have cracked the NHL roster to start the season, but the 100 point scorer from the WHL injured his hand in a preseason fight. When he returned he was assigned to the AHL where after a slow start, he finished with nine goals and 26 points on a weak Thunderbirds team. The undersized and feisty winger has upside.

Montreal Canadiens

 

1. Charles Hudon, LW – St. John’s IceCaps AHL

The undersized scoring winger has proven to be a consistent scorer at the pro level after three productive seasons in the AHL. With only six career NHL games and four points in that time, he has done everything to earn a real shot at making the Habs’ roster full time to start the season.

 

2. Nikita Scherbak, LW/RW – St. John’s IceCaps AHL

The Habs’ first round pick in 2014 had some improvement in his sophomore AHL season, raising his point total from 23 as a rookie to 41. Still lacking consistency, he will likely play the bulk of the season on the first line with the Laval Rockets for a third season of AHL development.

 

3. Ryan Poehling, C – St. Cloud State University NCAA

The Habs’ 2017 first round pick had a banner draft year as a NCAA rookie posting 13 points; he played a much larger role for USA at the World Juniors with three goals and five points to help win the gold. The big center has big upside but is a few years away.

 

4. Joni Ikonen, C – Frolunda HC SuperElit

Ikonen had a breakout performance at the U18 for Finland posting four goals and eight points in seven games. While slightly undersized, he is highly skilled and needs some development time. Ikonen was drafted in the CHL Import draft by Hamilton but has also been loaned to KalPa and could play pro in Finland.

 

5. William Bitten RW – Hamilton Bulldogs OHL

The tenacious and aggressive Bitten plays a solid two-way game and has all the markings of an impact pro player. Heading into his final season of junior, look for an offensive breakout from the 19-year-old.

New Jersey Devils

 

1. Nico Hischier, C – Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL

The first overall selection from the 2017 Draft should make the jump to the NHL right out of his draft year. Temper offensive expectations for his rookie season, but the dynamic Swiss player has first line center and 70 point upside.

 

2. Michael McLeod, C – Mississauga Steelheads OHL

The speedy McLeod had a tremendous season playing in the World Juniors for Canada and taking the Steelheads to the OHL Finals. McLeod still has one year of junior eligibility remaining and may get a short audition in New Jersey to start the year, but will return to the OHL.

 

3. John Quenneville, C – Albany Devils AHL

After one year in the AHL, Quenneville looks ready to make the jump to the NHL. He has offensive upside, good size, can skate, is strong on draws and competes physically. Quenneville is a strong candidate to make the Devil’s roster out of training camp.

 

4. Blake Speers, RW – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL

Speers started the season in the NHL with the Devils, playing in three games before an injury cost him a significant amount of time. He returned in time to play for Canada at the World Juniors and finished the year in the OHL posting 34 points in 30 games. His junior career is over and Speers will play the coming season in the AHL with the Binghamton Devils.

 

5. Nathan Bastian, RW – Mississauga Steelheads OHL

Bastian is an underrated prospect, who has size, skating and can impact the game on both sides of the puck. Bastian will make his pro debut in Binghamton and could replace Speers as a top six right winger.

New York Islanders

 

1. Mathew Barzal, C - Seattle Thunderbirds WHL

Barzal had a two-game NHL debut to start last season before being sent back to junior. In his final junior season he had a dominant performance highlighted by eight points in seven games at the World Junior for Canada and leading the Thunderbirds to the Memorial Cup. Turning pro, Barzal will likely get some seasoning in the AHL before breaking onto the Islanders’ roster in a full time top six role.

 

2. Josh Ho-Sang, RW – Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL

In his rookie pro season Ho-Sang played the bulk of his games in the AHL, but was impressive in his 21 regular season NHL games with New York posting 10 points. Controversy has surrounded Ho-Sang for his career, but it looks like he has matured both on and off the ice and should compete for a roster spot in the NHL.

 

3. Linus Soderstrom, G – HV71 SHL

Soderstrom had a breakout year in the SHL as the top goalie and led his club to a championship. The Islanders signed him to his ELC, but he will play one more season in Sweden before coming to America.

4. Ilya Sorokin, G – CSKA KHL

Arguably a better prospect than Soderstrom, Sorokin has re-signed in the KHL thru 2019-20 and is at least three years away.

 

5. Michael Dal Colle, LW – Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL

The 2014 fifth overall pick had a “disappointing” rookie season in the AHL, but 41 points in 75 games is nothing to sneeze at. He started the season off slowly but gained traction in the second half and should have a better sophomore season.

New York Rangers

 

1. Lias Andersson, LW – HV71 SHL

The Rangers desperately needed to replenish the prospect pipeline and made a safe pick in Andersson at seventh overall. Andersson is committed to play with Frolunda in the SHL but his performance at the Rangers Development Camp showed he is nearly ready to play in the NHL.

 

2. Filip Chytil, C – HC Zin Czech

The Rangers’ second first round pick is a more dynamic offensive player, but is less developed and further away from making the Rangers. Chytil was also drafted in the CHL Import draft and may play in the OHL for North Bay or return to the Czech Republic.

 

3. Igor Shesterkin, G – SKA St. Petersburg KHL

The Rangers’ future starting goalie is fresh off a Gagarian Cup Championship in the KHL. His KHL contract runs through to the 2018-19 season preventing him from joining the Rangers sooner.

 

4. Ryan Gropp, LW – Seattle Thunderbirds WHL

The big winger had his point totals increase each year during his junior career, posting 84 points in his final season on a stacked Thunderbirds roster. Gropp will play the coming season in the AHL.

 

5. Neal Pionk, D–University of Minnesota Duluth NCAA

The 2014-15 USHL defenseman of the year signed as a free agent after two seasons at Minnesota Duluth. The 22-year-old will play his first pro season with Hartford in the AHL but in short order could become the Rangers’ PP quarterback.

Ottawa Senators

 

1. Thomas Chabot, D – Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL

After starting the year in the NHL but remaining a regular scratch, Chabot was returned to junior. The list of accolades he earned in his final year in junior are significant and include QMJHL defenseman of the year and playoff MVP as well as WJC MVP to name a few. With the departure of Marc Methot there is an opening in the Sens’ top four on defense and it is expected Chabot will fill the void. Chabot is a Calder candidate and future Norris contender as well.

 

2. Colin White, C – Boston College NCAA

After two years at Boston College it was clear White was ready for pro hockey. Upon completion of his sophomore season there was some conflict as to where he should play. He started in the AHL, scoring three points in three games and was quickly promoted to the NHL. White was also a key player for USA at the WJC, scoring seven goals in seven games. White may split his time between the NHL and AHL again, but will spend the majority in Ottawa.

 

3. Filip Chlapik, C – Charlottetown Islanders QMJHL

In his final year in junior, Chlapik had his offensive numbers explode from 54 to 91 in only five more games. Chlapik was also solid for the Czechs at the World Juniors, posting two goals in five games.  Chlapik will give the Belleville Sens an offensive boost as he makes his pro debut this coming season.

 

4. Marcus Hogberg, G - Linkoping SHL

Hogberg is the Sens’ best goalie prospect and made his North American debut at the end of last season. In three games his stats were not impressive, but it’s a small sample size and different size rinks mean different angles. His past two seasons playing pro in the SHL have been outstanding. He needs some adjustment time, but is the heir apparent in Ottawa once Craig Anderson leaves.

 

5. Logan Brown, C – Windsor Spitfires OHL

Injuries limited Brown to just 35 games last season and he was a disappointing cut from the USA World Junior roster. On the surface it was a disappointing development season but he did still post 40 points, and is a Memorial Cup champion. The big center has offensive upside to put him in a future top six role.

Philadelphia Flyers

 

1. Nolan Patrick, C – Brandon Wheat Kings WHL

Ranked first overall for the 2017 draft for almost two years, the Flyers were the big lottery winners in landing their future first line center. Patrick will likely start in the NHL in a limited role and will get more ice time as he can handle it.

 

2. German Rubtsov, C –Chicoutimi Sagueneens QMJHL

After splitting time between the KHL and the MHL to start last year, Rubtsov came to North America to play in the CHL, where he posted 22 points in 16 games in the final quarter of the season. Rubtsov will likely return to the Q for another full season of junior where he should dominate and play a key role for Russia at the World Junior Tournament.

 

3. Philippe Myers, D – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies QMJHL

Myers was having a breakout fourth year with the Huskies, where he was a point per game defenseman and was dominant for Canada at the World Juniors with Thomas Chabot before an injury derailed his season, limiting him to just 34 games. With his size, skating and skill, his debut in the AHL should be impressive and his AHL career should be short.

 

4. Travis Sanheim, D – Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL

Sanheim could easily (and possibly should) be ranked number one on this list. His first year in the AHL was solid and he is ready for the NHL now. With a few departures from last year’s blueline and no external additions in the offseason, Sanheim is the top candidate to fill one of those jobs.

 

5. Oskar Lindblom, LW – Brynas SHL

After a breakout season in the SHL where Lindblom turned some heads scoring 22 goals and 47 points in 52 games he will be coming to North America and will be looking to break the roster out of training camp to give a boost to last year’s 20th ranked offense.

Pittsburgh Penguins

 

1. Daniel Sprong, RW – Charlottetown Islanders QMJHL

An injury caused Sprong to miss the start of the season but he had a banner final junior season posting 59 points in only 31 games and another 20 in only 12 playoff games. This dynamic offensive winger already has 18 career NHL games to his credit but should get some AHL seasoning time before he returns to the NHL, perhaps as a midseason call-up and he will never look back.

 

2. Tristan Jarry, G – Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Penguins AHL

Jarry was the Penguins’ AHL starting goalie last year and the departure of Marc-Andre Fleury opens the door for their top goalie prospect to become a full time NHL player, albeit as backup to Matt Murray.

 

3. Zach Aston-Reese, LW/RW – Northeastern University NCAA

This summer’s highest coveted college free agent was Aston-Reese, whose breakout senior year included posting 31 goals and 63 points in 38 games. After his collegiate season ended, he quickly signed with the Pens and played the final 10 regular season AHL games, where he posted eight points. Reese should start in the AHL but could be the Penguins’ next rookie cal- up sensation.

 

4. Filip Gustavsson, G Lulea SHL

The Pens recently signed Gustavsson to his ELC, but he will play at least one year in the SHL. The Pens are thin on prospect depth and particularly in goal so Gustavsson is the clear top prospect after Jarry.

 

5. Adam Jonson, LW – University Minnesota Duluth NCAA

Another free agent signing from the NCAA, Johnson spent only two seasons in college hockey before the 23-year-old signed his pro contract with Pittsburgh. Johnson posted 37 points in 42 games last year and will spend a year adapting to the pro game in the AHL.

Tampa Bay Lightning

 

1. Mikhail Sergachev, D – Windsor Spitfires OHL

The Bolts’ top prospect by far cost them Jonathan Drouin, but he has tremendous upside. While not a lock to make the team this year as he could play another junior season, he is certainly a future top pairing defenseman for the organization.

 

2. Anthony Cirelli, C – Erie Otters OHL

The Otters acquired Cirelli for his clutch goal scoring. He is the player who scored the OT Memorial Cup winning goal for the Oshawa Generals, and with Erie he won his second Memorial Cup. For a player who was never drafted in the OHL and earned a spot with a stacked Oshawa team as a walk on, he sure has been a fast rising prospect.

 

3. Taylor Raddysh, RW – Erie Otters OHL

Raddysh had a breakout season playing nine fewer games than the previous season and increasing his goal total from 24 to 42 and his point production from 73 to 109. His breakout earned him a spot on the Canadian WJC roster, where he posted five goals in seven games. Raddysh will play his final year in Junior but likely gets traded from Erie as they will need to rebuild.

 

4. Mathieu Joseph, LW/RW – Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL

The 20-year-old completed his junior career with a five point in four game performance at the Memorial Cup and was an energy player for Canada at the WJC, but came up short in both tournaments. Joseph will make his pro debut with Syracuse in the AHL this year but has all the talent needed to be an impact NHL player in a middle six role providing energy and complementary scoring.

 

5. Cal Foote, D – Kelowna Rockets WHL

The Kelowna Rockets continue to produce top quality defense prospects and Cal Foote is the latest. The son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote is a chip off the old block, a player you can win with.

Toronto Maple Leafs

 

1. Timothy Liljegren, D – Rogle SHL

The Leafs may have landed a lottery pick at the 17th overall selection of the 2017 draft in Liljegren. A year prior to the draft he was the No. two ranked prospect behind Nolan Patrick, but mononucleosis and injuries derailed his season as his time in the SHL was limited. His draft stock fell as a result. He is the puck moving defenseman the Leafs need and a future number one defenseman.

 

2. Jeremy Bracco, RW – Windsor Spitfires OHL

Bracco started his final OHL season on a tear with a monster 26 game, 51 point streak. He was a key member of Team USA, winning gold at the World Juniors with five points in seven games. Traded to the Spitfires late in the season, Bracco was a key contributor to their Memorial Cup victory with eight points in four games. WJC gold and a Memorial Cup Championship look good on his resume. The diminutive winger will start his pro career in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies and try to transition his prolific offensive production in the pros.

 

3. Andreas Johnsson, LW – Toronto Marlies AHL

After a slow start to his AHL career, Johnsson picked up his play in the second half of the season and in the playoffs, posting six goals. Johnson will start the season in the AHL for his second full year, but will be a prime candidate for a call-up if a top six scoring position becomes open due to injury or trade.

 

4. Carl Grundstrom, LW – Frolunda SHL

Grundstrom had a solid WJC Tournament with Sweden, scoring seven points in seven games and after his SHL season ended he joined the Marlies for the playoffs where he made an impact, scoring four points in six games.  However, he has been loaned back to Frolunda for the coming season and will not be competing for a roster spot this year.

 

5. Andreas Borgman, D – HV71 SHL

The Leafs signed two Swedish free agent defensemen this summer to bolster their blue line depth in Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman. They will compete with Travis Dermott for NHL duty but give the edge to the 22-year-old who was the SHL Rookie of the Year winner. Borgman had a breakout playoff performance with HV71, posting 10 points in 14 games.

Washington Capitals

 

1. Jakub Vrana, LW/RW – Hershey Bears AHL

The 21-year-old winger continues to round out his game and was rewarded with a 21 game NHL debut. His career AHL stats are impressive with 75 points in 88 games and Vrana is a top nine forward position there for the taking.

 

2. Ilya Samsonov, G – Magnitogorsk KHL

The 20-year-old Russian stopper posted some pretty strong numbers in the KHL and was outstanding in the World Junior as well. Under contract in the KHL until the end of the 2017-18 season, he could be extended in the KHL or come to North America and play some time in the AHL. Either way he is still a few years away from the NHL.

 

3. Christian Djoos, D – Hershey Bears AHL

Djoos had a breakout second season in the AHL, posting 58 points in 66 games to lead the AHL in defenseman scoring. He has an opportunity to crack the Caps’ roster to start the year and could see second unit PP time.

 

4. Madison Bowey, D – Hershey Bears AHL

His second AHL season was cut short by injuries but he still managed to produce offense and make an impact on both sides of the puck. Because Bowey is still waiver exempt, he will likely see more AHL time, but he is NHL ready now.

 

5. Jonas Siegenthaler, D – ZSC Lions NLA

The big but mobile defenseman had a breakout performance with Switzerland at the World Juniors. While everyone was watching Nico Hischier, Siegenthaler produced six points in five games. Known more as a defensive defenseman and a punishing hitter, he has some offensive upside. Siegenthaler finished the year in the AHL with Hershey playing the final seven regular season games and five playoff games, but was held pointless. He will play the full 2017-18 season in the AHL but looks to be a sure-fire NHL player.