2019-20 End of the Season Prospect Tier Rankings
Here's my most recent Austrian hockey prospect rankings.
This year is pretty exciting because a couple good friends of mine are hoping to get drafted. We'll see. The U20 WJC was completely unexpected but it was kinda the culmination of years of highs and lows, and many different types of tears. Now the draft to look forward to, it's very exciting.
The Breakdowns for the Austrian 2020 Draft Prospects are Below
A candidate for the 2020 NHL Draft, Peeters played once for the Austria U16 team back in early 2018 and then not again for almost two years. The news of Peeters’ eligibility for the U20 WJC felt like a huge turning point for Austrian hockey even before the tournament. Like the cavalry arriving to aid wearied warriors appearing on the hilltops at the break of dawn. Peeters is still a relatively raw player. More explosiveness would grant him more separation from defensemen, more strength would improve his ability to win battles or protect the puck, and his defensive skills are still a work in progress. That said, if you put him in front of the net, he will score you goals. Relentlessly, in fact. He’s also a very good passer and can deke and dangle as well as anyone else in the system. He’s a long way from reaching his full potential, and being picked at the NHL draft this summer would be a fantastic start to that process.
The hero of the U20 WJC. Draft boards say there’s a possibility that he gets picked in the NHL draft, and I desperately hope that is in fact what happens. He’s fast, he strong for his size, a fantastic play-maker, always seems to find a way to be around the puck. For years he has been a consistent staple for the Junior National Teams. Even for mid-season friendlies when teams would consist largely of names that even people knowledgeable about Austrian hockey would scratch their heads at, Baumgartner would reliably be present. He’s always been there, and in ways, he’s always been the heart and soul of the Austrian Junior National Teams. His success at the Pro level in Switzerland has put him on some radars, he is a candidate for many young player of the year awards. And he deserves everything he’s earned at this point and more.
Austria’s breakout star for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, Nickl is a defenseman with a large frame and imposing body who can play defensively and mix in offense as well. He has a cannon of a shot, and he figured out a while back that, when in doubt, putting the puck on net was never a bad option. He is a good skater and will continue to improve in that department. His stickhandling is solid, and he has some playmaking ability. His agility has also improved over the years, and this has helped him both offensively and defensively. Nickl played a large role in the Austrian U20 team’s promotion to the Elite WJC in 2020-21, where he will be eligible. He is projected to go in the early-middle rounds of the 2020 NHL draft, which is extremely exciting for Austria, and entirely deserved on his part.
You really can’t say enough about Rossi. 120 points in 56 games speaks for itself. He has incredibly decision making with the puck, is built like a tank, and moves play with his ability to get to the puck, stay on the puck, and then get the puck to a secure location. He is slated to be the highest drafted Austrian since Thomas Vanek some 17 years ago. He did not attend the WJC D1A this season in order to focus on maximizing his draft potential in the 2020 draft. However, he will be eligible to play with the U20 team next season in the Elite WJC. After thoroughly dominating the Canadian Junior leagues for two years, he will likely be returning to Europe for his next season if he is does not make the NHL straight out of his draft year.
Also, Leon Wallner made the Central Scouting Midterm List. He is a longshot, but his description below.
More than anything else, Wallner is a really smart player. Also a very skinny player who ironically enjoys playing in front of the net as much as anywhere else on the ice. He’s a good skater, a good passer, and has deft touch. Some players inexplicably always find ways to constantly be on the puck. What they do with this can be good or bad. Aside from his obvious need to put on muscle weight, Wallner’s biggest problem is that he feels like he is rarely around the puck. His ability to hound the puck, harass opposing defensemen, and set the pace of the game needs to improve. His play with the puck or in scoring situations is more than adequate. Presumably, his ability to pressure should increase with work on weight training, power skating, and time in the film room. And he is young, he has plenty of time to improve. This would be the next step.