HFNHL Canucks: Midseason Top 20 Prospects

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Hossa, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    1) David Rundblad (NR)

    Acquired in a pre-season trade for Tim Erixon, Rundblad has had a historic season in the SEL. His 41 points are not only third in the league, but easily the highest total ever for a defenceman under 25. While Erixon’s all-round game may end up superior, Rundblad gives the Canucks the impact upside they need.

    2) Jake Allen (3)

    Since a disappointing WJC in 2010, Allen has been lights out. He won CHL Goalie of the Year last season, and was a starter at the AHL All-Star game as a rookie, wrestling starting minutes away from Ben Bishop. He continues to thrive statistically, easily out-pacing the other top goalies from the 2008 draft in Markstrom, McCollum and Pickard.

    3) Luke Adam (9)

    Another AHL All-star as a rookie, Adam’s quick adjustment to pro hockey is the reason he jumps up the rankings. Saw time in the NHL and did not look out of place. His skating continues to improve, but I’m not convinced he’s a center going forward.

    4) Jeff Petry (4)

    Recently demoted after a 20-odd game tour in Edmonton, Petry would have played in the AHL All-star game as a rookie if not for the call-up. Played very well in Edmonton, at times logging big minutes. His skating is world-class and rest of Petry’s game has transitioned nicely.

    5) Kyle Palmieri (6)

    Yet another AHL-All-star, Palmieri is maybe the most surprising. Only a 19-year old rookie professional, Palmieri struggled last year in college, but has thrived in 2010-11. Was good at the WJC, capable in a call-up to Anaheim, and strong all year in the AHL. Has also not been arrested yet. Good year so far.

    6) Mattias Ekholm (15)

    The biggest riser of the top prospects, Ekholm’s season in Sweden has been almost as impressive as Rundblad’s. A rookie in the SEL, he’s got 28 points (and is more of a defense-first player) and will almost assuredly take away Top Rookie honours. He’s a near lock for the World Championships as well.

    7) Beau Bennett (1)

    Bennett drops from first only because everybody else above him has had an outstanding season. He struggled out of the gate as a freshman at Denver, but has been solid for a while now, scoring around a point per game since the first ten games.

    8) Alexander Urbom (8)

    Urbom has not had the banner year like some of the other Swedish defenceman and AHL rookies, with only average play on a poor team in Lowell since breaking camp in New Jersey. Probably not a top end guy, but he has all the tools to play on a second pairing for a long-time.

    9) Max Sauve (NR)

    Acquired recently from Dallas for a package including prospect Ryan Bourque and Brian Connelly, Sauve is another first year pro who has acquitted himself well. His skating is already NHL-calibre, and with more strength he could be ready soon. Injuries are a concern, but he has shown dynamic goal scoring ability in flashes so far.

    10) Justin Braun (NR)

    A free agent college signing, Justin ‘Don’t Call Me Bieber’ Braun has been an offensive revelation. He has consistently put up points at the AHL level, including at the All-star game, but more impressively put up 9 points in 15 games in San Jose. The size, skill and shot are already NHL-calibre, and the defence should catch up.

    11) Justin Faulk (12)

    Last summer’s first round pick, Faulk has exceeded all expectations as a freshman at Minnesota-Duluth. With 22 points in 28 games, he is one of the better scoring blueliners, and performed well at the WJC.

    12) Richard Bachman (17)

    The least heralded of the club’s four goaltending prospects coming into the season, Bachman has been close to Jake Allen’s equal. Took Brent Krahn’s starting job and has run with it. Between Kari Lehtonen and Jack Campbell though, may be in the wrong organization.

    13) Jussi Rynnas (NR)

    It has been a very up and down season for Rynnas. He was poor to start, then absolutely unreal for a stretch, and now he is hurt. Hopefully his November numbers (1.33 GAA, .957 SV%) are a sign of things to come. Very raw talent between the pipes.

    14) Harri Sateri (10)

    Sateri struggled at the beginning of the year, losing his starting job early, only to reclaim it by Christmas. He has been very strong since, and will probably move to the AHL next year. Already signed by San Jose.

    15) Jerry D’Amigo (11)

    After a banner 2009-10 season, D’Amigo left college to play in the AHL as a 19-year old. Unlike Palmieri he struggled to score, and it seemed to affect his play at the WJC. A recent re-assignment to the OHL has rejuvenated him though, and a deep playoff run will help salvage a tough year.

    16) Philippe Paradis (19)

    Already on his third NHL organization, Paradis has taken a step forward offensively in the QMJHL, but is still not the elite scorer he could be. Reviews of his play are strong though, and his size and strength suggest he could be a better pro than junior.

    17) Maxim Chudinov (NR)

    With 20 points as a 20-year old, Chudinov has put up rare numbers for a blueliner in the KHL. A late draft pick by Boston last year, Chudinov plays with an edge and has the skill to back it up. If he comes over at the right time, could turn into a real player.

    18) William Wrenn (14)

    Taken a few picks after D’Amigo in the 2009 HFNHL Draft, Wrenn’s season (and likely career) turned around at about the same time when he as well moved to the CHL. He received little icetime at Denver, but has stepped in as maybe the top blueliner for a Portland team which could be the best in the WHL.

    19) Tommy Wingels (NR)

    After making the Sharks out of training camp, Wingels has been up a few times but has spent most of the year in the AHL. The scoring has only been so-so, but Wingels still profiles as a smart two-way player.

    20) Daultan Leveille (16)

    An NHL first rounder, Leveille only turned 20 recently but is already a junior in college. His production has yet to bust out, even though reviews are relatively strong. Needs a strong senior year though to make something of himself.

    HM:

    David Warsofsky – Pint-sized blueliner is one of the NCAA’s best. Plays bigger than he is.
    Justin Holl – Has fared decently as a freshman at Minnesota. Raw skill and size combo.
    Brandon Archibald – An underwhelming season for Archibald, even after a trade to contending Saginaw.
    Mike Hoffman – A solid first pro season for Hoffman. Could breakout next year.
    Mitch Callahan – A great story, Callahan already has an NHL deal and played well at the WJC. Overachiever.
    Nick Crawford – Could hit 30 points as rookie blueliner in AHL. No standout quality.
    Brent Regner – Struggled to find time on deep AHL blueline. Playing better now.
    David McIntyre – Bright light on terrible Lowell team. Skating and effort could make him NHLer.
    Austin Levi – Stay-at-home type has been solid in OHL and is on US WJC radar for next year.
     
  2. Vagrant

    Vagrant The Czech Condor

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    You know you're in good shape when you can have Faulk at around 11th and 12th on your list. Luke Adam has been a very nice surprise for this list. I like Jake Allen too, but his depth situation could be a bit more ideal.

    Very solid list here from top to bottom.
     
  3. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Faulk could be higher, but I'm overloaded with right-shooting offensive defencemen, down from Boyle, Letang and Wisniewski in the NHL to Rundblad, Petry, Demers and Braun knocking on the door. Because Faulk's the furthest away from the NHL, that kind of determined why I put him that low. I like his game though, his stock has risen significantly this year.

    With Jake Allen, I'm not too worried about his situation in St. Louis. He's clearly their best goalie prospect, and I don't think Jaroslav Halak has shown he can be a 65-game starter in this league. Allen will probably need a year or two before he can push for starting minutes anyways, but I don't see Halak as an obstacle right now.
     
  4. HFNHL Commish

    HFNHL Commish Registered User

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    Good list, Sean. Agree with Josh that Faulk could probably be a tad higher - he's a huge reason why UMD has been as good as they have this season. That said, slots 4-12 on your list are pretty much interchangeable.
     
  5. MatthewFlames

    MatthewFlames Registered User

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    I'm with Matt on this one - such a great list - really wish Allen had fallen another dozen spots so I could have grabbed him in that draft...
     
  6. HFNHL Canadiens

    HFNHL Canadiens Registered User

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    Very impressive depth in this prospect list. If Rundblad's game translates smoothly to the NHL, Ottawa is going to be set on the PP, at least on the back-end. Sauve and Braun are 2 prospects that I am very high on. For the 2008 draft I had Sauve right after Colborne on my list, and was disappointed that I couldn't draft him. At the U18s that year he really impressed me, and seemed to be head and shoulders ahead of everyone in terms of speed, he also handled the puck well. Since then, he has grown 2-3 inches and has really developed nicely. Braun was the NCAA free-agent I wanted most this past off-season, his game seems taylor made for the NHL once he adds some muscle to his frame. He had an impressive stint in the NHL this season, and I would be pretty surprised if he didn't have a permanent spot on the Sharks roster next season.
     
  7. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Well good to know there is a market for Justin Faulk if I ever want to move him. Kershaw, I remember you coveting Allen, but also Brandon Burlon, who I took a few picks later and traded in the Backes deal last year. Geordie Wudrick didn't work out that well for you though I guess.

    Have you seen much of UMD, Matt G? I was only so-so impressed with Faulk at the WJC. He was very good at the tourney, but I'm not sure I came away anymore convinced on his NHL potential. It is probably because I rarely draft or acquire defencemen who aren't mobile and for an average-sized guy Faulk is not really a skater.
     
  8. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    I really hope Rundblad's game translate well. The Ottawa brass is extremely high on him, and he's far better at the SEL level than Karlsson was when he came over, so we'll see. The World Championships will be a good test for him as well, because unlike Ekholm, Rundblad's play on the national team this season has only been so-so.

    I liked Sauve in 2008 as well and almost took him over Jake Allen in the second. He kind of fell off the map a bit after that, but has stood out in the AHL this year. I see a lot of Antoine Vermette in Sauve. The hands and head don't always keep up with the feet, but he's got enough all-round potential to be a tweener.

    As for Braun, he was my top target this past summer as well, and easily the signing I was most excited about. Doug Wilson is extremely high on the guy, and just the other day said he thinks he'll have a Couture-like impact when he gets to San Jose for good. Personally I'd settle for a Jason Demers-like impact, but that's nice talk. He's another guy who has grown 2-3 inches since being drafted.
     
  9. HFNHL Commish

    HFNHL Commish Registered User

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    I've seen a bit of UMD this season, most recently against Minnesota and Michigan Tech. Faulk didn't have huge games on either occasion, but no glaring flaws, either.

    I guess I look at him and I see some potential for the complete package. In today's NHL, the difference between what makes you an NHL player, and what makes you a career AHLer, is increasingly razor-thin. So when a prospect starts out with a tool that doesn't really need development (in Faulk's case, his shot), I think it's a bonus. You're absolutely right that his skating needs work, but the same could be said of a guy like Patrick Wiercioch. The only difference is that you're more likely to forgive the big guy's skating flaws, even if the smaller guy plays a bigger game. :)
     
  10. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Thanks for the insight on Faulk's game. The reason I drafted him was because of the shot and his reputation for hard work and improvement, so hopefully he continues to upgrade his game and pick up a step or two as well.

    Did you notice Justin Holl for Minnesota?
     
  11. HFNHL Commish

    HFNHL Commish Registered User

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    Holl's not entirely out of the mold of recent Minnesota defensemen like Ness and Fairchild. A good all-around skater with a little bit of sandpaper in his game. Probably less pure offensive ability than Ness or Fairchild. Doesn't play a ton, as Ness, Fairchild, Wehrs all log heavy minutes.

    Unfortunately for Holl, he chose to play for Don Lucia, who is a steaming pile of poo as a coach. If Holl stays four years at Minnesota, he'll be pretty much the same player leaving as he was upon entering. Conversely, Faulk's got a pretty decent coach at UMD in Scott Sandelin.
     
  12. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Ya, the best players to come out of Minnesota in recent years seem to be players who bailed pretty early. At least Holl has some height over Ness and Fairchild though. I guess if you come calling for Holl in a year or two I'll take that as a hint that he's developed incredibly well.
     

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