Since the last list, Thomas Chabot and Jakub Vrana have effectively graduated, although neither has suited up in the HFNHL yet and will instead make their debuts next year. A few of the following players could also join them on the HFNHL Canucks, depending on how they play in the second half. 1) Robert Thomas Good but not great rookie year for Thomas who has played all over the line-up on a disappointing St. Louis team. Doesn’t look out of place most nights but has not found his groove consistently either, although with a line-up in turmoil that’s not surprising. Has improved massively since his draft year, especially in terms of his skating, and has the high end tools to become a first line centre potential. 2) Henri Jokiharju Another 19 year old rookie, Joki was on the first pairing until the coaching change and since then has had little stability, bouncing around the pairings and being loaned to the WJC. Why is unclear – he leads the Hawks’ blueline in possession numbers by a comfortable margin. Will play in the NHL a long time, just a question of how far the offence goes – is he Roman Josi or Toni Lydman? 3) Evan Bouchard Bouchard seems destined, like future HFNHL teammate Dougie Hamilton, to pit the data folk against the eye test crowd. The counting stats remain amazing in the OHL and advanced metrics show, small sample size notwithstanding, that he was very good in his 7-game NHL tryout, although he was only average to the eye at the WJC. Needs to continue working on his defence and pace, but should play and put up lots of points, unless the Oilers make a miss of his development too. 4) Troy Terry Terry started the year on a line with Getzlaf in Anaheim and looked totally out of place, finding himself in the AHL within a couple weeks. A half season in the AHL worked out well as he was outstanding in San Diego and looked much more confident in his recent recall. A highly skilled player with hands and vision, Terry can make high end plays but will need to continue working on his skating and strength. 5) Josh Norris Norris is a hard player to project because he shows all the tools and can make highly skilled plays, but rarely drives the play or imposes himself on the game, often settling for safer plays to maintain possession. Has been very good as a sophomore at Michigan, and was good but not great at the WJC, albeit playing through an injury at times. Will almost certainly play but looks more like an Adam Henrique type at this stage than the kind of player who can anchor a scoring line, although his shot could be a real weapon on the powerplay. 6) Alex Formenton After breaking camp with the NHL Senators for a second consecutive year, Formenton was ultimately reassigned to the OHL for developmental reasons, despite not looking out of place. Formenton is a plus-plus skater who has developed considerably in the past 18 months, adding weight and improving his offensive game considerably. Has good hands and can score goals, but is not able to consistently make high end plays at his top speed, although his ability to do so has increased noticeably. 7) Sami Niku Like Terry, he came into camp with high expectations and initially looked out of place, being demoted back to the AHL for most of the first half. In his most recent stretch with Winnipeg, Niku looked far more comfortable. A strong skater with great hands and awareness, Niku will play full time in Winnipeg next year; the question is whether he can handle tough minutes in a top four. 8) Adam Gaudette The reigning Hobey Baker winner, Gaudette has had a quiet rookie year in the NHL but has shown incremental improvement. In a handful of AHL games, he’s shown he can be a dominant player at that level. Gaudette is a hard worker with a great shot, but needs to continue working on his skating to work his way up the line-up in Vancouver. 9) Adam Erne It has taken a long time, but Erne has finally established himself as an NHLer. Although at times struggling to stay in the line-up on the league’s deepest team, he’s put up good numbers and had a couple dominant games when he’s on. That consistency has always been the issue, but at his best Erne looks like a middle six power forward whose skating ability will allow him to play with Tampa's higher end players. 10) Connor Timmins Very hard to place due to injury, and coming into the year I would have had him right alongside Jokiharju. If he returns in form, will move up the list, and he seems closer to making his season debut. Intelligent with and without the puck, Timmins should play, health permitting, but how he handles the pace of the pro game will determine upside. The fact he thrived at the WJC last year was very encouraging. 11) Boris Katchouk After a dominant final season of junior, Katchouk’s transition to the pro game has been bumpy at times, but his second quarter was stronger than his first. With his size, skating ability and work ethic, Katchouk will play, but upside is a question. Similar to Erne but with more consistency of effort but a bit less pure skill. 12) John Quenneville A third year pro, Quenneville played his way onto the Devils in camp but just has not scored at the NHL level, despite having proven himself as a top scorer in the AHL. Why is unclear - the skating, hands and shot are all very good, and concerns about fitness have been addressed. May need a change of scenery, or may simply be a quadruple-A player. Will plummet down the list if he doesn't break through soon. 13) Reilly Walsh An aggressive ranking for a player passed over for the US WJC team, but then again so was Kyle Connor. Walsh has built on a strong freshman year to play at a point per game pace on a weaker Harvard squad, teaming up with Adam Fox to form an elite powerplay. The offensive skills are real, the question is can he skate well enough to play that style in the NHL, but he's 19 and a year and a half out of high school hockey, so plenty of development time left. 14) Filip Hallander This represents an aggressive ranking for a player who failed to register a point in the WJC, although he was sparingly used. However, Hallander’s had a fantastic SHL rookie year. In fact, the only players to put up a higher PPG in their age-18 season in the SHL since 1990 are Naslund, Nylander, Forsberg, Fiala, Lindholm, Backstrom, Paajarvi, Elvenes and the Sedins. Hallander is in the mould of a Patric Horqnvist, not flashy, but as long as he doesn’t go the way of Paajarvi, he should pan out, and he’s not 19 until summer. 15) Zach Senyshyn Because the NHL runs on speed in 2019, Senyshyn probably is too good a skater not to play in some capacity, however his goal scoring has not translated to the pro game so far. Creativity has always been a concern, and driving wide with speed only works so often in the AHL. Dropping on this list, even if he is reportedly rounding out his game. 16) Phillip Kurashev First round caliber skills, which he showed at the WJC but has not always used to dominate the QMJHL as he should. This year his production is up despite the Remparts being weak, but it will be interesting whether next year he goes pro or stays in junior. The hands, shot and vision are all outstanding; the skating and strength need continued work. 17) Andrew Peeke Cut in the mold of the modern defensive defenceman, Peeke has progressed steadily in his three seasons at Notre Dame to the point where he is nearly NHL ready. An outstanding skater, especially for his size, and plays on the first powerplay unit in college, but does not project to put up counting stats at the next level. Could surprise and make the jump to the NHL quickly. 18) Tristan Jarry 19) Alexander Georgiyev 20) Marcus Hogberg I’ll group these three goalies together because each has flashed ability in the NHL already, with Jarry having the best track record and probably the most upside, but the least clear path to a starter’s role down the road. Goalies are voodoo but having three with success in multiple professional leagues, including flashes in the NHL, is encouraging, especially if Carey Price’s strong play of late is just a hot streak along the long road of his continued decline. Honourable Mentions: Will Borgen: Hard to evaluate his play when he doesn’t put up counting stats, but reviews suggest Borgen has transitioned well to the pro game and will eventually get a shot in Buffalo. Had chemistry with Dahlin in the pre-season. Zack MacEwen: Late bloomer who has taken another step forward as a sophomore pro in the AHL, MacEwen is big, can skate and can finish plays around the net. More of a winger at this stage, but ready for a call-up. Dominik Masin: After a strong sophomore season, Masin’s been only so-so this year, clearly falling behind Cernak on the Tampa depth chart. Like Borgen and Peeke, he won’t put up counting stats at the next level, but has the size and skating to carve out a depth role. Joel L’Esperance: An early season free agent signing, L’Esperance has come out of nowhere to lead the AHL in goals as a rookie. Nothing flashy but 6’2” centres who can score goals are worth watching. Artur Kayumov: Before throwing a tantrum that went viral and got him suspended, Kayumov was having a good KHL season, finally finding some consistent ice time and putting up some numbers. More middle six than high end potential, but one to watch. Cole Hults: Hard to evaluate Hults in the context of the Penn State juggernaut, but he’s probably the club’s top defenceman as a sophomore. A very smart offensive player who also brings an edge, but needs to work on his skating. Jake Walman: I have no idea what to make of Walman at this stage. Coming out of college, he was outstanding in the AHL playoffs and went down to the wire with Vince Dunn for the last spot on the Blues blueline. A year and a half later, his development has gone totally off the rails. Looked great in the pre-season, can still skate, shoot and make highly skilled plays. I’m stumped. Players to Watch: Sammy Walker: The reigning Minnesota Mr. Hockey, Walker has turned heads as a freshman Gopher, earning a WJC camp invite and pushing towards a point per game. Plus skating and lots of energy. Jordan Harris: Another freshman that has transitioned well, landing immediately on the top pair at Northeastern, Harris also has plus skating and is a mature defender whose play with the puck needs work. Jack Badini: The second of three Harvard prospects in the system – John Marino being the other – Badini is a great skater and elite face-off man, whose offence is starting to come around.