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Ranking the 30 RSHL Prospect Pools #17-15

The order within this group is harder to judge and less important that the actual grouping overall.† These teams donít quite have the elite depth to get into the top ten but they do have some solid depth with several players that have an opportunity to make it.† They also have either an elite prospect or an elite young contributor who is projects as an everyday impact player with some star potential.† This is the middle of the pack and most of them have a couple first round picks that are progressing well as well and a couple gems from the later rounds.†

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets is a recent champion and to be right in the middle of the prospect rankings is a reall tribute to how well the organization has built itself up.† They perhaps have a little less depth then those around them but they do have some talented players starting to make their mark.

Top Prospects:

  1. Matthew Boldy is one of those players that has the potential to exceed his skill set. He is a throw back to the days of the power forward guys like Cam Neely and Wendal Clark where they could punish you all night and then bury with some quick skills or a great shot.† Boldy has destroyed opponents at every level of hockey he has played.† In the NCAA he average 1.4 points per game and did so while controlling the ice.† He is a big body with good skill and he pairs them together to make him a true offensive threat.† At the World Juniors he scored 5 goals in 7 games playing a more net front cycle the puck game and perhaps most surprising was his dominant performance in the AHL last year where in 14 games he collected 18 points.
  2. Juuso Valimaki was a top defender that has been hard hit by injuries which have stunted his development a bit.† He was expected to make the roster two seasons ago but knee and shoulder injuries have slowed his progress.† He is a smooth skating defender with good size and good offensive instincts.† He needs to rebuild his confidence and carve out some consistent minutes.
  3. Rasmus Kupari has taken steps each year since coming to North America.† This year is he should be primed to establish himself in the NHL.† A team that has been at the bottom for a few years will have several candidates for call ups this year and every chance needs to be taken.† He is a player that fits in a middle six role because he protects the puck and has a responsible overall game.† His offensive skill is very good but he is more of a passer than a shooter and needs to be a more balanced attacker to make defenders respect both.
  4. Filip Hallander is player that Pittsburgh drafted, then traded then traded back for so they have a good book on him.† He is a player that is quick with good agility and size that makes him excellent in the cycle game.† Few guys can compete with him.†† His skill is coming and he wonít ever be a 30 goal guy but he is a nice complementary forward that can dig pucks, get on the forecheck and contribute.† He is the guy to add to an effective offensive duo to do the hard work.
  5. Jackson LaCombe is a personal favorite of mine because of his intriguing skill set.† Good size, good speed, good decision making, a bit of offensive ability make him a player that could reach your top 2 pairings one day.† He still has a bit of work to do in his own zone but there is a lot to like about this second round pick.
  1. Calgary Flames were the most difficult team to rank.† In the truest sense of the prospect rankings they donít have a 5 candidates that I like but what they do have is two my top 5 players in the prospect age range.† That Makar already has a Norris Trophy makes it hard to call him a prospect and that Brady Tkachuk is 3 years into his NHL Career and already has 60 goals makes him hard to include too.† Despite that I have put them on the list because they are age appropriate.† Two of my top 5 players 22 and under give an unimpressive prospect pool a boost.† Without that dynamic pair this organization would be close to 25 than 15.† The prospect pool is very boom/bust with a couple of guys who will either become power play quarterbacks or never play in the league.

Top Prospects:

  1. Cale Makar is the most dynamic player in this age group.† He is a Norris winner with high speed agility and skating.† He is decisive with the puck and has elite puckhandling skills.† He is a point per game defender since coming into the league and is still improving his game.† As his game in his own zone continues to improve he will become one of the most dynamic players in the league and one of the few who could match Bobby Orr on an end to end rush.
  2. Brady Tkachuk is like father and brother before him.† Built for the toughness of the league but with the skill and work ethic to make himself a superstar.† He has great small area skill where his quick hands and puck movement mask his lack of footspeed.† He can score, play set up my, cycle the puck and go to the net.† He is a complete package of an offensive winger and can play the pest role as well as anyone.†
  3. Ryan Merkley is a dynamic skater that can weave in and out of traffic at will.† He needs to find his way in his own zone though as it often looks like a yard sale back there when he doesnít have the puck.† Like many young players he is discovering that talent alone wonít make you an impact player at the next level.† Now with that realization the work should start to come.† He is very much a boom/bust player but thatís what you go for.
  4. Erik Brannstrom fits the pattern of defender that this team likes. He is an elite skater that has some good puck control skills and ability to attack.† He lacks in the decision making department though and that has kept him from being an everyday player in the RSHL.† Consistent improvement is really what he needs to target especially in his own zone where he still gets outmatched.
  5. Dylan Samberg is a defender that has a bit more two ability than the rest of the guys which gives him the best chance to be a consistent player but he lacks the dynamic upside that the other defenders on this list have.† He has shown steady improvement throughout his college career and has his own end managed better than the others on this list.† He can move the puck fine and has a bit of an edge to his game.† I like him to be a complement guy playing big minutes in key moments of the game down the road.
  1. Ottawa Senators have one of the deepest pools we have seen up to this point.† There will be more than one former first round pick that still has a chance to play being left off the top 5.† There are dynamic players at all 3 forward positions as well as depth beyond them that will surely take over bit roles in the bottom 6 in the future.† They have a promising goaltending prospect in Jesper Vikman who doesnít make the top 5 but could easily develop into a starting goalie one day.† Even on the blue line they have players who are just starting to establish themselves in Keane, Farrance, and Brisebois who still have more growth to come.

Top Prospects:

  1. Marco Rossi is a lock to make the NHL this year.† He is dynamic, fast and relentless with and without the puck.† There is no quit in this kid and he moves the needle whenever he is on the ice.† A true impact player who can play in any situation.† Should be a future #1 center with point per game production.
  2. Vasily Podkolzin is a winger that mixes strength and talent very well.† He is a shooter with some good hands that moves around very well even at his size.† He was productive as a teenager in the KHL which is a rare feat these days.† He isnít the quickest player on the ice but he plays a very effective north/south game.† There are times when he goes to the corner and you know he will come out with it.† He has good small area skill and a willingness to go to the hard parts of the ice.† He drive the net constantly and is nearly impossible to stop if he wants to get there.
  3. Nolan Patrick has been hampered by injuries and frustration since turning pro.† This year in a fresh environment he should fill at top 9 center role which starts the rebuild of what was once a canít miss prospect.
  4. William Wallinder is a defender that stands out amongst his peers.† He is 6í4 defends well has good gap control and manages his own zone well.† He is also an effective passer who moves the puck with ease.† He has good footwork for a big man and can shift himself along the blueline creating lanes and space.† He has the potential to be a minute eating defender who plays both sides of special teams.
  5. Jan Mysak is the dynamic skater that flies down the wing.† When engaged in the game he looks unstoppable, driving the net hard forechecker and great puck skills to boot.† He is prone to taking games, shifts, or moments off, and in those moments is exposed.† He could have been a first round pick based on talent but his game away from the puck needs quite a bit of work.

We have reached the halfway mark now and here is how the rankings shape up so far:

Rank Team
30 Florida Panthers
29 Toronto Maple Leafs
28 LA Kings
27 Pittsburgh Penguins
26 New York Islanders
25 San Jose Sharks
24 Edmonton Oilers
23 Tampa Bay Lightning
22 Montreal Canadiens
21 Anaheim Ducks
20 Buffalo Sabres
19 Detroit Red Wings
18 Colorado Avalanche
17 Columbus Blue Jackets
16 Calgary Flames
15 Ottawa Senators
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Quality work

Love reading these!

Very good!

these are awesome

Love the contributions to the league. Great writeup


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