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Each NHL team’s most interesting prospects at training camp for 2023-24


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Rookie camps are set to open September 15 with a bunch of rookie tournaments taking place across the NHL. Today I highlight one interesting prospect in each NHL organization I will be watching the closest during their NHL camps. This selection doesn’t mean they are the best players, but talent is relevant, with an eye especially toward those who could play NHL games this upcoming season.

Anaheim Ducks: Olen Zellweger/Pavel Mintyukov, LHD

While the play of No. 2 pick Leo Carlsson will be highly anticipated, I’m more interested in the Ducks blueliners. They had all three CHL defensemen of the year candidates between Olen Zellweger, Pavel Mintyukov and Tristan Luneau, and have Jackson LaCombe coming in too. Zellweger and Mintyukov have the potential to be legit power-play QBs in the NHL and could push for games soon. They are both very skilled and mobile defenders who will likely be fighting for the same role, so who looks superior will be interesting to see.

Arizona CoyotesLogan Cooley, C

Arizona has been starved for stars in their lineup for a while. There are no sure things in prospect projection, but Logan Cooley is one of their best chances at that type of player in a long while. He’s a dynamic skater and playmaker who competes and, even as a teenager, has a chance to help their team right away. If he can show some of the high-end offensive traits Arizona needs, that would be exciting to see as a Coyotes fan.

Boston Bruins: John Beecher, C

The loss of both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci has made a giant crater in the Bruins’ depth chart down the middle. John Beecher’s development has gone just OK the last few years, but he’s a late first-round pick with excellent size and skating with a chance to help their center depth, even if his scoring is never going to be a selling point.

Buffalo Sabres: Ryan Johnson, LHD

Buffalo has a ton of scoring options both on the big club and in the system who will be constantly battling each other for opportunities. The Sabres’ blue-line depth is good but less exciting. That’s why I’m eager to see how Ryan Johnson, the No. 31 pick in 2019, does after four years at college. His skating is great and he has the ability to help an NHL team in transition even if his game lacks offense.

Calgary Flames: Connor Zary, C

Connor Zary was a strong pro last season in the AHL. He’s a very skilled center who competes well. With both Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund being pending UFAs, the Flames need some help coming up the middle. Zary may not provide their type of impact but he has the potential to be a good player if his skating holds up enough in the NHL.

Carolina HurricanesRyan Suzuki, C

After multiple injuries in the last few seasons and average play against men, the clock is ticking on Ryan Suzuki. He’s a very talented playmaker who skates well and has the look of an NHL player, but he’s been very inconsistent over the years. Carolina could use a talented scorer pushing up through their system, and if he can take a step and push for a job, it would change their roster outlook.

Chicago Blackhawks: Kevin Korchinski, LHD

All eyes will be on Connor Bedard, but for Chicago’s rebuild to work, they need their other high picks to hit in a significant manner. Kevin Korchinski has a chance to do that. He had a strong camp last year as well as a great season in the WHL and looks like he could be a great NHL defenseman. I think Chicago would ideally like to keep him in junior one more year as it continues to build young assets, but it will be interesting if he forces their hand to keep him.

Colorado Avalanche: Jean-Luc Foudy, C

Colorado’s system is thin on quality prospects, especially those who can help immediately. Jean-Luc Foudy is the closest thing and, after looking solid early as a pro, the most likely in-season option to come up if there are injuries. His skating is excellent, and he has good offensive skills.

Columbus Blue JacketsStanislav Svozil, LHD

David Jiricek is a top NHL prospect and is expected to push for NHL games soon, but it’s the progression of 2021 third-round pick Stanislav Svozil that I’m more interested in seeing. Was his great season as a 19-year-old a product of playing with Bedard? Or can we expect the player we saw at the world juniors without Bedard going forward? Svozil is mobile, has skill and competes so I think he has a chance to hit. If he can look good versus men right away it would be a big boost to the Blue Jackets defense depth.

Dallas Stars: Logan Stankoven, C

Logan Stankoven was an outstanding junior player in his time in the WHL. The ultimate question with him, given he is barely 5-foot-8, is whether his game will translate to the NHL. It’s why he went in the second round. He has the makeup of someone who can overcome his frame given his great skating, compete level and offensive skills. He has to prove it though as he enters this camp for Dallas.

Detroit Red WingsMarco Kasper, C

Marco Kasper is still just a teenager and will need to make a strong impression to make the Wings, as Detroit acquired several veteran forwards over the summer. Still, after being selected in the top 10, expectations are high for him. Whether he makes it difficult for Detroit to cut him or looks a few years away will be something to watch as he enters his first NHL camp.

Edmonton Oilers: Xavier Bourgault, RW

Edmonton hasn’t made many high picks in the last few years. It’s expected top pick Dylan Holloway will be in the roster mix, which is why I’m highlighting Xavier Bourgault. I don’t think he will make the Oilers out of camp, but as a highly skilled first-round forward, he is a player they are relying on to help the team at some point soon and stretch out their forward depth. Is ‘soon’ some point this season? Or in two years? We will see how close he looks in camp.

Florida PanthersMackie Samoskevich, RW

The Panthers have a light farm system right now, especially in the AHL. Mackie Samoskevich is one of the few legit NHL talents they have, and if there’s an injury up front during the season he will be on the short list of players to come up. Exactly how ready he would be for such an opportunity is something he’ll need to show in the coming weeks.

Los Angeles Kings: Alex Turcotte, C

The clock is ticking on Turcotte, who is one year away from an expiring entry-level contract and becoming waiver-eligible. He’s been good in the AHL, but on a Kings team that has a deep group of forwards, the time is now for the 2019 No. 5 pick to show he is ready to push imminently for a roster spot. His development hasn’t gone well the last few years but it’s not too late for Turcotte to reverse his fortunes and the Kings would like nothing more than for him to be a tough cut from camp.

Minnesota WildJesper Wallstedt, G

I don’t expect Wallstedt to make the Wild this season. Their situation in goal is rather set. However, I am curious how close he looks. Wallstedt was impressive in the AHL after a strong career versus men in Sweden and I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s starting NHL games.

Montreal CanadiensDavid Reinbacher, RHD

Reinbacher has been a much-discussed No. 5 pick by the Habs. He was excellent versus men in the NLA last season, showing legit two-way ability that projects to play high in a lineup. It will be interesting to see both how well and how quickly he translates to the NHL though, given how little precedent there is in recent times of an NLA-to-NHL jump by very young players. It wouldn’t surprise me if he made the Habs frankly, or if he looked like he needed another year or two.

Nashville Predators: Philip Tomasino, RW

Philip Tomasino’s prospect stock has been up and down over the last few years. After a very promising start to his pro career, including in the NHL, he was cut by Nashville last fall before coming back up later in the season. Is this Tomasino’s time to secure a top-six spot? Or will be passed over by fellow youngsters like Luke Evangelista and Juuso Parssinen? Tomasino has a dynamic speed/skill combo that can help Nashville if he hits.

New Jersey DevilsAlexander Holtz, RW

Alexander Holtz isn’t on the clock yet as a prospect, but it’s fair to be somewhat nervous about him if you’re a Devils fan. This is a crucial season for him to prove his value to the Devils, especially on a great group of forwards where ice time is hard to get. Holtz has high-end skill and goal-scoring ability, but he needs to be more consistent and play with more pace to get to the NHL and we’ll see whether he can show those elements in Devils camp.

New York Islanders: Samuel Bolduc, LHD

The Islanders don’t have a ton of bright spots in their farm system, but one of the lone and real ones is Samuel Bolduc who has developed well of late. He’s a tall defenseman who skates very well for his size and the offense in his game has looked better than many scouts thought it would be when he was in junior. If he could hit and become a legit player, it would go a long way for the Islanders. That said, he’s not a guarantee to even make the team so he will need a good preseason.

New York Rangers: Will Cuylle, LW

Will Cuylle has progressed well over the last two years and had a strong season in the AHL. The Rangers are very deep on the wing so I don’t expect him to make the team, but his combination of skill, size and physicality could make him an early call-up option, especially if he shows well over the next few weeks.

Ottawa Senators: Mads Sogaard, G

One of the main questions keeping Ottawa from taking that next step into playoff contention has been its goaltending. Mads Sogaard got NHL games last season and has been up and down as a pro, but his ups have been excellent as a big, athletic netminder. Sogaard will be in the mix for games right away, but whether he’s a spot starter during the season or in a legit tandem with Joonas Korpisalo is something he’ll need to fight for at camp.

Philadelphia Flyers: Tyson Foerster, RW

Tyson Foerster came up late in the year and was quite productive for the Flyers in a brief stint. There are opportunities to be had in the Flyers lineup and with Foerster’s skill and shot, he has an opportunity to win a job out of camp. The big test for him has always been his skating and whether he can keep up with other NHL players.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Joel Blomqvist, G

Joel Blomqvist has been up and down the last few seasons in Finland but when Pittsburgh used two second-round picks on goalies in 2020, including Blomqvist, the hope was that around this time one of those goalies would be ready to push for NHL time (the other pick, Calle Clang, was since traded). Blomqvist may not be ready yet, but given the Penguins goaltending depth isn’t a strength, it would be a pleasant surprise if he had a great training camp.

San Jose Sharks: Shakir Mukhamadullin, LHD

Shakir Mukhamadullin was one of the main pieces coming back to the Sharks in the Timo Meier deal and one of the few promising young defensemen in their system. They need Mukhamadullin to hit for their rebuild to be successful. He has all the tools to be a top-four NHL defenseman, but in his first NHL camp, eyes will be on him to see how his game translates.

Seattle Kraken: Ryker Evans, LHD

Ryker Evans was one of the top defensemen in the AHL last season and a big reason why Coachella made a run to the Calder Cup Finals. Evans skates and moves the puck well and has a physical edge to his game which will help him have NHL success given he’s not that big a defenseman. Seattle has a strong veteran blue line that won’t be easy to win jobs from, but Evans is a plausible candidate to make the team with a great camp or be the first call-up option if he doesn’t.

St. Louis Blues: Zachary Bolduc, C

Zachary Bolduc was a top-20 pick by the Blues and recently wrapped up a highly productive QMJHL career. Bolduc is a talented forward with legit speed, skill and goal-scoring ability. His game away from the puck isn’t great though, and that’s in part what led to the somewhat controversial decision by Canada to cut him from their world junior team. But there are many good players who didn’t make Team Canada, and this camp is an opportunity for Bolduc to show he’s a legit NHL talent and push for a job.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jack Finley, C

Tampa has a very light farm system and likely won’t get much immediate help from their prospects, but Jack Finley is a player who could possibly be an injury call-up option. He’s a huge forward who skates well enough for his size, has some skill and can play well off the puck. He has potential value lower in an NHL lineup but we’ll see how close he looks to being ready for the league.

Toronto Maple LeafsMatthew Knies, LW

Toronto is relying a lot on Matthew Knies to provide depth in its lineup and secondary scoring. Knies showed he could potentially do that at the end of last season before he got injured. He has legit NHL skill and good size and he competes very hard with a great ability to create around the net. Will he hit the ground running again this fall and earn a significant spot in the Leafs lineup, or will he be AHL-bound?

Vancouver Canucks: Aatu Raty, C

Aatu Raty was a big part of the Bo Horvat trade. He was just OK as a pro in North America albeit still only two years removed from his draft. A step forward is expected from Raty this season. There are forward jobs to win in Vancouver and even if he doesn’t grab one of those out of camp, you’d like to see him impress to be the no-doubt first call-up option when an injury occurs.

Vegas Golden KnightsLukas Cormier, LHD

Vegas isn’t hurting for blue-line help, as seen by the play of their defensemen last spring, but Lukas Cormier is one of their few legit prospects who are in the AHL. He had a good season last year in Henderson. He may not fit the prototype of the big, athletic type across the Golden Knights blue line, but he skates and moves the puck very well. If one of their mainstays goes down, this is his chance to prove he can come up, with his main test being how well he can defend NHL forwards given his frame and lack of physicality.

Washington Capitals: Ivan Miroshnichenko, RW

Ivan Miroshnichenko won’t make Washington, but his camp will be very interesting to watch regardless. After recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, his play in Russia was just OK, and he ended up signing an entry-level contract with the Capitals at the end of the season. When going at 100 percent, Miroshnichenko looks like a future top-six winger who plays skill, pace and power. If that player shows up at camp it would be highly encouraging for Washington and the player.

Winnipeg Jets: Brad Lambert, C

Brad Lambert is a bit of a mystery right now. A few years ago he looked like a premier prospect. In his draft stock, he tumbled and concerned a lot of scouts, and those concerns were emphasized in the first half of the AHL this season and especially at the world juniors. But then he went to the WHL in the second half of the season and was very good. So who is the real Brad Lambert? He has dynamic speed and skill, but his effort and consistency can be frustrating. If he carries over his play from junior into his NHL camp, it would be highly encouraging for Winnipeg.

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

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