In this blog, I will be ranking NHL teams Farm Systems in order of Best to Worst.
1. LA Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are loaded with high-end prospects, mostly because they have finished near the bottom of the league for 3 straight years.
Leading the charge is Quinton Byfield, who was the Kings’ 2nd overall pick in 2020. He is a budding superstar power forward with a rare combination of size, speed, and power to go along with a soft pair of hands. Alex Turcotte is another blue-chip prospect on the Kings, He’s a very well-rounded, two-way center with elite potential. He’s an excellent skater and can pile up the points. Rasmus Kupari is a very skilled playmaker and skater, but could wind up being the third line center behind Byfield and Turcotte. Arthur Kaliyev is an elite, offensive weapon but many teams worried about due to his play away from the puck and work ethic. If the Kings play him with a Center like Alex Turcotte, he should thrive. Akil Thomas, Aiden Dudas, Kasper Simontaival, and Tyler Madden, who was acquired in the Tyler Toffoli trade are some other forwards to keep an eye on. Defensively, the Kings still have some high-end talent. Tobias Bjornfot leads the pack, arguably right alongside Kale Clague. Bjornfot was the Kings’ second first-round selection in 2019. He’s a potential top-four defender with elite skating and great hockey sense. Clague is a puck-moving defender with excellent skating as well. As you can see, the Kings are working towards a very fast team. Clague will fit in perfectly with that. If that wasn’t enough already, the Kings also went and added two more intriguing defenders in Helge Grans and Brock Faber at the 2020 draft. Lukas Parik and Jacob Ingham are both goaltenders to watch.
The only weakness the Kings might have is in goal, but it can be glossed over because of the top notch skill and depth the Kings have in the pipeline.
2. Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators have gotten good very fast, thanks 6 early picks in the 2020 draft, including two top-5 picks and 3 first round picks. Tim Stuetzle was drafted 3rd overall, and has already made his impact felt in the NHL; he will be a superstar in the future. The Senators took top-pairing defender Jake Sanderson with the 5th overall pick and a top-six forward in Ridly Greig with their final first round pick. Roby Jarventie and Egor Sokolov were added in the second round of the 2020 draft. Josh Norris and Drake Batherson have graduated, but their system is still loaded with some high-end prospects. Alex Formenton is an absolute rocket, who can be used in any situation. He’ll be keeping NHL defenders on their heels very soon. Jonathan Davidsson, Vitali Abramov, Shane Pinto, and Jonathan Gruden are a few more stellar forwards for the club. The Senators are just as deep on the blue line with a pair of right-handed defenders Lassi Thomson and Jacob Bernard-Docker. Thomson has a cannon of a shot and is a great passer, while Bernard-Docker is a two-way defender that is very good in his own end. Ottawa have three goalies with a ton of potential. Filip Gustavsson and Mads Sogaard have the best chance to be the next starting goaltender, while Joey Daccord is right there too.
It won’t take long before the Ottawa Senators become a contending team because of their elite prospects they have on hand.
3. Carolina Hurricanes
After a solid draft in 2019, the Carolina Hurricanes continued their dominance in 2020, adding to an already stacked farm system. Seth Jarvis was their first selection at 13th overall, and he will be a star in the NHL before too long. He had 42 goals in the OHL last season and could be an elite two-way threat when he gets to the Canes top-six. They weren’t done there as they also snagged more offensive potential in Noel Gunler, Vasiliy Ponomarev, and Zion Nybeck.
Those additions just added to the riches the Hurricanes already had in Ryan Suzuki, Patrik Puistola, Jamieson Rees, and Dominik Bokk. Defensively, the graduation of Jake Bean to the NHL hurts, but they have another stud in the system in Anttoni Honka, who is a great playmaking defenseman with good hands and mobility. They also added the physicality of Alexander Nikishin to the fold at the 2020 draft, so the defense looks to be in good shape. Alex Nedeljkovic has graduated to the NHL, but they still have Pyotr Kochetkov in the pipeline, who has the tools to be a number 1 goalie in the NHL. The Carolina Hurricanes will be a threat to win the Stanley cup will all this young talent coming up from the pipeline.
4. New York Rangers
The New York Rangers had a few players graduate to the NHL, including the first overall pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, Alexis Lafreniere. Despite this, the Rangers still have incredible depth at all positions, which almost guarantee the Rangers will be a perennial contender for years to come.
Vitaly Kravtsov is the top forward prospect; he is a high-end playmaker and has the ability to change the course of a game. The Skill drops a bit after him, although there is promise in Leevi Aaltonen, Karl Henriksson, Morgan Barron, and Lauri Pajuniemi to be depth players at the NHL level. Their Defensive prospects are far more exciting than the forward group. Braden Schneider, Nils Lundqvist, and K’Andre Miller headline the group. Their potential is very high and other teams should be terrified. Zachary Jones is another defenseman who has high potential. The Rangers’ depth is unbelievable still, and the future is bright, and they look to be in great shape with their terrific young core.
5. Montreal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens already had a great group of prospects that was made much better by strong showings at the 2019 and 2020 NHL Drafts. The Canadiens’ top prospect is obviously Cole Caufield, he is a star in the making; he is arguably the best goal scoring prospect in the league, despite being only 5’7″. Jan Mysak, who the Canadiens stole in the second round, was a top-15 pick before the draft; he could be another goal scoring winger in the future. The addition of Power Forward Luke Tuch, addresses a massive need in the organization. Even with Alexander Romanov graduating the the NHL, the Canadiens are still loaded defensively in the system. Josh Brook look like potential top-pair shut-down defenseman, and could be in the NHL very soon. Kaiden Guhle, their first round pick in 2020, is a solid shut-down defenseman, with top-4 potential. Mattias Norlinder and Jordan Harris are other defenseman to keep an eye on.
In Net, the Canadiens have a great prospect in Cayden Primeau, and will be ready to take over whenever the Canadiens decide to move on from Carey Price. Thanks to some great drafting in the 2019 and 2020 draft, the Canadiens now have one of the best prospect pools in the NHL.
6. Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are about to see a big burst of talent hit their roster, and some of that has already started. The 2020 draft is a big reason for that as they added a total of 12 prospects to their system. At the top is Lucas Raymond, the Swedish phenom who at times was projected to go second overall. He will bring a Pavel Datsyuk-type game to their roster as soon as next season. The Red Wings also added another Swede in the second round in Theodor Niederbach who could become a top-six threat as well. He is a smart two-way forward who is versatile enough to play both center and right-wing. Joe Veleno is now the second-best forward in the system after Raymond’s selection. A future top-six threat, Veleno is a strong skater and a well-rounded two-way center. Defensively, Moritz Seider looks like the real deal as he’s a very smart player who wouldn’t surprise me in making the jump to the NHL sooner rather than later. He’s quickly become one of the best defensive prospects in the league. The Red Wings also added more promising defensemen at the most recent draft when they selected William Wallinder, Donovan Sebrango, and Eemil Viro from Finland. They all have mobility and can rush the puck up the ice. In goal, Filip Larsson has the tools to be an NHL goaltender. The Red Wings have 22 picks in the next two drafts, so they could get really good, very fast.
7. Philadelphia Flyers
It could be argued that the Philadelphia Flyers should be ranked higher, but I have them ranked 7th because of the lack of a true elite talent. What the Flyers lack in high-end skill, they make up for in depth, as they have many very good prospects, who can be impact players in the NHL. Morgan Frost is now their top prospect, a centreman who has great speed and is a high-end playmaker. He’s extremely good with the puck and exciting to watch. Isaac Ratcliffe is a 6 foot 6 goal-scoring machine, who looks very promising. A prospect that Philadelphia fans should be excited about is Bobby Brink; the winger is an elite passer, with great hockey sense. Jay O’Brien, their 1st round pick from 2018 had a big year with Boston University, scoring 16 points in 16 games. In the 2020 draft, the Flyers drafted Tyson Foerster, Emil Andrae, Zayde Wisdom, three players who could be impact players in the league. Foerster has to work on his skating and produce more 5 on 5, but he has potential to be a powerplay wizard at the NHL level. Emil Andrae is an excellent skater and could be a heck of a puck-moving defenseman down the road. Zayde Wisdom could have an NHL future after a 29-goal season in the OHL. The future defense is just as impressive. Cam York is the standout blueliner thriving on a stacked Michigan team, largely due to his elite hockey sense. Yegor Zamula is also impressing in his development. He’s a very smart defender who seems to do all of the little things right. On top of these two, the Flyers drafted another potential steal, Ronnie Attard, in the third round in 2019, while Wyatte Wylie is on the rise as well. The Philadelphia Flyers have tremendous depth in the system, and have a very bright future.
8. Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche are one of the best teams in the league, but they also have one of the top farm systems in the entire NHL. Even though Bowen Byram has graduated to the NHL, they still have a stacked D core, which is anchored by 2020 draft pick Justin Barron. Barron, who was a projected top-15 pick at one point, fell to the Avalanche at 25th due to a blood clot. The Avs also have Conor Timmins and Drew Helleson as potential impact defenseman in the NHL. For forwards, the team has a future star in Alex Newhook. The two-way center is an offensive weapon, capable of putting up big point totals. Many had Newhook as a top-10 pick, so the Avalanche selecting him at 16 was an absolute steal. Martin Kaut, Shane Bowers, and Alex Beaucage all look promising for the Avalanche as well. Kaut is a potential top-six winger who hasn’t impressed as much as the Avs hoped, but the potential is still there. Jean-Luc Foudy also could be an NHLer after getting selected in the third round in 2020. In goal, Justus Annunen had a dominant season in the Liiga and looked very good through the 2020 World Juniors, and displays starter potential. The Avalanche are going to be a threat for years to come with the help of numerous prospects.
9. Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks have some elite talent at the top of the system, however, their depth isn’t as deep as it once was. Granted, a lot of that has to do with their top two prospects, Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale (their first round picks in 2019 and 2020, respectively). Fresh off of his gold medal performance at the 2021 WJC where he dominated with 18 points in seven games, Zegras has the chance to be an elite player at the NHL level. A great, creative playmaker that should be the club’s next number one center and one of the league’s most dangerous players. Jamie Drysdale is a terrific puck-moving defenseman, and his game is fits in perfectly for the modern NHL. Jacob Perreault was added in the 2nd round in the 2020 draft; he is an elite scorer in the OHL, and could be at the NHL as well. Other top forward prospects include: Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Brayden Tracey. Josh Mahura is the other top defensive prospect in the system; he like Drysdale can move the puck with the best of them and make plays in transition.
Ian Moore and Thimo Nickl are both solid puck movers who could thrive in the modern NHL.
In net, John Gibson will be holding down the fort for a while, but Lukas Dostal shows some promise. The Anaheim Ducks will only improve on this list after the 2021 draft, as they have another high pick.
10. New Jersey Devils
Even with the graduation of Ty Smith, the New Jersey Devils still have a top 10 prospect pool in the league. Aided by a tremendous 2020 draft, where the Devils landed Alexander Holtz and Dawson Mercer. Alexander Holtz is a pure goal scorer, who can score from anywhere in the offensive zone, while Dawson Mercer is a swiss-army knife who does everything at a high level.
Also in the 2020 draft, the Devils drafted Shakir Mukhamadullin, who is a boom or bust pick for the Devils. Apart from those two, the Devils also have Foote, who will be a top-six contributor in no time with his hard shot and puck handling skills. Basically, the Devils rebuilt their forward depth with a solid first-round and a couple of trades. Other forward prospects to keep an eye on are Tyce Thompson, and Fabian Zetterlund. Defensively, Reilly Walsh is another one to watch, as he looks to be a potential top 4 defenseman for the Devils. Kevin Bahl, who was acquired in the Taylor Hall trade, is a towering 6’6″ defenseman, who could be an impact defenseman for the Devils sooner rather than later. The Devils don’t really have any prospect goalie that stand out, so that might need to be addressed in the next few years. The New Jersey Devils are on the right track with their rebuild, and should be higher on this list after the 2021 draft.
11. Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have one of the best prospect pools in the league, thanks to solid drafting done in the 2019 and 2020. Their top prospect is Vasili Podkolzin, who is creative, has a great shot, and can make plays as well. He is still stuck in the KHL, but the prospect has elite talent in his game. The future Canucks offence will be getting under the rest of the NHL’s skin;
prospects to watch, keep an eye on are Kole Lind, Dmitri Zlodeyev, Carson Focht, Aidan McDonough, and Arvid Costmar. Jack Rathbone seems like a dominant two-way defenseman in the 8 games he has played with the Canucks. Viktor Persson, Joni Jurmo, Toni Utunen, and Jett Woo also have potential to be NHL defenders. In goal, the club is set up very nicely. Michael DiPietro is one of the best goaltending prospects in the league. Despite having Nils Hoglander, Olli Juolevi, and Jack Rathbone graduating, the Canucks depth in the system has allowed them to still have a great prospect group.
12. Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild have plenty of talented prospects in the pipeline ready to make the jump to the NHL next season. Two players in particular stand out to me: Matthew Boldy and Marco Rossi (their first round picks in 2019 and 2020, respectively). Marco Rossi looks to be a star player; He’s fast, creative, and can play at both ends of the ice with flawless precision. He also has leadership qualities as well. Matthew Boldy will probably be a top-five winger in the NHL one day, as he excels in all areas of the game. Marat Khustudinov was selected in the 2nd round in the 2020 draft; he will join the other top forward prospects in the system which include: Adam Beckman, Vladislav Firstov, Mason Shaw, and Alexander Khovanov. Defense is still a weak spot for the farm system; other than Calen Addison, no player really stands out. Addison should be a top-four defender in the near future and could very well be a cornerstone on defense for the team. Recently drafted Ryan O’Rourke could also help in that regard as he has the potential to be a top-four defenseman in the future too. Kaapo Kahkonen has graduated, but they still have two other prospect goalies on hand to look out for: Hunter Jones and Mat Robson. The Minnesota Wild have done a great job of re-stocking the farm system with tons of high-end talent; it won’t be long before some of these players make an impact in the NHL.
13. Florida Panthers
With the Graduations of Spencer Knight, Grigori Denisenko, Eetu Luostarinen, Owen Tippett, the Florida Panthers needs to is a bit depleted. Anton Lundell is the top prospect for the Florida Panthers, Lundell could very well be the second coming of Alexander Barkov, who is currently the top-line center of the Panthers. He’s big, fast, and creative and could be a future captain of the franchise too. Aleksi Heponiemi, Serron Noel and Emil Heineman are worthy of keeping an eye on, but they aren’t expected to be impact players at the NHL level. Aleksi Saarela, Greg Meireles, Ty Smilanic and Cole Schwindt could be great depth players in the NHL. Defensively, the pool doesn’t have high-end talent like in net and up front, but Vladislav Kolyachonok, Santtu Kinnunen, Brady Keeper give the organization some defenders to look forward to. Newly acquired Chase Priskie is also one to watch, as he had a very good rookie season in the AHL. In goal, they have the recently drafted 2021 WJC star Devon Levi, who could potentially be a steal from the seventh round. The Florida Panthers are finally trending up after many years being the laughing stock of the NHL mostly because of their drafted the past few years.
14. Edmonton Oilers
It’s been a dark time for the Oilers for a long time, but there looks to be light at the end of the tunnel. Two defenders lead the system in Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg. The back-to-back first-round picks (2018 and 2019, respectfully) both look like they could be the future top-pairing defenders for the Oilers. A pair of forwards also help the prospect pool ranking, with Tyler Benson and Raphael Lavoie both providing offensive flair. Benson is creative and great puck handling, where Lavoie brings high-end skill and a great shot. The Oilers added two-way dynamo Dylan Holloway in the first and the point machine, Carter Savoie in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. In goal, Ilya Konovalov, and Olivier Rodrigue both have potential to be goalies at the NHL level. The Oilers have improved their prospect pool a lot from when Peter Chiarelli was GM, so there is hope that they can build on what they have.
15. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have seen a few prospects move up to the NHL, but they still have a pretty good prospect pool. Toronto’s top prospect is defenseman Timothy Liljegren, a first round pick in 2017; he still has top 4 potential. Mikko Kokkonen is a shut-down defenseman that has top 4 potential. The Club also added defensemen Topi Niemela and William Villeneuve in the most recent draft; both have top 4 potential as well. Nick Robertson is the top forward prospect for Toronto; He can put up the points, he’s creative, and has great offensive instincts.
Expect Robertson to graduate to the NHL sooner rather than later. Rodion Amirov is the next best prospect in the system; he was drafted in the 2020 Draft, and showed star potential at the 2021 WJC with team Russia. Joseph Woll and Ian Scott are the notable goalie prospects in the system; don’t be surprised if either one of these goalies make appearances in the NHL next season. The Toronto Maple Leafs have done well drafting in the last two years, and have greatly improved their prospect pool from 2018 when Lou Lamoriello left.
16. Buffalo Sabres
With the Graduations of Dylan Cozens, and Casey Mittelstedt, and Rasmus Aplund, the Sabres prospect pool is a bit deflated for the time being. The most recent draft saw the Sabres add two more potential top-six wingers to the fold in Jack Quinn and John-Jason Peterka. Quinn is a goal-scoring winger who could team up with Cozens and Peterka showed what he could do at the 2021 WJC when he put up 10 points in only 5 games. They both will be productive pieces of the Sabres in the very near future. Buffalo’s top defensive prospects are Ryan Johnson, Mattias Samuelsson, and Oskari Laaksonen; all have top-4 potential. Finally, the Sabres have goaltending prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. There’s a lot to be excited about in his game. He looks like one of the better goalie prospects in the league. The Sabres will surely be replenished after the 2021 draft, as they have many 5 high picks in the 2021 draft.
17. Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are one of those teams that are in the sweet spot of a playoff team and an organization with a solid prospect pool. Considering they’ve traded away Erik Brannstrom and Nick Suzuki, while Cody Glass and Nicholas Hague have graduated, coming in at number 17 is very impressive. The star of this system is Peyton Krebs. This dynamic player will either shift to the wing or be one of the best one-two punches in the league behind Glass. He has elite potential, with great skating and high-end playmaking. Pavel Dorofeyev is a player who has first round talent, but was taken in the 3rd round of the 2019 draft. He has great offensive ability and is creative with the puck. Brendan Brisson, who was just added from the 2020 draft class is having a solid season with Michigan, scoring 10 goals and 21 points in 24 games. He’s a smart center with a very high hockey IQ, so look out for him as he progresses. The defense will need some new life soon, especially after the loss of Brannstrom and Hague, but there’s still a number of promising defenseman such as Jimmy Schuldt, Dylan Coghlan, Peter Diliberatore, Lukas Cormier, and Kaedan Korczak. Overall, Vegas has a great group of prospect, but the defense and goaltending could be improved.
18. Nashville Predators
Eeli Tolvanen has now graduated to the NHL, but the Nashville Predators still have a great group of prospects on hand. The top prospect for the Predators is Yaroslav Askarov, who is the best goalie prospect in the NHL; he is projected to be a franchise goalie, and will form a deadly tandem with Juuse Saros in net. Philip Tomasino, Egor Afanasyev, and Luke Evangelista are the top forward prospects in the system; all three are highly skilled forwards with top 6 potential. The future defense for the Preds isn’t looking as promising, but they do have a couple of prospect to keep an eye on. David Farrance, Marc Del Gaizo, Luke Prokop, and Frederic Allard seem like solid defenseman, but don’t expect them to a Roman Josi-type defenseman. Yaroslav Askarov elevates the rank of the Predators farm system because a franchise goalie can hide many weaknesses on a team.
19. Dallas Stars
Despite keeping their first-round picks in 11 straight drafts, the Dallas Stars’ find themselves low this list. They regularly have prospects that seem to struggle after being selected, and their prospect pool isn’t helped by the recent graduations of Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger. Leading the prospect pack is defender Thomas Harley, selected in the 2019 NHL Draft.
He looks like he should be a top-four defenseman moving forward. He eats up minutes, is a great skater, and sets up plays. The defensive group drops off after him in a big way though. Ty Dellandrea is their top forward prospect, he was consistently a point per game player his last two seasons in the OHL; Dellandrea has top 6 potential, but is more likely to be a top 9 forward at the NHL level. In the 2020 draft, the Stars drafted Mavrik Bourque, he was a steal of a pick and could become a top-six option in the future. He’s quick, creative and a proficient playmaker from the center position. The Stars also selected three other interesting forwards in Antonio Stranges, Yevgeni Oksentyuk, and Daniel Ljungman in the later rounds
The Dallas Stars need to start adding some elite talent to their prospect pool because their core is starting to aging.
20. Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames farm system has taken quite a hit with Dillon Dube, Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson, Andrew Mangiapane graduating to the NHL, and Adam Fox being traded away in the deal with Dougie Hamilton. However, Calgary has done a great job of replacing those prospects by drafting well in the past two drafts. At the 2019 draft, the Flames selected Jakob Pelletier and Ilya Nikolayev in the first and third rounds, respectfully, adding two forwards who never give up. Those are great players to have, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see both end up as top-six players. Then in the 2020 draft, they selected another blue-collar forward in Connor Zary at 24th overall who possesses a strong work ethic and impressive all-around game. The Flames addressed their lack of defensive depth with the selections of Yan Kuznetsov, Jeremie Poirier, Jake Boltmann, and Ilya Solovyov in the latest draft. Other forwards to keep an eye on are Dmitry Zavgorodny, Emilio Pettersen, Filip Sveningsson, and Matthew Phillips. Another 2019 draft selection leads the goaltending group in Dustin Wolf, and after a stellar WHL season, he could see playing on the NHL roster very soon. While its unlikely that half of these prospects make the NHL, there is a good chance that at least three or four prospects can become impact players in the NHL soon.
21. Tampa Bay Lightning
It’s Incredible the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to add to their farm system, despite having traded away Nolan Foote and having a few players moved up to the NHL. Undrafted Winger Alex Barre-Boulet has taken massive strides over the past two seasons, and now looks like a promising prospect. The top prospect in the system is Cal Foote, who looks like he could be a top-four defender very soon. He’s a player that won’t really stand out in any particular way but is so well-rounded that he’ll be a solid contributor at the NHL level. The Lightning are looking solid on the wings in the system; Taylor Raddysh, Alexander Volkov, Boris Katchouk, and Gabriel Fortier all have top 9 potential in the NHL. Behind Foote on defense, it looks pretty slim, so the Lightning will need to find a way to address the lack of depth on defense in the system. In net, they are looking pretty good with Hugo Alnefelt, an athletic goalie who can steal games. He’s a few years away, but he’s promising. Fortunately for the Lightning, they aren’t in need of prospects right now, but it is never too late to develop new top prospects.
22. Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets are looking strong on defense for the future. The majority of their top-end prospects are defenders: Ville Heinola and Dylan Samberg have the potential could be a top pair defensemen, and Declan Chisolm could be a top 4 defenseman.
Cole Perfetti is Winnipeg’s top defenseman overall; he could be their number 1 center in the future. Perfetti is a solid two-way center with creativity and a knack for putting up a lot of points. Winnipeg is have a few high-end prospects, but lack depth in the system. This is okay because star power can cover up many blemishes on the team.
23. Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks prospect pool improved significantly despite having most of their top prospects graduating to the NHL. Their 2020 Draft was solid; Lukas Reichel was drafted with the 17th overall pick, and the Hawks expect him to be a big time player for them.
Reichel is the type of player that you want on your team, he plays a gritty, and heavy game and can be a bit of an agitator. The defense is looking strong right now. Alec Regula, Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, and Alex Vlasic all show top-four potential. Chicago’s main weakness is goaltending, both on the main roster in the system; they will need to address this in 2021 draft.
Chicago has done a good job of replenishing their prospect pool, but at the moment they lack an elite talent in the system.
24. San Jose Sharks
Thanks to a strong 2020 Draft, the San Jose Sharks managed to improve their prospect pool a little bit from the previous season. Ozzy Wiesblatt, Thomas Bordeleau, and Tristen Robins, are all tremendous prospects, and should play important roles on the Sharks for years to come. Wiesblatt is an all-around solid player who has a good mix of scoring and playmaking abilities.
Bordeleau is a speedy center, who put up 30 points in 24 games playing for the Michigan Wolverines. Robins is a prolific point scoring forward, who is currently playing in the WHL; he was the second most prolific point producer in the entire league. Ryan Merkley is the top defensive prospect for the Sharks; his offensive game is not in question, what is in question is his play in his own end. San Jose is well set up in net, with the trio of Josef Korenar, Zachary Emond, and Andrew Shortridge bound to make the presence felt sooner rather than later. The San Jose Sharks have some solid prospects on hand but they lack a true star player in the prospect pool.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets Farm System has taken quite a hit this year with the graduations of some key prospects to the NHL roster. Andrew Peeke was their top prospect defenseman, but now he is playing in the NHL, which leaves a gaping hole on defense in the system. After Peeke, the Blue Jackets don’t have any top notch defensive prospects; their best option is Samuel Knazko, a Slovak born defenseman, who is solid in his own end, and is a good leader. Columbus has two high-end offensive talents in Liam Foudy, Yegor Chinakhov; both have top 6 potential. The Strength of the Blue Jackets prospect pool is goaltending; Daniil Tarasov and Matiss Kivienieks both have starter potential in the NHL. We could see the Blue Jackets farm system improve drastically after the 2021 draft, as they have three 1st round picks.
26. Arizona Coyotes
The Arizona Coyotes once had a pretty good farm system, but it has taken a hit after the Dylan Strome, Phil Kessel, and Taylor Hall trades. In Addition, the Coyotes have seen a few players make the NHL roster, so that has also had an effect on the farm system. The Top Prospect in the Coyotes’ system is Barrett Hayton, who was the 5th overall pick in 2018 and Captain of team Canada in the 2020 U20 WJC. Hayton has the potential to be a star in the NHL, but it could take longer for that to happen. Jan Jenik is another player to know; he has shown flashes of star potential in the OHL, as proven by his 26 point streak in 2019-20. The Top Defenseman in the System is Victor Soderstom, who could be a top 4 puck moving defenseman in the NHL.
The Arizona Coyotes are another team that needs to replenish their farm system, because it is starting to wear thin.
27. Washington Capitals
Similar to the Penguins, the Capitals core isn’t getting any younger, so they need to start adding more impact players in the system to develop. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanacek both graduated to the NHL, which leaves their farm system significantly weaker.
The Capitals have two elite prospects in their system in Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre.
Connor McMichael is an elite center, with excellent vision, and shot, while Hendrix Lapierre projects to be an elite two-way center. Brett Leason and Alexei Protas are also worthy of keeping an eye on, but they are more likely to play a depth role for the Capitals.
Washington doesn’t have any standout prospect defenseman, but they do have a few defenseman with top 4 potential in the system like: Alexander Alexeyev, Martin Fehervary, and Martin Hugo. The Capitals have to start adding more star power to their farm system, otherwise they could end up like the Washington Capitals Pre-Ovechkin.
28. St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues don’t have any star power in their farm system, partly due to a poor showing at the 2020 draft, but they did nothing to improve their shallow prospect pool. The Blues were the only NHL team without a representative at the 2021 World Junior Championship is more than enough proof of that.
Jake Nieghbours was their first round pick, he could be a solid NHL player, but the Blues could have picked a more talented player at that spot in the draft. Scott Perunovich is now the Blues’ top prospect after a Hobey Baker performance in 2019-20; he could thrive in the modern-day NHL that is build around speed. Klim Kostin, Nikita Alexandrov, and Alexei Toropchenko all have top 9 potential, but none of these players are star players. Goaltending is the strong suit, with Colten Ellis, Vadim Zherenko, and Joel Hofer in the system;
however, these goalies are a long way way from being NHL ready. The St. Louis Blues lack star power in the prospect pool, which they actually do need right now because they won’t be able to sign all of their free agents.
29. Boston Bruins
The recent graduations of Trent Frederic, Jakub Zboril, Daniel Vladar and Jeremy Swayman have left the Bruins farm system depleted. Boston lacks elite-level prospects in their system, and that could be an issue down the road, when core players retire. Urho Vaakanainen is the top prospect for the Bruins; he has the potential to be a solid top 4 defenseman in the league.
The Bruins have pretty good depth at center, with John Beecher, Jack Studnicka, and Jakub Lauko, who can also play the wing. Boston lacks scoring wingers in their system; their top winger is Oskar Steen, who hasn’t had a great showing in the AHL yet. Overall, the Bruins farm system is very underwhelming, and it should be a cause for concern because the Bruins core isn’t getting younger.
30. New York Islanders
With the Graduations of Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows, the New York Islanders don’t have the prospect depth it once did. There was a time when the Islanders had one of the top farm systems in the NHL, but with most of those players playing in the NHL now,
it leaves the farm system pretty depleted at the moment. Bode Wilde and Simon Holmstrom are bound to be on the NHL roster at some point in the next two years, so the Islanders need to start adding more high-end talent or they risk having some dark years ahead of them.
31. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins have the worst prospect depth of any team in the NHL, and its not even close. Samuel Poulin remains the top prospect in the Penguins’ system; he had 6 points in 5 games with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL before being traded to the Val-d’Or-Foreurs. With Val-d’Or-Foreurs, Poulin tallied 25 points in 19 regular season games, then 18 points in 12 playoff games. Other than Poulin, the club lacks high-end talent at every position. They did land Jonathan Gruden in the Matt Murray trade, but he may only be a second-line center at best. Compared to the star power and depth of other teams, the Penguins have by far the worst farm system in the NHL. If they don’t start some impact players, they will be in for a rude awakening once Crosby and Malkin retire.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft: Mock Draft By team (Part 1)
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