Future Watch 2020: The NHL’s prime 10 falling prospects


Earlier this week, I revealed the 10 NHL-affiliated prospects who had risen essentially the most in our Future Watch rankings over the previous yr. For you glass-half-empty sorts, it’s time for the highest 10 falling prospects.
First off, in the event you aren’t aware of Future Watch 2020, which could be bought right here: It’s an annual particular version by which we (a) grade each NHL franchise’s assortment of 21-and-younger expertise, from gamers within the system to younger weapons on the NHL rosters and (b) rank the highest 100 NHL-affiliated particular person prospects, with “NHL-affiliated” referring to all drafted or signed gamers in a staff’s system. To study extra about how our panel of NHL staff scouts creates the rankings, click on right here and browse the highest 10 Risers article.
The Fallers checklist is much more difficult than the Risers checklist. It’s not so simple as perusing these names and simply assuming all 10 gamers have regressed developmentally over the previous 365 days. Generally, that’s true however, different occasions, an harm has value a prospect essential taking part in time and stalled his trajectory or suppressed his stats. Additionally, if a participant hasn’t graduated completely to the NHL over the previous yr, which means a whole different draft class has been added to every staff’s farm system, so a number of the new recruits are competing on prospect lists towards gamers who appeared in earlier editions of Future Watch. Generally the outdated guard will get pushed down the ranks by the brand new additions.
A disclaimer to recollect earlier than we get to the Fallers checklist: 2019 NHL draftees aren’t eligible. They didn’t seem in Future Watch 2019, as they weren’t but drafted, to allow them to’t be fallers after they don’t have any earlier rating to fall from.
1. LIAS ANDERSSON, C, NEW YORK RANGERS (-67)Final yr: 34thThis yr: not ranked in prime 100
Andersson was an apparent guess to “win” the 2020 Fallers title. His 2019-20 couldn’t have gone extra disastrously. He posted a single level in 17 video games, throughout which he was entrusted with simply 9:33 of common ice time and was totally pasted by opponents within the possession numbers. He was then demoted to AHL, the place he lasted 13 video games earlier than leaving the staff, requesting a commerce and getting suspended. He was loaned to HV71 within the SHL again in his native Sweden and didn’t look misplaced, however his future with the Rangers appears extraordinarily difficult. He spoke of disturbing “incidents” throughout the group which appeared to indicate being bullied, however he didn’t elaborate additional. When he was within the lineup, he struggled along with his explosiveness as a skater. It’s powerful to think about Andersson carrying a Ranger uniform ever once more, however he’s nonetheless simply 21. It’s not too late for the 2017 draft’s seventh-overall choose to show his profession round.
2. RASMUS KUPARI, C, LOS ANGELES KINGS (-58)Final yr: 19thThis yr: 77th
Kupari’s greatest asset is his super pace. He’s a real burner and represents the Kings’ organizational shift towards eschewing vestiges of the massive, sluggish Dean Lombardi-era groups for a smaller, faster squad. Why, then, does, Kupari go from top-20 prospect to virtually off the radar? He hasn’t introduced a lot ending means with him since transitioning from Karpat of the Finnish Liiga to the AHL’s Ontario Reign. Ideally, you need scoring contact to enhance the wheels. The Kings felt he began to indicate progress adjusting to the North American recreation after a pair months. The principle motive for his drop is the torn ACL he sustained on the 2020 world juniors competing for Finland. For a participant whose calling card is pace, it’s scary to see such a serious knee harm so younger.
3. NICOLAS BEAUDIN, D, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (-44)Final yr: 50thThis yr: 94th
The hope is that Beaudin goes backward to go ahead. He was an offensive dynamo in main junior, a power-play quarterback scoring at higher than a point-per-game clip in his ultimate two seasons with QMJHL Drummondville. Transitioning to the AHL and taking part in with males, he’s not placing up the identical large numbers – not even shut, however that’s partially as a result of he’s been working arduous on his fundamentals and studying how defend towards greater forwards. That will likely be essential given his 5-foot-10, 178-pound construct. Smaller D-men can excel in right now’s NHL however nonetheless want sure baseline power and should perceive how you can use positioning and footwork to thwart attackers. By engaged on these areas, maybe Beaudin will likely be higher off in the long term. He didn’t fall this yr as a result of he did something improper, actually. It’s extra seemingly the dip in his stats prompted our scouting panel to miss him a bit. He did get known as up for an NHL recreation March 11.
4. BODE WILDE, D, NEW YORK ISLANDERS (-44)Final yr: 57thThis yr: not ranked in prime 100
Wilde has bounced round this yr. He sustained a high-ankle sprain within the World Junior Summer time Showcase and ended up taking part in 20 video games with AHL Bridgeport earlier than being returned to OHL Saginaw the place he may play a a lot greater position. He’s nonetheless simply 20, he has nice dimension, and he’s a naturally gifted offensive defenseman with a booming shot, however he should proceed honing his hockey sense and defensive acumen. He’s bodily, so he has potential to develop right into a two-way drive. Given he technically moved backward on the developmental aircraft this season, he’ll seemingly want one other full yr within the AHL earlier than he knocks on the NHL door.
5. EELI TOLVANEN, LW, NASHVILLE PREDATORS (-38)Final yr: 15thThis yr: 53rd
Bear in mind how excited we had been when Tolvanen was smashing KHL underager data a pair years again? It’s been an actual grind adjusting to the North American recreation. He has bother getting his shot off and has not graded out as a very good defensive ahead. That issues, as whenever you’re an AHLer perceived to have a one-way recreation, you don’t have a lot of an opportunity to stay with the NHL membership as a bottom-six ahead. You must make it as a top-sixer, and in the event you’re going to do this, you higher be dominating the AHL offensively. Tolvanen has not been. The tantalizing instruments haven’t gone anyplace, although. Electrical wrister and one-timer. Able to main sizzling streaks. And he’s solely 20. He’s now not Nashville’s prime prospect, however he’s removed from hopeless but.
6. ALEKSI HEPONIEMI, C, FLORIDA PANTHERS (-37)Final yr: 64thThis yr: not ranked in prime 100
Heponiemi didn’t simply tumble out of the highest 100. He’s not even ranked as a top-10 Panthers prospect in Future Watch 2020. The transition from the Finnish Liiga to the AHL has been…ugly. He managed three targets and 14 factors in his 49-game AHL debut. That was after posting large level totals in main junior and being fairly a productive participant within the Liiga. There’s no questioning his pure playmaking expertise, however his resolution making with the puck has been inconsistent, and he’s even been a wholesome scratch at occasions. Weighing simply 148 kilos (!!!) can’t be serving to him win battles, both. The strangest factor about Heponiemi’s struggles is that he’s not the stereotypical European prospect adjusting to the pace and confined areas of the North American recreation. He performed two seasons with the Swift Present Broncos. He did present blips of life later within the season with AHL Springfield. All three of his targets got here in his final 16 video games. He has the foot pace and imaginative and prescient to make an affect sometime however has to climb the depth chart right into a significant farm-club position first.
7. OLLI JUOLEVI, D, VANCOUVER CANUCKS (-35)Final yr: 66thThis yr: not ranked in prime 100.
Juolevi really ranked sixth on this checklist final yr, when he’d tumbled from 21st to 66th, and now he’s dropped proper out of the highest 100, which is disheartening to say the least given the Canucks used 2016’s fifth-overall choose on him. This season, the information isn’t all unhealthy, nevertheless. Regardless of the slide within the ranks, he’s lastly been comparatively wholesome, shaking off a bout of hip soreness and getting 45 video games in with AHL Utica, throughout which he’s been utilized in all conditions. So whereas the rating suggests he’s slipping, Juolevi has really skilled a optimistic yr developmentally just by staying on the ice and getting his reps in an essential position. He turns 22 in Might. Loads of nice NHL defensemen have debuted older than that. So we might even see Juolevi get there sooner or later.
8. MARTIN KAUT, RW, COLORADO AVALANCHE (-31)Final yr: 56thThis yr: 87th
Kaut’s drop displays a horrible begin to his AHL season. He bought his first level in Recreation 11 and first objective in Recreation 13. He additionally missed greater than a month as a consequence of an upper-body harm sustained in late October. Kaut, a defensively accountable ahead with some edge, did discover his recreation finally, choosing up 18 factors in what is going to seemingly be his ultimate 24 AHL video games performed this season. He additionally did most of his harm at even power. He earned a February call-up to the Avs and scored twice in 9 video games. Given the robust end, he may compete for a roster spot within the NHL subsequent season.
9. JARET ANDERSON-DOLAN, C, LOS ANGELES KINGS (-29)Final yr: 72ndThis yr: not ranked in prime 100
Anderson-Dolan’s drop within the ranks may merely be the results of his personal staff pushing so many new abilities forward of him on the depth chart. Since Future Watch 2019 got here out, the Kings have drafted or traded for the gamers now ranked as their 5 greatest prospects: Alex Turcotte, Tobias Bjornfot, Samuel Fagemo, Arthur Kaliyev and Tyler Madden. Common supervisor Rob Blake has been busy. The speedy Anderson performs a conscientious two-way recreation, so maybe our scouts determine he may find yourself being a middle-six ahead and thus has a decrease ceiling than a few of L.A.’s different blue-chippers. Anderson-Dolan really acquitted himself fairly effectively as rookie professional within the AHL this season, choosing up 28 factors in 53 video games in a big position. It wasn’t a shock to see him get 4 video games in with the Kings this yr, both, as his ability set makes him somebody you’ll be able to belief on a checking line upon calling him up.
10. JASON ROBERTSON, LW, DALLAS STARS (-26)Final yr: 44thThis yr: 70th
Jason’s youthful brother Nick has good skating means, so it’s a bit stunning that skating is definitely Jason’s weak spot. It’s seemingly the largest motive for Robertson’s drop, as our scouts seem to not belief his long-term ceiling. Brief-term, nevertheless, his improvement goes fairly effectively. As a rookie professional, he led AHL Texas in scoring, and he earned himself three NHL video games with Dallas. Robertson, who additionally received the OHL scoring crown final yr, has progressed properly however has to enhance his skating and protection if he desires to unlock star potential.
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Tags: prospects, lists, information, nhlConnect: Concerning the AuthorMatt LarkinMatt Larkin is a senior author at The Hockey Information and has been a part of the staff since 2011. He is your one-stop store for deep-dive participant interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy participant rankings, participant security and hair suggestions. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey Information Dwell and The Hockey Information Podcast.

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