2023-24 NHL TOP 200 PROSPECTS - PART 1: 51-200

2023-24 NHL TOP 200 PROSPECTS - PART 1: 51-200

This article is part of our Prospects Analysis series.

This is the first of our annual two part series detailing the top prospects in the NHL entering the 2023-24 season. 

A couple quick notes on this year's list before we get started.

  • There were roughly 30-35 names I considered for the final 15 spots. The players at that stage of the list are largely interchangeable. 
  • The prospect depth around the league appears, at least in my eyes, to be considerably deeper than this time a year ago. I struggled to find 200 guys I liked on last year's list. There were no such problems this time around. 

51- Chaz Lucius (C, WPG): I wasn't a huge supporter of Lucius' decision to leave the University of Minnesota after one season to sign with the Jets in the spring of 2022. He began last season in the AHL, where he was fine (5P in 12GP), before joining the US World Junior team, where he won a Bronze Medal. Lucius was then sent to WHL Portland, where he dominated for six games (5G, 15P,) before a shoulder injury ended his year. From an offensive standpoint, I'm a big fan. Lucius is skilled and creative. He's shifty enough to win one-on-one battles against opposing defenders, even if his game lacks pace at times. I've always found him to be an underrated playmaker, as well. That said, Lucius is a high-risk prospect. I don't see much middle ground here. I also don't think Lucius is ready for a full-time AHL gig given how little

This is the first of our annual two part series detailing the top prospects in the NHL entering the 2023-24 season. 

A couple quick notes on this year's list before we get started.

  • There were roughly 30-35 names I considered for the final 15 spots. The players at that stage of the list are largely interchangeable. 
  • The prospect depth around the league appears, at least in my eyes, to be considerably deeper than this time a year ago. I struggled to find 200 guys I liked on last year's list. There were no such problems this time around. 

51- Chaz Lucius (C, WPG): I wasn't a huge supporter of Lucius' decision to leave the University of Minnesota after one season to sign with the Jets in the spring of 2022. He began last season in the AHL, where he was fine (5P in 12GP), before joining the US World Junior team, where he won a Bronze Medal. Lucius was then sent to WHL Portland, where he dominated for six games (5G, 15P,) before a shoulder injury ended his year. From an offensive standpoint, I'm a big fan. Lucius is skilled and creative. He's shifty enough to win one-on-one battles against opposing defenders, even if his game lacks pace at times. I've always found him to be an underrated playmaker, as well. That said, Lucius is a high-risk prospect. I don't see much middle ground here. I also don't think Lucius is ready for a full-time AHL gig given how little he played last season, which could present a problem if that's the route Winnipeg decides to go. 

52- Eduard Sale (RW, SEA): Sale destroyed the Czechia junior league two seasons ago to the tune of 42 goals and 89 points in 39 games. He was less effective this past year (7G, 14 P in 43GP) for Brno in that country's top Extraliga, but he's consistently produced in international competitions and has widely been viewed as a top prospect in the 2023 class for a while now. More quick than fast, Sale, a left-handed shot, seems best suited to play the right-side long term. His playmaking is ahead of his finishing at this point. Sale is a constant threat with the man advantage, as he finds seams in the defense lots of players would overlook. Combine all that with the fact he has good size (6-foot-1, 175 pounds), skates fine, and turned just 18 years of age in late March, and you have an asset on your hands.

53- Samuel Honzek (LW, CGY): A leg injury suffered at the World Juniors cost Honzek the better part of two months. He still averaged well over a point-per-game (23 goals, 56 points in 43 games) for the WHL's Vancouver Giants in addition to showing a wide array of secondary skills. Honzek moves well for a kid that checks in at 6-foot-4. He might be best served as a third liner that can contribute 15-20 goals a season to an NHL club, but I wouldn't rule out Honzek developing into a top-four winger given his hockey sense and work ethic. He has the look of a competent two-way pro with a high floor. It should be noted there are some evaluators that feel Honzek has a chance to make it as a center at the NHL level, which would obviously increase his value. 

54- Liam Ohgren (LW, MIN): Ohgren missed time in the middle of the year with an injury, but all told, finished with 19 goals and 33 points in 43 combined regular season and playoff games for Djurgardens in Sweden's second tier Allsvenskan. Ohgren dominated the Swedish Jr. league two years ago based on pure skill and it was nice to see him vary his game a bit to be successful at a higher level. Ohgren lacks top-flight speed, but he moves well once he gets going. He's displayed an ability to generate offense in a variety of different ways, which should serve him well when he moves to North America. I've seen enough improvement here to be optimistic about Ohgren's future. He looks like a rock-solid, middle-six NHL winger, a great result for the No. 19 overall pick in 2022.

55- Mavrik Bourque (C, DAL): A star throughout his four seasons in the QMJHL, Bourque turned pro last year and was immediately productive. He spent the entire season with AHL Texas, posting 20 goals and 47 points in 70 games. Bourque is an easy player to like. He plays hard, has above-average offensive abilities, and thinks the game at an exceptionally high level. Bourque lacks ideal speed for an undersized (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) but his compete level and smarts make up for it. He looks like a jack-of-all-trades that can play up and down a lineup. Bourque should make his NHL debut at some point during the 2023-24 campaign.

56- Axel Sandin Pellikka (D, DET): A fringe first-rounder when the season began, Sandin Pellikka played his way into the late lottery discussion before eventually being picked by Detroit at No. 17 overall. He put up absurd numbers for Skelleftea's Jr. team (16 goals, 36 points in 31 games) and was stellar for Sweden's World Junior team last year despite managing just a single assist in seven games. Sandin Pellikka is a modern-day offensive defenseman. He wins with vision and smarts instead of speed and physicality. Sandin Pellikka may never be the type to log heavy defensive minutes, but I have zero issues with how hard he works in his own zone and that, combined with his other offensive abilities, should help him take a regular shift at the NHL level in addition to being a threat with the man advantage. 

57- Daniil But (LW, ARI): 6-foot-5, 18-year-olds with good hands and a heavy shot don't grow on trees, so it's not the least bit surprising But was in high demand on draft night, ultimately going No. 12 overall to Arizona, higher than most expected. He averaged a point-per-game in Russia's Jr. league this past season (15 goals, 26 points in 26 games) before barely playing in his 15-game stint (2 goals) with Yaroslavl's KHL club. But he has the frame to consistently win board battles in the offensive zone, and his defensive play, while far from elite, is quite reasonable. But's foot speed is lacking, and he may struggle to generate offense off the rush, but he's a real threat off the cycle and with the man advantage. You can squint and see a guy with a massive ceiling if his skating improves just a bit.

58- Jordan Dumais (RW, CLS): Virtually no prospect in the entire league raised their stock as much as Dumais -- the No. 96 overall pick in the 2022 draft -- over the past 12 months. He led the QMJHL in both assists (86) and points (140 in 64 games) on his way to being named league MVP and a first team CHL All-Star. Dumais' playmaking is ahead of his finishing. He possesses the rare ability to consistently find openings in the offensive zone. Dumais can the most difficult passes seem routine, which as you might have guessed, makes him a deadly option with the man advantage. Dumas is roughly 5-foot-10, 170 pounds and lacks ideal speed for an undersized player, but his vision and awareness on the ice are so good that I think he has a real chance to make it as a offense-first, NHL winger. 

59- Calum Ritchie (C, COL): The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 OHL Draft, Ritchie was good, but not great (24G, 59P in 59GP) in his second season with the Generals. Now, it should be mentioned he was playing for one of the OHL's weaker teams. His so-so season aside, it's easy to see why Ritchie is highly regarded. He's 6-foot-2 and should be pushing 200 pounds when all is said and done. He has excellent hands and the ability to beat opposing defender's one-on-one. He's also going to remain in the middle. If you think Ritchie's failure to consistently impact the game this season was simply the result of the lack of talent around him, then he's an ideal "buy low" guy. I had him ranked No. 22 overall on my big board and was surprised he dropped to Colorado at pick No. 27.

60- Tom Willander (D, VAN): A fringe first-rounder when the year began, Willander picked up a ridiculous amount of helium along the way, ultimately going to the Canucks at No. 11 overall. I had him ranked 23rd and didn't love the pick, but Vancouver certainly wasn't the only team considering the Swede in that area of the draft. Willander is an exceptional skater. He can outrace opposing forwards on a consistent basis. His offensive game is quite basic, but he is by no means a butcher with the puck on his stick. Toss in the fact he battles hard in his own zone and Willander doesn't have far to go to be a serviceable NHL player. He's committed to Boston University. 

61- Brad Lambert (C, WPG): The Jets started Lambert in the AHL last season, which seemed like a mistake from the very start. He wasn't ready for the level and eventually found his way to the WHL on the heels of an exceptionally poor (1G, in 5GP) World Juniors. Playing for one of the best teams in the league in Seattle, Lambert was a key cog in helping the Thunderbirds win the WHL Championship. He closed with 23 goals and 64 points in 43 combined regular season/playoff games. Lambert is an elite skater. He had arguably the best speed of any player taken in the 2022 draft. There are consistency issues to work through here and I feel less confident about Lambert reaching his ceiling than virtually any player on the top 100, but few prospects in the league can match his speed and explosiveness. 

62- Noah Ostlund (C, BUF): Ostlund didn't face great competition in Sweden's second tier Allsvenskan a season ago, but he played well, finishing with 26 points in 37 games. His hockey IQ is excellent. He reads plays well and seemingly always find himself in the proper position in all three zones. Ostlund probably isn't a star, but I see no significant weaknesses in his game, either. He has more than enough natural offensive ability to threaten 15-20 goals annually at the NHL level, which combined with his other strengths make him the latest in a long line of quality prospects in the Buffalo system. 

63- Marat Khusnutdinov (C, MIN): Playing for the loaded SKA club, Khusnutdinov had 11 goals and 41 points in 63 KHL games a season ago as a 20-year-old. It was significant and legitimate offensive production for a young kid playing in the second-best league in the world. Khusnutdinov is noticeable seemingly every time he's on the ice. I'd term his offensive abilities about average, but he's an excellent skater and works his tail off. It's a skill set that should play up on the smaller ice surfaces of North America. Khusnutdinov's KHL contract reportedly expires at the end of the upcoming season.

64- Jeremie Poirier (D, CGY): Poirier made a near-seamless transition to the professional ranks, piling up the points (9 goals, 41 points in 69 games) in his first AHL campaign before adding eight points in nine postseason contests. His defensive play is up and down, but I've seen him do well in one-on-one battles at time. It's just not consistent. That said, Poirier isn't in your lineup to log heavy penalty killing minutes, so if he continues to generate offense while holding his own at even strength, I'm sure the Flames will be more than satisfied. 

65- Filip Bystedt (C, SJ): Bystedt returned to his native Sweden a season ago and was named SHL Rookie of the Year after posting seven goals and 20 points in 45 games with Linkoping. It was a really strong performance for a kid that turned 19 years of age in early February. Bystedt was excellent at the World Juniors (4 goals, 10 points in 7 games) as well. A big (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) kid with good hands and above-average creativity, Bystedt's game has really grown on me the past 12 months. He's likely looking at one more year overseas before trying to earn a spot in the San Jose lineup in 2024-25.

66- Owen Pickering (D, PIT): Serving as captain for WHL Swift Current last season, Pickering logged a ton of minutes. He was productive offensively (9 goals, 36 points in 45 games) before finishing the year with eight scoreless games for AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Pickering was a ninth-round pick in the (177th overall) 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, so the fact he was a 2022 first rounder (21st overall) is a massive accomplishment. I'm not quite sure how much long-term upside Pickering has, but he's a big body (6-foot-4) with a good set of wheels and strong hockey IQ. I could ultimately see him settling in as a middle-pairing, 30-point, stay-at-home guy. 

67- Lukas Cormier (D, VGK): Cormier turned pro this past season following back-to-back years in which he was named QMJHL Defenseman of the Year. The offensive numbers (10G, 35P in 62GP) were excellent for a kid who played nearly the entire season in the AHL at age 20. His play in his own zone was predictably hit or miss, looking reasonably strong at times, while struggling at other points. Cormier's compete level is fine, but I just don't think he will ever be the type to log heavy defensive minutes. He's going to rely on his skating, hockey sense, and a cannon of a shot to be successful at the NHL level. My guess is he starts the 2023-24 campaign back with AHL Henderson and makes his NHL debut at some point during the season.

68- Riley Heidt (C, MIN): The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft, Heidt has been on the prospect map for a while. He put up big offensive numbers for the WHL's Prince George Cougars this past season, finishing with 25 goals and 97 points in 68 games, tying him for fourth in WHL scoring. Heidt is particularly dangerous off the rush, possessing the speed and acceleration to fly through the neutral zone and around opposing defenders. Heidt reads plays well and seems to be constantly involved, making plays in all three zones. I'm not sure if his upside is super high, but he has all the qualities to be a competent pro. There were rumblings of Heidt, who was No. 24 on my big board, tumbling on draft day, but virtually no one saw him dropping to No. 64 overall, the final pick of Round 2. It ended up being a heist for the Wild. 

69- Jonathan Lekkerimaki (RW, VAN): Lekkerimaki's production was lacking this past season. He managed just three goals and nine points in 29 games with Djurgardens in Sweden's second tier Allsvenskan and was quiet (1G, 4P in 7GP) at the World Juniors. I believe in the talent level of the player, but even going back to his draft year there were far too many nights in which Lekkerimaki failed to impact a game. That said, the upside is obvious. Very few prospects in the league shoot the puck as well as the Swede. Lekkerimaki is undersized at 5-foot-11 and his skill set isn't conducive to a depth role, so his floor is lower than you would like to set for a top prospect. He's slated to play with Orebro in Sweden's top league this coming year.

70- Andrew Cristall (LW, WSH): Opinions on Cristall are all over the map. He finished this past season tied for sixth in WHL scoring (39 goals, 95 points in 54 games) and he would have been a whole lot higher had he not missed some time due to injury. What's not in dispute is Cristall's skill and creativity. He is talented enough to beat opposing defenders one-on-one and possesses the ability to make the most difficult offensive plays seem routine. Cristall's skating is the real issue. He lacks burst and his overall skating stride has many concerned. Simply put, there aren't many NHL players that look like Cristall. With Bedard obviously playing in the NHL next season, I could easily see a scenario in which Cristall leads the WHL in scoring. Clearly ecstatic with their selection of Cristall at No. 40 overall in the most recent draft, Washington has already signed him to an entry-level deal. 

71- Gavin Brindley (RW, CLS): Brindley's freshman season at the University of Michigan went about as well as anyone could have hoped. He averaged nearly a point-per-game (12 goals, 38 points in 41 games) in helping the Wolverines reach the Frozen Four, in addition to playing his way onto the United States World Junior team which won the Bronze Medal. Brindley has two well above-average tools in his speed and compete level. He lacks ideal top-six skill, but he constantly seems to be in the right place in the offensive zone, which helps increase his production. Betting on a 5-foot-9, 165-pound forward without high-end skill is risky, but Brindley offers enough elsewhere to provide a solid floor as a professional, at a minimum.

72- Dmitri Simashev (D, ARI): A smooth-skating, 6-foot-4 defender was always going to be in high demand on draft day. That said, I don't think may people had Simashev going No. 6 overall to Arizona. You must dig deeper than the stat line to accurately gauge Simashev's future potential. He posted just a dozen points in 51 games combined for Yaroslavl's KHL and Jr. club. His gap control is excellent, and he constantly retrieves pucks and moves them up and out of the defensive zone without issue. While I don't think he will ever be a major point producer at the NHL level, I imagine there's a bit more offense to his game than we have seen thus far. Simashev could play in the NHL with just minor improvements to his game, with his ceiling being much higher as he grows into his body and gains further experience. The question at this point is whether the offense will come down the road.

73- Devon Levi (G, BUF): There's a bias around the NHL against undersized goalies, which is why Levi, who stands about 6-foot and 180 pounds, lasted to the No. 212 overall pick in 2020. He was selected by Florida and arrived in Buffalo in the Sam Reinhart deal. The back-to-back winner of the Mike Richter Award as the top goaltender in college hockey, Levi finished his career at Northeastern with a 38-22-6 record, 1.90 GAA and .942 save percentage. He became Buffalo's quasi-starter late in the year, posting a 5-2-0 mark, 2.94 GAA and .905 save percentage. Sure, it would be nice if Levi was 6-foot-5, but all that matters is stopping the puck, which he is exceptional at. He's a clear future NHL starter for me, and has lapped the likes of Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen, Topias Leinonen and Erik Portillo (since traded to Los Angeles), in the future Buffalo goaltender hierarchy.

74- Dustin Wolf (G, CGY): We have reached the point I'm willing to listen to an argument Wolf is the best goaltender in the entire Calgary system, including the two guys (Jacob Markstrom, Daniel Vladar) playing at the NHL level. The 22-year-old California native is fresh off a campaign in which he led the AHL in wins (42), GAA (2.09), save percentage (.932), and shutouts (7). He was named both league MVP and goaltender of the year. Wolf dropped to No. 214 overall in 2019 because he's small. Calgary's official site has him listed at 6-foot, 166 pounds. That's probably generous. At some point, however, size becomes irrelevant. Wolf tracks pucks as well as any goaltending prospect in the league and he's an exceptional athlete. Essentially, he's great at everything outside of having an ideal frame. I think he's ready to be a starter at the NHL level right now and I could see him being the No. 1 guy for the Flames before the 2023-24 campaign is through. 

75- Lian Bichsel (D, DAL): Bichsel played 42 games with Leksands of the SHL a season ago, managing a goal and six points. The lack of offensive production is not a mirage. Bichsel has a clear NHL skill set, but it's that of a nasty, physical stay-at-home defender. Standing north of 6-foot-5 and pushing 225 pounds, Bichsel takes up a ton of space in the defensive zone and makes life miserable on opposing forwards. His puck game is simple, but effective. He knows his limits and plays to his strengths. I'd be surprised if Bichsel became a top-pairing defender based on his own abilities, but I could absolutely see a scenario where he is the defensively responsible partner of a top-tier offensive weapon. Think Ryan Lindgren of the Rangers in relation to Adam Fox. Already signed to his entry-level deal, Bichsel should begin the coming season in the AHL.

76- Owen Beck (C, MON): Beck had quite a season. He split his OHL campaign between Mississauga and Peterborough (24 goals, 66 points in 60 games), eventually helping the Petes win the OHL Championship. He played one game for Montreal in the latter part of the season under emergency conditions and was a late recall to Team Canada at the World Juniors despite being originally cut from the team. Beck is a max-effort guy that gets the most out of his physical skills. He probably projects as more of an excellent bottom-six depth player than top-six weapon, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's a perennial 20-goal scorer at the NHL level.

77- Jakob Pelletier (LW, CGY): Pelletier played 24 games for the Flames in his rookie season, meaning he is going to lose his eligibility for this list on Opening Night. The undersized (5-foot-18, 180 pounds) dynamo showed flashes with Calgary (3 goals, 7 points) in addition to be downright dominant (16 goals, 37 points in 35 games) for a second straight season in the AHL. It's clear Pelletier has nothing to prove in the minors. He's more of a playmaker than finisher, but his shot is excellent. Other than the lack of size, I can't find a single hole in Pelletier's game. 

78- William Wallinder (D, DET): At 6-foot-4 with some skill, speed, and a big shot, Wallinder was widely viewed as a project when the Wings took him 32nd overall in 2020. His development has gone swimmingly, as he posted seven goals and 26 points in 50 games for Rogle of the SHL a season ago while playing a steady defensive game. Now that's he's put it all together there's a real case to be made Wallinder is more floor than ceiling from a long-term perspective, but it's gotten to the point I'd be surprised if he wasn't an NHL regular. His NHL debut could come at some point in 2023-24, although Detroit is quite loaded on the blue line now. 

79- Brock Faber (D, MIN): Acquired by Minnesota in the Kevin Fiala deal in the summer of 2022, Faber served as captain for the University of Minnesota last season (27 points in 38 games) before signing with the Wild. He played two games for the club late in the year in addition to dressing in all six of their postseason contests. Faber looks like he was built in a factory. He's a stellar athlete with terrific speed. We've seen him log top-end minutes in both college and multiple World Juniors tournaments. His offensive game is simple, but effective. Faber isn't going to score as a professional at anywhere near the rate he did in his final collegiate campaign, but he's by no means a butcher with the puck on his stick. I love the player and when you combined the skating with a high-end compete level, I would be shocked if Faber didn't end up with a decade-plus of solid NHL service.

80- Jani Nyman (RW, SEA): Nyman's production this past season (10 goals, 14 points in 29 games) was more than respectable for an 18-year-old playing in Finland's top league. He lacks breakaway speed but moves well for a kid that checks in at 6-foot-2 and nearly 215 pounds. He's crafty in tight and has an excellent shot. I'd like to see him use his large frame to his advantage a bit more but the early returns on the 2022 second rounder (49th overall) are positive. Nyman, who has already signed his entry-level deal, figures to spend one more season in Europe before arriving stateside in the fall of 2024.

81- Bradly Nadeau (RW, CAR: Nadeau led the BCHL in goals (45), assists (68) and points (113 in 54 games) this past season, while also being named the league's regular season and playoff MVP. It's worth mentioning that Penticton's regular season record was 50-3-1. They scored 304 goals and gave up just 96. That said, there's plenty to like about Nadeau's game. He can really skate and excels at making plays at high speed. His shot is excellent and he's deadly in open space. I don't love the fact Nadeau is heading to a University of Maine program that has produced very few talented NHL forwards in recent years, but his individual skill set is intriguing. It's far from shocking the Hurricanes nabbed him at No. 30 overall this past June, as no team in the NHL has valued skill more than Carolina the past several years. 

82- Otto Stenberg (C, STL): Stenberg spent a good chunk of the 2022-23 season playing for Frolunda's SHL club as a 17-year-old, finishing with a goal and three points in 23 games. He was predictably the organization's junior club, posting 26 points in 29 games. Stenberg has the look of a useful utility player once he arrives in North America. He can play both center and wing and has no significant holes in his game. Stenberg's compete level is strong, and he should be a useful source of secondary offense. Stenberg projects as a strong two-way third liner with a small chance for more if everything comes together. 

83- Lukas Dragicevic (D, SEA): My favorite attribute to bet on for defensive prospects is hockey sense, and that is by far Dragicevic's greatest strength. His high-level vision and ability to run a power play allowed Dragicevic to finish fourth among all WHL defenders in scoring (75 points in 68 games) despite owning a well below-average set of wheels. There are concerns regarding Dragicevic's ability to keep up with the pace of play as he moves up the ladder, so there's major risk here despite all he brings to the table. I'd wager he is smart enough to figure it out over time, with his floor being a power-play specialist who needs to play sheltered minutes at even strength. The Kraken got a potential steal at No. 57 overall this past June.

84- Zach Dean (C, STL): Dean was a hefty price for Vegas to pay to rent Ivan Barbashev from the Blues, but they won the Stanley Cup in the process in a deal which seems increasingly likely to work out great for both sides. Dean's offensive game is basic, but he had an excellent final QMJHL season (33 goals, 70 points in 50 games) and was even better in the playoffs (10 goals, 26 points in 13 games). He plays hard and can really shoot the puck. Young players that can make an impact in multiple areas like Dean can almost always find their way in the NHL.

85- Thomas Bordeleau (LW, SJ): Bordeleau's first full pro season was a rousing success. He finished with 22 goals and 41 points in 65 AHL games, in addition to posting a pair of helpers in an eight-game stint with the Sharks. I've been high on Bordeleau for quite a while. His vision is outstanding, and he always seems to find a way to impact a game. I think he's a winger as opposed to a center, which hurts his value a tad, but there's legitimate all-around middle-six upside here. Bordeleau remains one of the more underrated prospects in the NHL. 

86- Charlie Stramel (C, MIN): Playing the entire 2022-23 season at age 18, Stramel took a regular shift for the Badgers. He didn't produce much offensively (5G, 12P in 33GP), although he looked a bit better at times (3 assists in 7 games) in a pure depth role for Team USA at the World Juniors. Stramel is a hulking kid (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) who can move. He SHOULD impact a game more than he does given his size and skating ability. He can finish plays around the net and his compete level is fine, but Stramel's game lacks creativity and it's fair to wonder if he will ever be able to put it all together to the point he can fill a middle-six role at the NHL level. He needs to show more this coming season.

87- Ethan Gauthier (RW, TB): Gauthier's father, Denis, played more than 500 NHL games, mostly with the Flames in the early 2000's. Although Denis was a defenseman and Ethan is a winger, they share similar traits. Gauthier's compete level is exceptional and he's more than willing to go to the difficult areas of the ice to make a play. You get the same effort from him each night, and while he's unlikely to be a driver of offense at the NHL level, he's talented enough to finish whatever scoring chances are presented to him. I think he projects as more of a bottom-six forward than a top-six guy. He immediately becomes one of the top prospects in a thin Lightning system.

88- David Edstrom (C, VGK): On the surface, Edstrom looks like a future sure-fire top-six center for Vegas. He has size (6-foot-3, 190 pounds), a reasonable amount of skill, and plays hard. I'm not completely sold on his individual creativity, but he certainly can display flashes of brilliance and got better as the season went along. He's a good prospect and it's entirely possible I'm too low on him, but I'd like to see Edstrom string together another solid campaign before pushing him up the rankings. 

89- Nathan Gaucher (C, ANH): I've been slow to come around on Gaucher, but the more I watch him the more I think he's going to find a way to make it at the NHL level in some capacity. His offensive numbers (22 goals, 46 points in 44 games) for QMJHL Quebec a season ago were underwhelming for a top prospect, but he's won two gold medals with Canada at the World Juniors and a CHL Memorial Cup championship in the past year-plus. Gaucher was also named the best defensive forward in the QMJHL last season. Even if he ends up a bottom-six center who can contribute 12-15 goals a year and kill penalties, I think he'll have real value. 

90- Zack Ostapchuk (C, OTT): Ostapchuk showed enough over the course of his final two WHL campaigns (and a pair of World Juniors) that I think it's safe to project him as a future regular for the Senators. His offensive game is simple, and he lacks creativity at times, but Ostapchuk has posted 57 goals and 110 points over his last 115 junior games, so he should be able to, at a minimum, contribute some secondary offense at the NHL level. Combine that with his size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and work ethic and you have an intriguing long-term asset on your hands. 

91- Luke Evangelista (RW, NSH): Regular readers of this column know I've been high on Evangelista for a while. I loved him in his draft year (2020), and he's done nothing since to change my opinion that he has a chance to make it as a top-six forward at the NHL level. He lacks size and speed, but the bottom line is that Evangelista has displayed an ability to consistently pile up points. He scored 55 goals in his final OHL campaign, was effective in his first pro season with AHL Milwaukee (9 goals, 41 points in 49 games), and looked good in a 24-game stint (7 goals, 15 points) with Nashville. He's going to graduate from this list on Opening Night this coming fall.

92- Scott Morrow (D, CAR): Morrow has been as advertised offensively, if not better, over the course of two seasons at UMass-Amherst, posting 22 goals and 64 points in 72 games. He's a purely offensive defenseman, with excellent vision and a hard accurate shot. Morrow's play in his own zone hasn't improved much and I could absolutely envision a scenario in which he frustrates NHL coaches because he'll have to be deployed a certainly way, but if the Hurricanes have figured out a way to get the best out of Tony DeAngelo, they'll be able to figure it out with Morrow. My guess is he'll sign with Carolina at the end of this upcoming season as he'll have little to gain by playing a fourth year of collegiate hockey.

93- Oliver Bonk (D, PHI): The Flyers selected Bonk 22nd overall in the 2023 draft and if they hadn't, he wouldn't have lasted much longer. He posted 40 points in 67 games for OHL London a season ago and played a ton in all situations, a remarkable feat considering he spent time in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League back in 2021-22. I think he's more of a middle-pairing than top-pairing guy, but he's played little high-level hockey so Bonk most certainly could exceed expectations as he gains experience in the coming years. 

94- Tanner Molendyk (D, NSH): Molendyk got a ton of late steam heading into the draft and ended up going No. 24 overall to Nashville. He was the No. 5 overall selection in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft, so Molendyk has been on the map as a potential top prospect for a while. He's undersized (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) and posted just 37 points in 67 games for Saskatoon a season ago, but few defensive prospects in the league are as shifty on their skates as Molendyk, plus he plays very hard. It's an intriguing package if the offense can improve just a little bit.

95- Stanislav Svozil (D, CLS): This is probably a tad high for Svozil, who has always been a personal favorite of mine. Originally a third-round pick of the Jackets in 2021 (69th overall), Svozil had a huge offensive year (11 goals, 78 points in 67 games) for WHL Regina, seemingly always setting up Connor Bedard. I keep coming back to the fact there are no real weaknesses in Svozil's game. Will he score at a point-per-game pace at the NHL level? No, not even close. But he has plenty of hockey sense, skates fine and is willing to throw the body around. He just has the look of a very solid, if unspectacular, NHL rearguard. 

96- Tristan Luneau (D, ANH): Anaheim's embarrassment of riches on the back end continues with Luneau, the No. 53 overall pick in 2022 who was named QMJHL Defenseman of the Year last season on the heels of a campaign in which he had 83 points in 65 games for Gatineau. More quick than fast, Luneau has excellent vision and an underrated shot. I don't think he has the ceiling of Olen Zellweger or can match the all-around contributions of Pavel Mintuykov, but the Ducks have another potential top-four rearguard on their hands in Luneau. 

97- Tyson Foerster (RW, PHI): Playing a good chunk of last season as a 20-year-old, Foerster was a key cog for AHL Lehigh Valley (20 goals, 48 points in 66 games) before scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace (3 goals, 7 points) in an eight-game stint with the Flyers late in the year. Foerster's feet are heavy, and I understand the concerns regarding his long-term ability to keep up with the pace of play, but few prospects in the league shoot the puck as well as the 2020 first rounder (23rd overall). I think Foerster will be a nice piece for Philadelphia, even if he is forced to do much of his damage with the man advantage. 

98- Michael Hrabal (G, ARI): I had Hrabal ranked as the No. 1 goaltender and No. 36 overall on my big board for the 2023 draft. He ended up going No. 38 to Arizona. Hrabal is every bit of 6-foot-7, 215 pounds. Goalies that size with any sort of athleticism are highly intriguing. He was inconsistent at times this past season, but you could most definitely close your eyes and envision Hrabal as a future NHL starting goaltender. It's going to take time and I expect some struggles for the 18-year-old in his freshman season at UMass-Amherst this coming fall, but the ceiling here is immense. 

99- Fabian Lysell (RW, BOS): The Bruins have one of, if not the worst prospect pool in the NHL. That's the price you pay for being a Stanley Cup contender every year. Lysell is by far their best prospect, although he is coming off a bit of a strange year. He played the entire year in the AHL despite not turning 20 years of age until this past January. His offensive production (14G, 37P in 54GP) was very strong, but Lysell no showed the World Juniors right around Christmas, failing to finish with a point in seven games for his native Sweden. Now, the 54 games with Providence were far more important than a random seven-game sample on the international stage, but I'm sure some scouts were worried about the WJC performance considering Lysell must put up points to be effective. I'm by no means hitting the panic button, however. Lysell is a high-risk/high-reward prospect. Anything from a legitimate top-six scoring winger, to an up-and-down guy who struggles to consistently impact a game seems to be on the table here. 

100- Mackie Samoskevich (LW, FLA): I've been higher than consensus on Samoskevich for a while now. The Connecticut native scored at better than a point-per-game clip (20 goals, 43 points in 39 games) in his sophomore season with the University of Michigan before signing his entry-level deal with the Panthers. He closed the year with six assists in nine combined regular/postseason games with their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. At his best, Samoskevich makes the game look easy. He shoots the puck well enough to consistently beat goaltenders from distance and I've always found his playmaking to be underrated. Mackie's skill set isn't conducive to a bottom-six role, so he's going to have to continue to pile up points as a pro, but I see no reason that won't happen. 


101- Joshua Roy (C, MON)
102- Caedan Bankier (C, MIN)
103- Sean Farrell (LW, MON)
104- Seamus Casey (D, NJ)
105- Ryan Chesley (D, WSH)
106- Jackson LaCombe (D, ANH)
107- Tyler Boucher (RW, OTT)
108- Will Cuylle (LW, NYR)
109- Connor Zary (C, CGY)
110- Zachary Bolduc (C, STL)
111- Danny Nelson (C, NYI)
112- Nolan Foote (LW, NJ)
113- Artyom Duda (D, ARI)
114- Nikolai Kovalenko (LW, COL)
115- Scott Perunovich (D, STL)
116- Bobby Brink (RW, PHI)
117- Sean Behrens (D, COL)
118- Oscar Fisker Molgaard (C, SEA)
119- Jayden Perron (RW, CAR)
120- Elmer Soderblom (LW, DET)
121- Reid Schaefer (LW, NSH)
122- Riley Kidney (C, MON)
123- Brendan Brisson (C, VGK)
124- Jackson Blake (RW, CAR)
125- Mason Lohrei (D, BOS)
126- Ridly Greig (C, OTT)
127- Etienne Morin (D, CGY)
128- Josh Filmon (LW, NJ)
129- Mattias Havelid (D, SJ)
130- Aatu Raty (C, VAN)
131- Oskar Olausson (LW, COL)
132- Lenni Hameenaho (RW, NJ)
133- Adam Gajan (G, CHI)
134- Hendrix Lapierre (C, WSH)
135- Sebastian Cossa (G, DET)
136- Ryker Evans (D, SEA)
137- Jagger Firkus (RW, SEA)
138- Kasper Halttunen (RW, SJ)
139- Vincent Iorio (D, WSH)
140- Tyler Kleven (D, OTT)
141- Samuel Fagemo (LW, LA)
142- Cameron Lund (C, SJ)
143- Theo Lindstein (D, STL)
144- Isaac Howard (LW, TB)
145- Ryan Johnson (D, BUF)
146- Trey Augustine (G, DET)
147- William Dufour (RW, NYI)
148- Fraser Minten (C, TOR)
149- Anton Wahlberg (C, BUF)
150- Arseni Gritsyuk (LW, NJ)
151- Carter Mazur (LW, DET)
152- Emil Andrae (D, PHI)
153- Ethan Del Mastro (D, CHI)
154- Henry Thrun (D, SJ)
155- Fedor Svechkov (C, NSH)
156- Xavier Bourgault (RW, EDM)
157- Nikita Chibrikov (RW, WPG)
158- Isak Rosen (LW, BUF)
159- Luca Del Bel Belluz (C, CLS)
160- Evan Nause (D, FLA)
161- Colton Dach (C, CHI)
162- Luca Cagnoni (D, SJ)
163- Carson Lambos (D, MIN)
164- Corson Ceulemans (D, CLS)
165- Filip Mesar (RW, MON)
166- Hunter Brzustewicz (D, VAN)
167- Alex Turcotte (C, LA)
168- Ilya Safonov (C, CHI)
169- Noel Gunler (RW, CAR)
170- Adam Sykora (LW, NYR)
171- Kirill Dolzhenkov (RW, CLS)
172- Shai Buium (D, DET)
173- Mathieu Cataford (RW, VGK)
174- Pavel Dorofeyev (LW, VGK)
175- Dmitri Rashevsky (RW, WPG)
176- Jan Jenik (C, ARI)
177- Roman Kantserov (RW, CHI)
178- Jack Peart (D, MIN)
179- Akira Schmid (G, NJ)
180- Maveric Lamoureux (D, ARI)
181- Carson Rehkopf (LW, SEA)
182- Beau Akey (D, EDM)
183- Ryan Ufko (D, NSH)
184- Gleb Trikozov (LW, CAR)
185- Matyas Sapovaliv (C, VGK)
186- Alex Laferriere (LW, LA)
187- Sasha Pastujov (LW, ANH)
188- Sam Rinzel (D, CHI)
189- Brett Berard (LW, NYR)
190- Dmitri Buchelnikov (LW, DET)
191- Semyon Chistyakov (D, NSH)
192- Ryan Greene (C, CHI)
193- Alex Ciernik (LW, PHI)
194- Alexander Perevalov (LW, CAR)
195- Ryan Winterton (C, SEA)
196- Tyson Hinds (D, ANH)
197- Koehn Ziemmer (RW, LA)
198- Maxim Strbak (D, BUF)
199- Christian Kyrou (D, DAL)
200- Jaroslav Chmelar (RW, NYR)


Topi Niemela (D-TOR)
Nolan Allan (D, CHI)
Martin Chromiak (LW, LA)
Kirill Kirsanov (D, LA)
Elliot Desnoyers (C, PHI)

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Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
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