NHL prospect roundup: Canadiens’ Lane Hutson and Devils’ Luke Hughes beat NCAA
Currently, most junior leagues have already been active for at least a month. Outside of the NCAA, which plays most of its games on weekends, most developmental leagues have already played around 10 games, while the European divisions have been active for about two months.
We’re finally starting to build more substantial samples for the top prospects in the game, giving us more clarity on their development. Now that the players have shaken off the rust from the start of the season, we see some quality prospects shining through.
Here’s a look at 10 notable prospects drafted into the NHL last week:
– A defenseman rarely challenges an NCAA team leading in points, especially one with 11 skaters drafted into the NHL. But Montreal Canadiens perspective Lane Hutson was on fire early with Boston University, scoring three goals and eight points in seven games. He’s played in almost every situation for the school and is one of the few defenders to score twice in a game. Hutson’s offensive abilities are well known, with his 63-point USNTDP campaign last year ranking him second all-time in single-season defensive performance. Cam York has the record at 65, with Hutson pushing Adam Fox and Quinn Hughes. Hutson is only 5-foot-8, which is why he dropped in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft, but the talent is there. Mississauga Steelheads forward Owen Beck was also electric with 14 points in 10 games after signing his NHL entry-level contract. Keep an eye on him.
– Speaking of thriving NCAA defenders, New Jersey Devils perspective Luc Hughes got off to a terrific start with the University of Michigan. Selected fourth overall by the Devils in 2021, Hughes has five points in his last three games, including a three-point effort against Western Michigan on Saturday. Hughes was one of the best players for the United States at the summer World Junior Championship and he will have the chance to earn tournament MVP honors this winter. He’s the real deal, Devils fans.
– When the Dallas Stars drafted Jordan Kyrou’s younger brother, Christian Kyrou, with the 50th pick in 2022, they knew they were getting a manipulative, scoring defender. He did just that again with Erie, scoring 15 points in 13 games, including five points last weekend. That was evidenced by a seven-shot, three-goal effort against Kitchener on Sunday, an insane effort considering his position. He’s smart, balanced and knows how to move the puck, but he needs to build up his consistency in defensive play from quarter to quarter.
– After a disappointing 2021-22, Jayden Grubbe improved his game in his fourth WHL campaign with the Red Deer Rebels. In 11 games, the two-way forward has four goals and 15 points, including a pair of assists against Edmonton on Oct. 30. New York Rangers the prospect could make it to the NHL as a dependable defensive forward, but his progression on offense is nice too.
– Boston Bruins perspective Frédéric Brunet had a breakout 2021-22 season, going from a nine-point effort in 33 games in 2020-21 to 12 goals and 46 points in 63 games. That led to the Bruins signing the offensive-minded defenseman in the fifth round, and it looks like a smart choice right now. In 13 games with the Rimouski Océanic, Brunet has 13 points, including a three-assist effort in a 5-1 win over Charlottetown on Sunday. He has points in all but two games as he remains a vital presence in the Oceanic roster.
– After finishing one goal behind William Dufour for the QMJHL scoring title last season, the Quebec Remparts forward Zachary Bolduc came out hot. picks up where it left off. The St. Louis Blues The 2021 first-round pick has eight goals and 21 points in just 10 games, good for ninth in the league. That puts him on a 134-point pace, which obviously isn’t entirely realistic in a 60-plus-game season, but it does give him breathing room to squash his 99-point production last year. His season, however, should be interrupted by a trip further east for the Junior World Championship.
– Nicholas Moldenhauer only played one game last week with the Chicago Steel, but he made it count with a three-point effort against Green Bay. Selected 95th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2022, Moldenhauer has 10 goals and 16 points in 11 games, good enough to tie teammate Jayden Perron for the USHL league scoring lead. He’s on track to double his production of 43 points in his NHL draft year and should be considered in Canada’s selection plans for the World Junior Championship.
– Much expected Simon Edvinson to go straight to the NHL after a fantastic SHL campaign with Frolunda. Instead, the Detroit Red Wings sent him to Grand Rapids to start 2022-23, and he’s thrived with six points in six games. Edvinsson can slow the pace at will and create chances that way and he can play on special teams and against a team’s best competition. There’s an argument to be made that he’s already ready for the NHL, but the Red Wings are playing the patient game, and that should pay off.
– Through three starts and four games, Ivan Prosvetov conceded one in three goals for the Tucson Roadrunners so far. The 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes prospect has been one of the AHL’s most outstanding goaltenders so far, far ahead of veteran Jon Gillies. Prosvetov won some starts with the Coyotes last year and should be a candidate for an injury call-up this year, but it’s good to see him have early success. Mikko Matikaa 2022 third-round pick, also deserves some love after a four-point weekend with USHL Madison.
– The Carolina Hurricanes have high hopes for the defender Alexander Nikishin, the 21-year-old player of SKA St. Petersburg. Selected 69th overall in 2020, Nikishin has 20 points in 25 games, easily surpassing his previous record of 12 with Spartak Moskva last year. The hard-nosed defenseman is in the final year of his KHL contract, which will allow the Hurricanes to bring him in next summer. Carolina has a crowded defensive core, but Nikishin can still be a solid part of the team’s future.
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