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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov barely edges out fellow Russian winger Grigori Denisenko of the Florida Panthers to lead the way in the 2019 edition of TSN Hockey’s annual list of the Top 50 NHL-affiliated prospects.

Only players considered to have not achieved full-time NHL status are included in the rankings.

Kravtsov, 19, is a highly skilled winger who is an offensive threat with his combination of speed, power, shot and finish. He’s expanding his game by playing centre this season. Kravtsov’s skill set, along with this adaptability, allows him to impact the game in multiple ways. His style of play is similar to that of the recently retired Rick Nash.

Denisenko, 18, is a dynamic offensive player who has a tremendous level of confidence in his play. Skating for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL this season, Denisenko can shoot as well as make a play and has qualities that are reminiscent of Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov.

Cale Makar, 20, (No. 3) of the Colorado Avalanche is the top defenceman on this year’s list. Currently playing NCAA hockey for the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, the 20-year-old has the ability to control the game when he’s on the ice. Dynamic with a flair for the spectacular, Makar will be a welcome addition to the Avalanche blueline.

Portland Winterhawks centre Cody Glass, 19, is at No. 4 for a second consecutive year. The first-ever draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knights looks every bit the number-one centre teams covet. He's more of a playmaker, but his ability to skate, attack and open up ice to create offensive opportunities allows him to be a consistent threat.

Our top five is rounded out by Anaheim Ducks property Troy Terry, 21, who is excelling in the American Hockey League this season with the San Diego Gulls (37 points in 32 games). The American right winger is a great skater who creates plays at a high pace to make life uncomfortable for opponents. It’s difficult to understand why he hasn’t been given a shot at the NHL level by a Ducks team screaming out for offence.

The rest of the top 10 features Martin Necas (No. 6), a Czech centre and Hurricanes prospect who has 26 points in 30 games for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers this season; Eeli Tolvanen (No. 7), a right winger and Nashville Predators prospect who has 12 points in 24 games for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals this season; Canucks blueliner Quinn Hughes (No. 8), who is currently playing for the University of Michigan; and Russian goaltenders Ilya Sorokin (No. 9) of the Islanders and Igor Shesterkin (No. 10) of the Rangers, who are both having strong seasons in the KHL.

On the team side, the Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings are tied for the lead with four players each in the top 50.

Denisenko (No. 2) is joined by fellow Panther prospects centre Aleksi Heponiemi (No. 15), right wing Serron Noel (No. 20) and right wing Owen Tippett (No. 40). The Kings are represented by centre Rasmus Kupari (No. 30), centre Gabe Vilardi (No. 34), defenceman Mikey Anderson (No. 43) and winger Akil Thomas (No. 44).

The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks lead the way for Canadian teams with three players each in our top 50.

The Habs have Russian defenceman Alexander Romanov (No. 19), American centre Ryan Poehling (No. 36) and Canadian winger Nick Suzuki (No. 39), while the Canucks have Hughes (No. 8), centre Adam Gaudette (No. 41) and goaltender Thatcher Demko (No. 46).

The Ottawa Senators are represented by two players – right wing Drake Batherson (No. 23) and left wing Alex Formenton (No. 25). The Maple Leafs (defenceman Rasmus Sandin at No. 26) and Jets (left wing Kristian Vesalainen at No. 22) have one player each in the rankings. The Oilers don’t have any players in the top 50.

Note: The first column in the table below indicates the prospect’s placement in our 2018 rankings:

 

Top 50 NHL-Affiliated Prospects

 
2018 2019 Name Age NHL Team 2018-19 Team GP G P
- 1 Vitali Kravtsov 19 NYR Chelyabinsk (KHL) 36 6 17
- 2 Grigori Denisenko 18 Fla Yaroslavl (KHL) 17 3 3
11 3 Cale Makar 20 Col UMass/Amherst (NCAA) 20 8 24
4 4 Cody Glass 19 VGK Portland (WHL) 30 12 58
- 5 Troy Terry 21 Ana San Diego (AHL) 32 16 37
3 6 Martin Necas 20 Car Charlotte (AHL) 30 9 26
2 7 Eeli Tolvanen 19 Nsh Milwaukee (AHL) 24 4 12
- 8 Quinn Hughes 19 Van Michigan (NCAA) 19 3 22
7 9 Ilya Sorokin 23 NYI Moskva (KHL) 31 1.20 .940
9 10 Igor Shesterkin 23 NYR St. Petersburg (KHL) 22 1.23 .947
20 11 Erik Brannstrom 19 VGK Chicago (AHL) 27 4 20
36 12 Adam Fox 20 Car Harvard (NCAA) 15 7 23
- 13 Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen 19 Buf Sudbury (OHL) 28 2.42 .923
14 14 Kirill Kaprizov 21 Min Moskva (KHL) 44 20 31
17 15 Aleksi Heponiemi 20 Fla Kärpät (SM Liiga) 30 8 27
15 16 Jordan Kyrou 20 StL San Antonio (AHL) 26 11 25
- 17 Filip Zadina 19 Det Grands Rapids (AHL) 30 10 20
- 18 Noah Dobson 19 NYI Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) 28 9 16
- 19 Alexander Romanov 19 Mtl Moskva (KHL) 29 0 0
- 20 Serron Noel 18 Fla Oshawa (OHL) 43 24 56
- 21 Jason Robertson 19 Dal Niagara (OHL) 35 31 62
- 22 Kristian Vesalainen 19 Wpg Jokerit (KHL) 17 5 12
29 23 Drake Batherson 20 Ott Belleville (AHL) 26 8 25
- 24 Janne Kuokkanen 20 Car Charlotte (AHL) 33 11 30
- 25 Alex Formenton 19 Ott London (OHL) 13 7 16
- 26 Rasmus Sandin 18 Tor Toronto (AHL) 18 5 10
10 27 Ilya Samsonov 21 Wsh Hershey (AHL) 18 3.60 .866
13 28 Lias Andersson 20 NYR Hartford (AHL) 21 5 15
- 29 Barrett Hayton 18 Ari S.S. Marie (OHL) 23 18 39
- 30 Rasmus Kupari 18 Los Kärpät (SM Liiga) 29 8 23
- 31 Urho Vaakanainen 20 Bos Providence (AHL) 9 0 5
- 32 Joel Farabee 18 Phi Boston U (NCAA) 19 6 16
- 33 Alexander Alexeyev 19 Wsh Red Deer (WHL) 33 7 35
22 34 Gabe Vilardi 19 Los Kingston (WHL)      
- 35 Ty Smith 18 NJ Spokane (WHL) 32 4 48
- 36 Ryan Poehling 20 Mtl St. Cloud St (NCAA) 18 3 17
33 37 Morgan Frost 19 Phi S.S. Marie (OHL) 35 23 65
- 38 Denis Gurianov 22 Dal Texas (AHL) 28 11 31
23 39 Nick Suzuki 19 Mtl Guelph (OHL) 33 23 53
41 40 Owen Tippett 19 Fla Saginaw (OHL) 28 21 38
26 41 Adam Gaudette 22 Van Utica (AHL) 7 4 7
37 42 Dante Fabbro 20 Nsh Boston U (NCAA) 19 4 17
- 43 Mikey Anderson 19 Los Minn-Duluth (NCAA) 18 3 8
- 44 Akil Thomas 19 Los Niagara (OHL) 36 18 56
30 45 Phillippe Myers 21 Phi Lehigh Valley (AHL) 38 7 24
42 46 Thatcher Demko 23 Van Vancouver (NHL)      
35 47 Pierre-Olivier Joseph 19 Ari Drummondville (QMJHL) 9 0 4
38 48 Dillon Dube 20 Cgy Stockton (AHL) 11 2 11
25 49 Alex Nylander 20 Buf Rochester (AHL) 35 9 24
- 50 Max Jones 20 Ana San Diego (AHL) 32 12 24
 

 

Top 5 Prospects from each Canadian Team

 
RK Name Age NHL Team 2018-19 Team GP G P
1 Dillon Dube 20 Cgy Stockton (AHL) 11 2 11
2 Oliver Kylington 21 Cgy Stockton (AHL) 18 7 14
3 Andrew Mangiapane 19 Cgy Stockton (AHL) 13 7 14
4 Matthew Phillips 19 Cgy Stockton (AHL) 34 10 23
5 Tyler Parsons 20 Cgy Stockton (AHL) 9 4.70 .870
               
1 Kailer Yamamoto 20 Edm Edmonton (NHL) 13 1 2
2 Evan Bouchard 19 Edm London (OHL) 17 5 22
3 Dmitri Samorukov 19 Edm Guelph (OHL) 34 3 20
4 Olivier Rodrigue 18 Edm Drummondville (QMJHL) 33 2.53 .898
5 Kirill Maksimov 19 Edm Niagara (OHL) 38 28 57
               
1 Alexander Romanov 19 Mtl Moskva (KHL) 29 0 0
2 Ryan Poehling 20 Mtl St. Cloud St (NCAA) 18 3 17
3 Nick Suzuki 19 Mtl Guelph (OHL) 33 23 53
4 Jacob Olofsson 19 Mtl Timra (SHL) 23 2 6
5 Cayden Primeau 19 Mtl Northeastern (NCAA) 16 2.22 .923
               
1 Drake Batherson 20 Ott Belleville (AHL) 26 8 25
2 Alex Formenton 19 Ott London (OHL) 13 7 16
3 Josh Norris 19 Ott Michigan (NCAA) 17 10 19
4 Jacob Bernard-Docker 18 Ott North Dakota (NCAA) 21 4 13
5 Filip Gustavsson 21 Ott Belleville (AHL) 27 3.48 .886
               
1 Rasmus Sandin 18 Tor Toronto (AHL) 18 5 10
2 Timothy Liljegren 19 Tor Toronto (AHL) 19 2 8
3 Trevor Moore 23 Tor Toronto (AHL) 30 19 26
4 Ian Scott 20 Tor Prince Albert (WHL) 31 1.78 .937
5 Carl Grundstrom 21 Tor Frolunda (SHL) 37 11 26
               
1 Quinn Hughes 19 Van Michigan (NCAA) 19 3 22
2 Adam Gaudette 22 Van Utica (AHL) 7 4 7
3 Thatcher Demko 23 Van Vancouver (NHL)      
4 Jonathan Dahlen 21 Van Utica (AHL) 38 9 20
5 Tyler Madden 19 Van Northeastern (NCAA) 16 6 18
               
1 Kristian Vesalainen 19 Wpg Jokerit (KHL) 17 5 12
2 Dylan Samberg 19 Wpg Minn-Duluth (NCAA) 17 2 5
3 Sami Niku 22 Wpg Winnipeg (NHL) 7 0 0
4 Declan Chisholm 20 Wpg Peterborough (OHL) 41 3 32
5 David Gustavsson 19 Wpg HV 71 (SHL) 16 0 4