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 for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL. 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.ContentId(1.1241478): Craig's List: Top 5 Leafs prospects
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 and Flames don’t have any players in the top 50.
Top 50 NHL-Affiliated Prospects (For stats and more go to TSN.ca):
(Rank Name Drafted Team Current Team)
1. Vitali KRAVTSOV NY Rangers Traktor Chelyabinsk
2. Grigori DENISENKO Florida Panthers Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
3. Cale MAKAR Colorado Avalanche University of Mass/Amherst
4. Cody GLASS Vegas Golden Knights Portland Winterhawks
5. Troy TERRY Anaheim Ducks San Diego Gulls
6. Martin NECAS Carolina Hurricanes Charlotte Checkers
7. Eeli TOLVANEN Nashville Predators Milwaukee Admirals
8. Quinn HUGHES Vancouver Canucks University of Michigan
9. Ilya SOROKIN NY Islanders CSKA Moskva
10. Igor SHESTERKIN NY Rangers SKA St. Petersburg
11. Erik BRÄNNSTRÖM Vegas Golden Knights Chicago Wolves
12. Adam FOX Carolina Hurricanes Harvard University
13. Ukka-Pekka LUUKKONEN Buffalo Sabres Sudbury Wolves
14. Kirill KAPRIZOV Minnesota Wild CSKA Moskva
15. Aleksei HEPONIEMI Florida Panthers Kärpät
16. Jordan KYROU St. Louis Blues San Antonio Rampage
17. Filip ZADINA Detroit Red Wings Grands Rapids Griffins
18. Noah DOBSON NY Islanders Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
19. Alexander ROMANOV Montreal Canadiens CSKA Moskva
20. Serron NOEL Florida Panthers Oshawa Generals
21. Jason ROBERTSON Dallas Stars Niagara IceDogs
22. Kristian VESALAINEN Winnipeg Jets Jokerit
23. Drake BATHERSON Ottawa Senators Belleville Senators
24. Janne KUOKKANEN Carolina Hurricanes Charlotte Checkers
25. Alex FORMENTON Ottawa Senators London Knights
26. Rasmus SANDIN Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Marlies
27. Ilya SAMSONOV Washington Capitals Hershey Bears
28. Lias ANDERSSON NY Rangers Hartford Wolfpack
29. Barrett HAYTON Arizona Coyotes Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
30. Rasmus KUPARI Los Angeles Kings Kärpät
31. Urho VAAKANAINEN Boston Bruins Providence Bruins
32. Joel FARABEE Philadelphia Flyers Boston University Terriers
33. Alexander ALEXEYEV Washington Capitals Red Deer Rebels
34. Gabe VILARDI Los Angeles Kings Kingston Frontenacs
35. Ty SMITH New Jersey Devils Spokane Chiefs
36. Ryan POEHLING Montreal Canadiens St. Cloud State
37. Morgan FROST Philadelphia Flyers Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
38. Denis GURIANOV Dallas Stars Texas Stars
39. Nick SUZUKI Montreal Canadiens Owen Sound Attack
40. Owen TIPPETT Florida Panthers Saginaw Spirit
41. Adam GAUDETTE Vancouver Canucks Northeastern Huskies
42. Dante FABBRO Nashville Predators Boston University Terriers
43. Mikey ANDERSON Los Angeles Kings Minnesota-Duluth
44. Akil THOMAS Los Angeles Kings Niagara IceDogs
45. Phillipe MYERS Philadelphia Flyers Lehigh Valley Phantoms
46. Thatcher DEMKO Vancouver Canucks Utica Comets
47. Pierre-Olivier JOSEPH Arizona Coyotes Drummondville Voltigeurs
48. Dillon DUBE Calgary Flames Stockton Heat
49. Alex NYLANDER Buffalo Sabres Rochester Americans
50. Max JONES Anaheim Ducks San Diego Gulls