Top 60 American Prospects Drafted/Signed (UPDATE -KREIDER TO MAKE PLAYOFF DEBUT)
I put this list together in hopes of seeing how deep the US pool of talent overall is. This list does NOT include any players draft eligible for the 2012 and beyond drafts, or any players currently unsigned in college or the CHL.
I kind of based my list off of players playing under 30 NHL games in their career, though some might have a few more games over that mark....it isnt a perfect science just one I tried to go by. I hope some other posters could make their own threads about their own countries top 30-60 prospect lists....lets try to keep this on the US kids only please...
hope you enjoy
this was super hard to make and the debate will be there, but this is just my opinion...I could have missed some players as I did this pretty fast, and many of these guys are very close in terms of talent so it was hard to put together.
EDIT: Rocco Grimaldi has been injured much of the year, and really didnt want to try and rank him in this group for now...he gets an incomplete.
THE TOP 50 AMERICAN PROSPECTS
#1. Nick Bjugstad -F- I have trouble putting anyone above this kid. he has the size and skill that makes him such an amazing prospect. surely he goes pro next year and could likely earn a top 6 role with the Panthers. has all world ability.
#2. Charlie Coyle -F- like Bjugstad the talent is there. he has jumped to the QMJHL where he hasnt missed a beat. this kid has the size and ability to be a dominating force, and like Bjugstad has all world ability.
#3. Emerson Etem -F- some can knock his consistency and effort, but no one can knock his motor, hands, and shot. he is an elite sniper that will make it in some capacity in the NHL for years to come. the entire US team at the WJC struggled, but that doesnt diminish the talents of Bjugstad, Coyle, or Etem.
#4. Brandon Saad -F- what a difference a year can make. the 6'2 power winger has absolutely destroyed the OHL, and is at a better ppg clip then Yakupov! his plus/minus of 28 is astounding as well. this kid has the tools to be a dominating NHLer next season, and I see the Hawks making room for him.
#5. Drew Shore -F- another big and skilled forward for the Americans. Shore is having an amazing year at Denver, and is clearly showing that his stock is sky rocketing since his draft. he can score with the best of them in college and could likely earn top 6 minutes in Florida within 2 years.
#6. Kyle Palmieri -F- currently looking like he belongs in the NHL with the Ducks, Kyle is starting to show off that world class speed and shot that I have seen for so many years. he is a bit on the smaller side, but he plays smart and usually finds ways to get through traffic and not crushed by it.
#7. Chris Kreider -F- no player seems to bring up more debate then Kreider. he currently is having a monster year this season and likely will go pro after the conclusion. at 6'2 and wheels to burn this kid has all the tools to be #1 on this list which he likely will prove to be in 2 years.
#8. Brock Nelson -F- another big, strong, and skilled forward for the Americans. Brock is having a breakout year at North Dakota. he is the centerpiece for what is one of the best programs in the nation. he as well likely turns pro this season and should have a serious shot at making the Islanders out of camp.
#9. Stefan Noesen - F- a jack of all trades type player, Noesen has done amazingly well for himself in Plymouth over the past 2 seasons. he is one of my favorite players overall as the kid just works so hard for everything he gets. he may never be a 30 goal scorer at the NHL level, but a solid 20-25 every year isnt out of the question.
#10. J.T Miller -F- plays with Noesen on Plymouth, but the numbers could be a bit better for Miller imo. he has the size and skill to be a dominating player, but he just hasnt done that enough yet. still the promise and future is bright with Miller who likely will turn pro after the season.
#11. Jason Zucker -F- on the smaller side of the forwards list compared to some of the players listed above, but Zucker has more talent then the majority of the players on this list. does he have the strength and good health to keep him as a solid NHLer will be the question mark with Zucker.
#12. Beau Bennett -F- health issues are a concern with Beau, but talent is not. he like Zucker has all world ability, but Bennett needs to prove he can be healthy a full season and tear up college hockey before he even worries about the pro game. huge upside here.
#13. Connor Murphy -D- my first dman on this list, Murphy can do it all so well. he is finally starting to settle in on both sides of the ice with Sarnia, and his blast and poise from the point is pro ready now. needs to stay healthy and get past the previous injuries that has slowed his development.
#14. Austin Watson -F- another big and skilled forward. Watson will do all the dirty things needed to help you win. he gets a lot of dirty goals but also has soft hands that can set up his linemates very nicely. needs to use that frame more often to his advantage though.
#15. Jon Merrill -D- has had a rough year, but the talent and skill is there. he is also finally settling in nicely with Michigan after a rough start, but Merrill is the player with the most upside at the defensive position then anyone on this list imo. size and skill big time with Merrill.
#16. Jared Knight -F- I love this kid and his heart. he is a Ryan Callahan clone that will do whatever it takes to help his team win. he is a bit undersized, but he makes up for it in so many other areas. might not crack the Bruins next year, but should be a top call up when it is said and done.
#17. Jeremy Morin -F- should be higher on this list, but the injuries for Morin are a concern. he is an elite sniper and should be at the NHL level, but hopefully Morin continues his physical play and gets that scoring touch back that made him such a hot prospect last year.
#18. Zach Budish -F- probably a bit high, but I love what this kid is capable of doing. a 6'4 behemoth, Budish is the type of player teams covet. big and strong with a scoring touch to boot. came back from some horrible injuries and luck to us finally seeing what this kid is capable of doing. big riser.
#19. Shane Prince -F- a ton of heart and attitude is why I like this kid. he is super skilled and should find a way into a NHL lineup over the next few seasons. tearing up the OHL currently, there is nothing left to prove for him there.
#20. Tyler Biggs - F- a project in a sense, Biggs has the ability to be a dominating player a few years down the road. he plays for one of the best programs in the nation and the Leafs are going to be patient with him. a lot to like here with Biggs.
#21. Jarred Tinordi -D- he has impressed me all year long. has monster size at 6'7, but actually has improved his outlet passing and his skating to a point where I can see him cracking Montreals lineup in less then 2 years.
#22. Matt Nieto -F- kind of a forgotten player in a sense, but Nieto is absolutely destroying college hockey right now. he has pretty solid size though he will always be considered on the smaller end, but his hands and vision are very high end. I like him to a Jason Zucker type player which is a very good thing.
#23. Jordan Schroeder -F- kind of dropping a bit, but Jordan is having a solid year this season in the AHL. he is certainly having a better second half this year. he is the type of smaller player that needs to be a top 6 forward or he wont make it to the NHL. I love the kid and am rooting for him, but it likely will not be in Vancouver as they are loaded upfront.
#24. Matt Donovan -F- not many players have impressed me more then he has this year. silky smooth dman that will be a lock to make the Islanders at some point next season. he has the skating a vision of a top pairing dman, he just needs to work on strength and positioning to round it all out.
#25. Vincent Trocheck -F- another wrecking ball type player, Vince plays with all heart and soul out there. he actually has the talent to match it as well. currently destroying the OHL, Vincent is on the smaller side so it will always be a fight for him to make it, but I believe he is tough enough and gritty enough to make it.
#26. Eric Tangradi -F- I thought for sure this would be his year, but the 6'4 225 power forward just hasnt had that happen yet. I see the talent and skill there, I just hope he gets the full chance to put it all together. should be a 30 goal scorer with the hands he has, I hope he gets full time NHL duty in the playoffs and beyond
#27. Cam Atkinson -F- small but super skilled. this kid is proving a ton of people wrong. I love the way he plays and the areas he isnt afraid to go into. should be a top 6 player for the Blue Jackets next year and could be a big time riser on this list.
#28. Kevin Hayes -F- drafted as a project as the Hawks are being patient with. Hayes is a growing power forward that will likely need another year of college under his belt. he brings a lot of things to like to the table, but he needs to get more consistent to make it.
#29. Danny Kristo -F- playing for the North Dakota powerhouse, I would assume Kristo goes pro this year. he isnt that big, but I dont really consider him undersized. he has tremendous wheels and a hell of a shot. likely needs a full AHL season under his belt, but could be a top 6 sniper in 2 years.
#30. Andrew Yogan -F- another player that continually impresses me. Andrew has awesome size and strength and is taking a leading role on his club currently. a top 20 OHL scorer, Yogan is finally producing to a level many of us saw from him years ago. Rangers got a steal in the 4th round.
#31. Troy Vance -D- another monster that has vaulted the charts. a big time steal in the 2011 draft, Vance is really becoming an all around player in the QMJHL. I love his physicality and the way he is chipping in offensively..a player to watch out for sure.
#32. Adam Clendening -D- Adam is a player that you just expect more from, but it finally looks like he is delivering it. not on the bigger side of the dmen pole, but his offensive skills is what will get him to the show. another year in college would do him wonders imo.
#33. Stephen Johns -D- the hulking defender is playing so well at Notre Dame that I can honestly see him going pro next season. still needs to work on foot speed and using his frame more effectively, but the bg shutdown dman has actually brought a nice offensive side to his game as well. a lot to like here.
#34. Phil McRae -F- not sure what type of player Phil will make it as a NHLer, but he will make it as a NHLer. he has the skill and grit to play multiple roles, probably in the Nick Foligno mold. St Louis will ease him in over the next year or so.
#35. Derek Forbort -D- Monster dman, that still needs time to mature and grow into that frame. I see a lot to like with Derek but I also see things I dont like. it is up to him iwith what player he wants to be, but he needs to work very hard over the next couple years but he is at the right program to do that.
#36. Jerry D'Amigo -F- Jerry is the kind of player that likely will never be a highend guy, but he shows all the traits you could want in a solid soldier who chips in offensively on your 2nd-3rd lines. he still has a bright future and is improving every game in the AHL. could crack the Leafs next year.
#37. Anders Lee -F- another of those debated players, Anders just does so much right that I dont understand why he gets as much heat as he does. big, strong, and physical, Anders has only recently focused on hockey over football. this kid is having another great year at Notre Dame and likely will turn pro after the season.
#38. Jim O'Brien -F- Jim is earning a nice role on the Senators right now, though it isnt as glamorous as many had hoped. he uses his big frame to his advantage and parks his rear in the areas needed. looks to be a solid 2nd-3rd line forward with some scoring upside.
#39. John Gaudrea -F- the little spark plug is really getting people to take notice of the year he is having. size will always be a big question mark, but heart and skill will not. the Flames could have one heck of a steal on their hands if this kid can find a way to make defenses look stupid most nights.
#40. Tyler Pitlick -F- I have been expecting a bit more from Tyler this year, but it is his first pro season, so growing pains are expected. he has solid skill and size where he could be a nice 2nd-3rd liner for the Oilers. he has plenty of time to grow as the Oilers are in no rush for his services.
#41. Brian Strait -D- you are not going to get a Phil Housley here, but you will get one of the more defensive responsible dmen out there. Strait is coming around nicely and looks to be ready for full time NHL duty next year.
#42. Cade Fairchild - D- a pleasent surprise this season for Peoria of the AHL. Cade looks like a pro every time I see him. very smooth and capable with the puck, he just adds to the Blues riches of young prospects. lots of young dmen up with the Blues might make it hard for him to crack soon, but I cant see him sitting in the AHL next year with continued play like this.
#43. Chase Balisy -F- a monster steal when he was selected in the 6th round of the 2010 draft. Balisy is the leader of the team at Western Michigan and he is showing off that skill that many of us saw so many years ago. he is still a but under weight, but he has plenty of time to bulk up. he should make it as a NHLer within the next 2 years imo.
#44. Blake Coleman -F- absolutely love the way Blake plays. has a lot of grit and edge to his game, while also contributing offensively. a diamond in the rough type player that the Devils jumped up on big time to get. looks to be another future top 9 forward for the Devils in 2-3 years.
#45. Zach Trotman -D- the big defender is having another monster year in college. he continually adds to his all around game and looks to be very capable with the puck as well. He has excellent size and grit and should make a solid pro next year.
#46. Ben Hanowski -F- Pittsburg did a great job snagging this kid up and it looks as if things are paying off for Ben. he is having a wonderful offensive campaign, and with solid NHL size and ability, I think the Pens found a heck of a player in Hanowski.
#47. Zack Redmond -D- having an awesome 1st season in the AHL, Redmond has gone from being the last pick in the draft, to one of the best young dmen in the AHL. his performance over the past 2 seasons has been amazing, and I likely should have him higher on my list. should earn NHL time next year at some point.
#48. Scott Mayfield -D- the young lanky dman is learning and bididng his time in his freshman campaign with Denver. looks to have all the tools to make it as a top 6 dman in the NHL, the Islanders are not going to rush him at all as he should spend at least 3 years in college imo.
#49. Chris Summers -D- silky smooth dman having a great year in the AHL/NHL. he is showing his skills at both levels and it is only a matter of time until he cracks the Coyotes top 6 for good. again I probably should have him a bit higher, but so many kids doing so well is making this list very hard to make.
#50. Reid Boucher -F- the Devils commited robbery when they got Reid in the 4th round, and he is proving that right with the solid year he is having with Sarnia this season in the OHL. a pure sniper without a doubt, Reid needs to work on his strength and position with being on the smaller side. he has an amazing offensive instinct that should lead him to the NHL in a few years.
#51 Nick Shore - F - Nick is turning into one heck of a player at Denver. Still might be in his brothers shadow, but his overall game has come around in the second half. Has solid size and skill to be a top 6 player in the NHL in a few years..
#52. Brian Dumoulin - D - Brian has evolved over the past few seasons to become a very capable two way defender. Though I doubt he will be a high end puck moving defensemen, he will be capable of putting up points and leading the rush which he has done for BC.
#53. Justin Florek - F - coming out of Northern Michigan, this big and skilled forward is already making a big name for himself in Providence. A player better suited for the pro game, Justin still has plenty to work on, but it wouldnt shock me to see him up with the Bruins in a brief capacity this year.
#54. Billy Arnold - F - went to college without a lot of fan fare. all the kid has done is score goals and provide scoring depth for BC. known for his physical play and defensive game, Billy has morphed into a very solid two way contributor.
#55. Andy Miele - F - the road will be hard to stick in the NHL for the former Red Hawk, but he has proven at the AHL level that he can hang with the bigger boys. If he can do that consistently at the NHL level remains the question, but Miele is worth keeping an eye on.
#56. Chris Brown - F - power forward that can play an in your face physical style and chip in offensively as well. One of the top performers on the 2011 US WJC team, Brown is a kid that could be a better pro then amateur.
#57. Ben Blood - D - Big and tough, Blood is a going to be a solid shutdown type dman that can chip in some timely offense. Skates well for a big man, but his bread and butter will be playing like a Brooks Orpik clone!
#58. Joseph LaBate - F - Big skilled forward that is having a fabulous freshman campaign at Wisconsin. The future is bright for LaBate who should utilize at least 3 years in college working on getting stronger and putting on weight to that 6'4 frame.
#59. Michael Mersch - F - the former USNDP member is having another great year at Wisconsin. Like LaBate I feel Mersch should stay another year to continue to work on his skating and strength. he is a top scorer and should be one of the better scorers in college hockey next year/
#60. Mario Lucia - F - There is so much to like with Lucia, but many of us are still waiting for him to head back to the states to show up. Currently tearing up the BCHL, Lucia will be at Notre Dame next fall where I think he will have the chance to be a top 6 player immediately/ Has size and skill to be a dominating player, time to show us.
THE UP AND COMERS -
these guys just missed the cut, but could be swapt out with certain playrs I am sure
Sean Kuraly - F- having a great year in the USHL, liked him a lot last year, the OHIO native is looking like a steal for the Sharks
Josh Birkholz -F- having a solid season in the WHL...not as highend as some others on the list
Robbie Czarnick -F- having a solid AHL start, looks to be a solid 2nd line to 3rd line player
T.J Tynan -F- small but extremely gifted...has tough battle ahead to crack the NHL
Brian Ferlin - F- love his game, size, and skill, cant wait to see him in college
Kenny Agostino - F- a big riser that plays the game with high end offensive ability..great player having a great year at Yale
Patrick Maroon -F- waiting for it to click with the big power forward, not sure if it ever will happen
Austin Smith -F- destroying college hockey has nothing left to prove, might get a shot with Dallas before the playoffs
Kyle Bigos - D- monster with attitude1 this kid crushes people. a lock for a pro as long as he continues working on his skating. Merrimack has a stud in Bigos
Nick Petrecki -D- still waiting for Nick to get his chance. it will come but patience is starting to wear a bit thin.
Corey Tropp -F- looking like a solid pro, likely 3rd line guy with some nice offensive upside
Patrick McNally -D- having great year in college, Vancouver must be excited with his development...likely 2 years away
T.J Brennan -D- almost his time in Buffalo. big, skilled, and nasty, this kid will be a pro
Mark ALt - D- finally a full time hockey player, kid is showing some highend ability. looks to be a great project here for the Canes
Austin Levi -D- having a great year, looks to be a solid shutdown dman in the making...turning pro after the season
Will Weber - D- monster shutdown dman that will be a solid pro in 2 years. nothing flashy but a safe bet to make it.
Phil Lane -F- power forward that needs to show more offensive skill. has the frame to be a solid pro.
Tommy Cross D - solid sized and skilled, Tommy is healthy again to be a solid player for the future. 2years away imo.
The even more up and comers!!
Teddy Ruth - D
Carter Camper - F
Andy Welinski - D
Seth Helgeson - D
Kyle Rau - F
Nick Mattson - D
Shane McColgan - F
Colin Jacobs - F
Michael Paliotta - D
Robbie Russo - D
Tommy Wingels - F
Justin Holl - D
John Ramage - D
Kenny Ryan - F
Joe Finley - D
Philip Samuelsson - D
Ryan Bourque - F
Connor Brickley - F
Patrick Wey - D
Taylor Aronson - D
Shane Harper - F
Mitchell Callahan - F
Aaron Ness - D
Austin Czarnick - F
Steve Quailer - F
David Warsofsky - D
David Wohlberg - F
A.J Jenks - F
Luke Walker - F
Colin Long - F
Blake Pietila - F
Steven Fogarty - F
Mike Reilly - D
Goalies are not included on this list, but the US does have some solid kids as well
1. Jack Campbell
2. John Gibson
3. Thomas McCullom
4. Jeremy Smith
5. Mac Carruth
6. Zane Gothberg
7. Matt Mahalak
8. Mike Lee
forgot about Alex Stalok, Jeff Frazze, Jeff Zatkoff
thats it, thats my list, thanks for reading and let the debate begin....
Last edited by AmericanDream: 04-12-2012 at 12:41 AM.
Reason: update to 60
first of all great list and great write up for all the players. Like you said in your write up about hiim i see chris krieder being a little higher up on this list. for me definately top 3 if not first overall. tinordi would be my first dman on this list but connor murphy has the potential to be a great player so good pck there. the rest of the list is great and would say there isnt many that are placed in the wrong spot. like the up and comers section. as a bruins fna i am extremely excited to see how brian ferlin develops. i see him developing into a little more skilled version of colin greening(cornell grad) which would be great if he got to that potential. goalies list is spot on IMO. great list. cant wait for the debate.
I think when It's all said and done, the top 3 will look like this
#1. Charlie Coyle - Great player, has a fantastic skillset, and will be given a very good opportunity to succeed in Minny.
#2. Chris Kreider - Great size, shot, hands, hockey IQ has gotten much better. Man among boys at the college level. Has proven himself at the international level as well being one of the top goal scorers for the US in the WJC.
#3. Nick Bjugstad - Very good size, I think he will be similar to Kreider. Just didnt impress me as much as Chris did at the WJC.
Great write-up. Though, the only player on this list I'd even think of taking over Kreider is Coyle. And until Kreider turns pro and we see what he has, I wouldn't give him up for Coyle at all. I also think Yogan @ 30 is way, way too high (just to show I am not being biased). I don't even know if I'd have him in the top 50 at all.
It's nice to see Saad finally starting to show he cares, too. He was disgracefully bad at the WJCs at times and dominant at other times. If the kid can realize his potential and give it his all each time out he can be a force. I've been hard on him (for good reason) and I'm sure his coaches have, too. Nice to see real progress there.
"Of course giving Sather cap space is like giving teenagers whiskey and car keys." - SBOB "Watching Sather build a team is like watching a blind man with no fingers trying to put together an elaborate puzzle." - Shadowtron
Sestito still on the make a wish tour. - rholt168
Merrill is a little low but that's to be expected after missing almost a whole year of development, and it's nice to see Reid Boucher and Blake Coleman get some recognition. One could even make a case for Blake Pietila as an honorable mention at the least.
good cathc. didnt even notice that. dumoline is definately at least top 15
I like Brian Dumoulin a lot, and he probably should be higher, but top 15 is a big stretch...he has come a long way, but like I said I did this pretty fast and I am sure if I really think about things there could be some changes....
unless I'm mistaken, I don't see Kyle Rau on your list; how come?
I like Kyle Rau a lot, but there is a big group of smaller players that I am just waiting to see how they perform at the AHL level. Rau, Miele and McColgan being the next ones after Tynan, Gaudreau, and Atkinson.