50 Most Exciting Prospects in Hockey Who Won't Be in the NHL in 2012-13
The 2012-13 NHL season has the potential to showcase a ton of talented NHL players and future stars like Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Chris Kreider, Mikael Grandlund, Vladimir Tarasenko and various others.
However, there are a ton of prospects that are still in the process of developing, so their odds of appearing in the NHL during the 2012-13 are slim to none.
Here are the 50 most exciting prospects who won't be sticking in the NHL in 2012-13 for a full season.
Mika Zibanejad is a strong center, and he has the potential to become an above-average power forward because of his soft hands and his great scoring touch.
He also is a great skater with good on-ice vision, and he isn't afraid to get physical when necessary.
Last season, Zibanejad played for Djurgårdens IF of the Swedish Elite League (SEL). He will start off the season with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL and a year in the minors would be good for his development.
Zibanejad is going to fit in with the Ottawa Senators, as he is an aggressive puck handler, and he will fit in with other players like Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris.
Tyler Toffoli is an offensive-minded player who has posted multiple 100-point seasons for the Ottawa 67's of the OHL. He was selected by the Los Angles Kings during the 2010 draft.
Toffoli is a player who has solid skills, but he is about one year away from hitting the NHL level.
Toffoli's minor flaw is his skating ability, but once he improves that, he will become an impact player for the Kings for years to come.
Calvin de Haan
Calvin de Haan is a New York Islanders defensive prospect who has slid down the charts in recent years. He is 21 years old, and it appears that he will likely play in the AHL for another season so he can continue to develop.
The Isles don't want to rush him and hinder his development, so letting him develop is the best course of action. Most defenders aren't completely NHL ready until 21/22, so although de Haan is in that range, there is no rush.
He will be a part of a promising core of players, including Griffin Reinhart.
Jack Campbell is a goaltender who could be a true star for the Dallas Stars. He has been on display on the world circuit as a member of Team USA, and he has shown that he could be in the NHL in a few years.
Campbell is an athletic goaltender with great reflexes and poise. He also comes up big in crucial games and is a netminder who can be counted on when the game is on the line.
Ty Rattie is a rugged and physical forward who plays in the dirty areas of the ice. He maintains a physical presence while on the ice and plays a game similar to Ryan Callahan, but he is more offensive-minded.
He has been developing in the WHL the past few seasons and has produced at an amazing rate. Rattie is only 19, so expect him to spend another year or two with the Portland Winterhawks before he makes the jump to the NHL level.
Oscar Klefbom is a defenseman who has a good offensive game. He was on the small side, but has increased in size since he was drafted.
If Klefbom can become a bit more seasoned and can complete his game, he can be a dual threat and a future power-play quarterback who's be comfortable unleashing his shot from anywhere.
He is a solid prospect and a nice diamond in the rough for a rebuilding Oilers squad with tons of young talent.
Johan Larsson is a young two-way forward who will make an impact with the Minnesota Wild very soon. He will join a cast of young players like Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Grandlund and will be a key player in the team's youth movement.
Larsson has played overseas in Sweden and has also represented his country in international tournaments.
Larsson could be a diamond in the rough and could really pan out for the Wild once he makes the jump overseas in a few years.
Had the Colorado Avalanche not dealt this pick in a trade for RFA Semyon Varlamov, they would have had the chance to add another dynamic player with the surname of Forsberg.
While Filip may not be Peter, the younger Forsberg is a solid two-way winger who was drafted later than expected this year.
Forsberg will be a solid pick for the Washington Capitals because of his versatility. He plays both wings, has a good-sized frame and has impressive speed and hands.
He is a player who really could make an impact in Washington in a few years.
Vladislav Namestnikov had a solid sophomore season in the OHL and is likely headed for a third year in the league. The Russian forward played in three less games than the year before, but he had three more points.
Namestnikov led the Knights with 49 assists, was second on the team with 71 points and finished with above a point-per-game average.
He has been touted as a solid two-way player with a great wrist shot who will continue to develop in the OHL before cracking the Tampa Bay Lightning's roster.
Robin Lehner is a promising young goaltender with solid size. He has good lateral movement and uses his frame to challenge shooters from all angles. This allows him to size up well against shooters from different positions on the ice.
He is a butterfly goalie who could improve his puck handling and rebound control, but he is definitely a player who will be starting in net for the Senators by 2013-14.
The Anaheim Ducks are going to really be loaded in the next few years after their impact player prospects hit the scene. Rickard Rakell is one of those players.
Rakell is a talented and creative forward who has good hands and stick skills. He is still a little raw, but a few more years in development will allow him to round out his game.
Rakell made the adjustment from the wing to center seamlessly, so he can play anywhere at the forward position, and that is a plus for Anaheim.
Overall, this two-way forward may not be in the NHL in 2012-13, but 2013-14 is not out of the question if he works really hard.
Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is a natural power-play quarterback who moves the pick with accuracy and ease. His speed helps to complement his great skating abilities.
Beaulieu will only get better with age in experience, but he has proved up to this point that he deserves to be a top draft pick.
The Montreal Canadiens are looking to add some youth to their defense corp, and Beaulieu will help them accomplish that.
Alex Galchenyuk is a Montreal Canadiens prospect who has tons of potential. A knee injury limited his regular season action, but he is a solid goal scorer with speed and offensive skill.
He's going to be a piece that the Canadiens will continue to build around, and the franchise is in for some better days when he hits the NHL level.
Galchenyuk is dying to prove that he is a healthy player. Look for him to be a future Calder Trophy candidate.
David Rundblad is an offensive-minded defenseman with very good size and puck skills.
He handles the puck with ease and is very confident in his ability and positioning. He is also a great passer who finds his teammates with ease, and he loves to throw his body around.
By the time 2013-14 rolls around, Runblad will be a solid two-way defender who will fill the niche of being a power-play quarterback for the Phoenix Coyotes.
J.T. Miller was a pick that turned heads for some at the 2011 draft. But now, he is starting to look like a steal.
Miller plays with some grit in his game and has a good shot. He is a decent passer, and he plays well in his own zone. Miller also plays both the wing and center, so he has the ability to be a creative playmaker and a solid two-way player.
Miller should be in the AHL this season because there is nothing more he can really learn at the juniors level. Then, after a full year with the Whale, Miller will be lighting it up on Broadway.
Ryan Murphy is a top defenseman prospect for the Carolina Hurricanes. He has a lot of tools that make him a great two-way defenseman. He's also a solid puck mover and has the ability to successfully quarterback a power play.
His pinpoint-passing accuracy makes him a dual threat on both sides of the ice. Watch out and don't blink, because you just might miss Ryan Murphy.
Joseph Morrow is a solid puck-moving defender who had 17 goals and 47 assists for a total of 64 points last season.
Morrow's strengths are his passing and skating abilities, which make him a dual threat on both sides of the ice.
Pittsburgh drafted Morrow's current defense partner, Derrick Pouliott, in the first round of the 2012 draft so the two can continue to become a cohesive unit.
Morrow likely could start the season in the AHL and it will be interesting to see if he will be promoted if he progresses as planned.
Bjugstad Bjugstad is a top center prospect for the Florida Panthers. He is an NCAA player who made his decision to stay in the NCAA for at least one more season, so the Panther faithful may have to wait until 2013-14 at the earliest.
Bjugstad was considered a top-25 prospect in The Hockey News' "Future Watch" issue.
He is a two-way forward who is smart in his own end but can also chip in secondary offense. The Panthers' future is bright when you look at the center depth with Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau.
Tomas Hertl is a young and talented play-making forward.
He is from the Czech Republic, and he will have to convert to playing a North American style of hockey before he can have a major impact with the Sharks.
Right now, San Jose is in a win-now mode, as their top stars are not getting any younger. It would be wise to giver Hertl the time he needs so he can make an impact in the right way.
Joel Armia is a soft-handed sniper with a big skill set, great legs and impressive wheels.
The Buffalo winger is a great two-way player with good vision and a laser-quick wrist shot. He loves to dig it out below the hash marks in the trenches and shows he can play with skill in both ends.
Armia has a bright future and will fit in well with the Sabres in 2013-14.
Ryan Strome is a talented player who will be playing for the Islanders in a little over a year. He is a speedy forward with great vision, and he will fit in with a core that includes John Tavares.
Strome had a shortened season with the Niagara Ice Dogs last season, and he will look to fine-tune his skills during this upcoming season.
Charlie Coyle is a forward with solid size and a good work ethic. He started the year with Boston University and then dropped out and joined the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL.
Coyle was a major contributor for the Sea Dogs, especially during the playoffs. He has 38 points in 23 regular season games and 34 points during 17 playoff games.
Coyle is a top prospect in the league, and after another year with the Sea Dogs, he will be ready to take things to the next level in the NHL.
Mark Scheifele is quickly becoming a player that fans can't wait to see full time. The Winnipeg Jets sent Scheifele back to Juniors instead of keeping him for an entire season.
Scheifele is a playmaker with skilled and agile hands. His speed and legs are essential to his game. He is also a smart, two-way forward and has the makings of becoming a dominant power forward in the NHL.
The return to Juniors certainly paid off, because he recorded 63 points in only 47 games. After another year in Juniors, Scheifele will be NHL-ready, and he will make a significant impact.
The Phoenix Coyotes are a team with quite a future when you consider the defensemen they have on their current squad and in the system.
Brandon Gormley was ranked No. 10 in The Hockey News' top 50, and he was No. 2 among defenseman.
Standing 6'1" and weighing 185 pounds, Gormley is a midsized defenseman whose strengths include his shot, poise and his puck play. Gormley is an offensive-minded defenseman, but he is also very sound in his own zone.
He is a player who could be a surprise after training camp, but another year of development would pay off for him.
Evgeny Kuznetsov is one of hockey's top prospects not in the NHL.
He is a skilled center and has been an outstanding player who shines during international competition. This includes he contributions during Russia's comeback in the gold-medal game of the WJHC in 2011, their silver-medal finish in 2012 and gold-medal finish at the World Championships this year.
Skills-wise, Kuznetsov is a speedy skater who will be working alongside Ovechkin and company in a few years.
He was paired with players like Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin at the World Championship, and it was evident that this kid would be a star because he has the tools to play with almost any linemate.
The only question surrounding Kuznetsov is when he will make it to the NHL, because he is currently content in the KHL with his young wife in his home country.
Cody Eakin was traded to the Dallas Stars in a deal that sent Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals. Eakin is a solid center prospect with offensive skills and solid speed.
The trade at first seemed to be one-sided, but Eakin has the potential to be a solid top-six performer.
He needs to develop more to become a complete player and likely will not crack the starting lineup in Dallas until 2013-14.
Jacob Trouba was one of the better defenseman in the 2011-12 draft, and the Winnipeg Jets were wise to select him when they did. He will take some time to develop, but when all is said and done, it will really pay off for the Jets and their blue line.
Trouba will become a solid cornerstone piece for the Jets' blue line, and he will fit in with players like Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien.
Jonas Brodin is a very solid skater and mobile player. His ability to skate with the puck and move it quickly is a plus, and it will really be a benefit for Minnesota in the future.
Brodin is one of the Wild's top defensive prospects, and after another year or two, he will be patrolling the Minnesota blue line.
Mathew Dumba is a solid defensive prospect for the Minnesota Wild, and he will eventually make the jump to the NHL level.
Dumba has a booming shot and is a mobile defenseman who will really fit in with the current core of defenders that the Wild have on board.
He is a few years away from hitting the NHL level, but when he does make an impact, it will really pay off for Minnesota.
Radek Faksa is a very talented and determined player. He left home at a young age to pursue his dream of becoming a professional hockey player, and it really paid off. Faksa has tons of offensive skill, and he will make his impact with the Dallas Stars very soon.
Had the Stars not made the moves they did this summer, Faksa likely could have stepped in for the traded Mike Ribeiro.
Faksa will take a year to develop, but it will pay off in the long run, because he has the skills required to succeed at the NHL level.
Teuvo Teravainen will go down in the history books as one of the biggest draft steals in NHL history.
He is a player who will make his impact known very soon.
Teravainen has the speed, skills and shot to make an impact with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013-14, and he could step into a top-six role.
In Chicago, Terravainen will be surrounded by a skilled and experienced group of players. That will ultimately make the transition that much easier for him.
Griffin Reinhart has been described as the next Shea Weber, partially because the defender models his game after Weber.
Reinhart has a booming shot and tons of skill, but it will be at least another year before he enters the NHL.
If the Islanders threw him into the fire next season, it would be a huge mistake. Defenseman generally develop at a slower rate opposed to forwards, so giving Reinhart the time to emerge into the player he could be would be the smartest thing to do.
Calle Jarnkrok is a solid playmaker with offensive skill. He fits in line with players the Detroit Red Wings have drafted in the past.
Jarnkrok was a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and is a few years away from the NHL. He is still playing overseas and is developing.
Jarnkrok's biggest assets are his puck control and his ability to move around the ice and find open teammates.
He is a player who could become a solid pivot for the Red Wings in a few years.
Olli Maatta is a solid player who needs one more year developing before he can hit the NHL level.
Maatta highlights a Penguins prospect group that is chock-full of defenseman. He was a steal at 22nd overall and will really have an impact in Pittsburgh.
Maatta is a solid all-around defender, and he will join a very deep defensive prospect core in Pittsburgh.
Malcolm Subban could become the starting goaltender for the Boston Bruins very soon. Tuukka Rask will adjust to life as the No. 1 man in town for the time being, but there are no guarantees on what will happen a few years from now.
Subban has the skills, so the Bruins will likely be patient during his development. He is a player who could hit the NHL level in 2015-16.
The New York Rangers have done a great job developing defenseman such as Marc Staal, Michael Sauer, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto up to this point.
With Dylan McIlrath the only top defenseman in the pipeline after the departure of Tim Erixon, Brady Skjei has some easy competition. But he has the skills needed to be a solid NHL defenseman.
Skjei is a skilled skater and a solid puck-moving defenseman who could hit the NHL level in 2013-14 or 2014-15 at the latest.
The third time was the charm for Tanner Pearson, as he was selected by the L.A. Kings 30th overall after being skipped over in both the 2010 and 2011 NHL drafts.
Pearson impressed scouts with his improved play as a member of the Barrie Colts. He also came up big for Canada during international play.
Pearson should be a full-fledged NHL player no later than the start of the 2013-14 regular season.
Zac Dalpe is a solid center with a good shot. He has bounced between the NHL and minors twice, but many players have done that in the past.
Dalpe scored 18 goals and had 13 assists for 31 points in 56 games.
He is a talented player and could see some playing time in 2013-14 when you consider the new depth of the Hurricanes. This will give Dalpe another year to develop his craft, and he will become a better player for it.
Jamieson Oleksiak stands at an impressive 6'7" and weighs over 240 lbs.
He is a big guy and could be compared to players like Zdeno Chara and Tyler Myers because of his sheer size.
Oleksiak needs a bit more time to develop his abilities before he can hit the NHL level.
He will need to develop more in order to become a solid NHL player, but his size and shot gives him an immediate advantage. In 2014-15, Oleksiak should be a full fledged NHL player.
Mark McNeill possesses hockey knowledge and skills that aren't taught. He has a great hockey IQ and is a creative playmaker who will be a Chicago Blackhawk in no time.
McNeil is at his most dangerous in close quarters inside the slot when he uses his body to his advantage. His quick hands allow him to get off a quick shot.
He has had two solid WHL seasons, and he will likely return to the WHL in order to string another successful season together before he hits the NHL.
Zach Phillips is a Minnesota Wild prospect with a ton of potential. He could make the jump to the NHL level in 2013-14.
Phillips is a solid center who has been a solid contributor the past few seasons. After contributing 95 points in 2010-11, Phillips added tallied 80 points in 2011-12 and 32 points in 17 playoff games.
Zack Phillips has a high hockey IQ and is very talented. He is only going to get faster and better as he grows in an NHL system.
Hampus Lindholm was a surprise pick in the first round of the NHL draft, but he is a solid Swedish defender who will pan out in a few seasons.
He isn't expected to make the jump to North America right away, but when he does, he will become a fixture on the Anaheim blue line.
Lindholm has some developing to do, but when he does make the jump, his impact on the Anaheim Ducks will be very significant.
Brendan Gallagher, a prospect in the Montreal Canadiens system, has impressed the past few seasons. For three straight years, the talented and skilled winger has scored 40 goals or more.
Gallagher was a fifth-round draft pick, and he has really panned out so far. He may be on the small side (5"8' and 179 lbs), but he has a lot of spark and tenacity. That also explains his 200-plus penalty minutes over the past few seasons.
No matter how you slice it, Gallagher is a player who can be an impact player soon with the Canadiens.
Cody Ceci was a hometown pick by the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the 2012 draft.
This young defenseman is currently a member of the Ottawa 67's, but he likely will crack the Senators roster during the 2013-14 or 2014-15 season.
Ceci is an offensive-minded defenseman who will fit well into a defense core that is being built around Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson. Another few years and Ceci is a player who could really help the Sens on their blue line.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevski was drafted in the first round by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 KHL junior draft. He is the future of the team.
Vasilevski has solid size, which allows him to take up a solid part of the net.
He had an impressive performance with Russia at the 2012 World Junior Championships and almost led the team to gold.
As Vasilevski grows and develops as a goaltender, the Lightning will flourish into a solid team as well. Expect him to join Tampa Bay between 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Emerson Etem is one of the Anaheim Ducks' top prospects. He has lit it up at the WHL level the past three seasons, including 61 goals and over 100 points in 2011-12.
Although he is probably NHL-ready, a year in the AHL is likely in the cards for Etem. Though his offensive acumen and skating abilities are up to par, it would benefit Etem to adjust to the speed and style of the NHL by spending some time at the AHL level, where the game is more structured and defensive than the WHL.
If Etem can develop his defense some more, he can become a player who will really fit in the NHL and the Anaheim Ducks system.
Slater Koekkoek was one of the many defenseman who were drafted early in the first round of the 2012 NHL entry draft.
Koekkoek is a defender with loads of upside and potential. He has a booming shot that is hard and very accurate. He also has a good hockey sense and could flourish into a solid puck moving defenseman.
Although Koekkoek is a few years away from hitting the NHL level, he is a solid prospect, and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was definitely thinking ahead when he decided to draft him.
The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Derrick Pouliot in the first round of the 2012 draft, which made tons of sense considering that the team drafted his Portland Winterhawks partner, Joseph Morrow, the year before.
Completing the Portland Winterhawks pairing was a smart move by Ray Shero, because the two will develop solid chemistry in the WHL that can translate to the NHL level. Expect Pouliot to make the team between 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Jon Merrill is a two-way defender who is going to spend another year in the NCAA, so he likely will crack the roster in 2013-14.
He has the size to flatten opponents that infringe on Martin Brodeur's crease space and will benefit from spending another year at Michigan.
Merrill can benefit from a growing defensive core that includes 2011 draft pick Adam Larsson.
He stands at 6'3" and will become a force to be reckoned with in due time.
Tomas Jurco has some impressive puck-handling skills. He is going to have a big impact once he hits the NHL level in 2013-14.
Jurco's most impressive attribute—other than his puck handling—is his speed, which allowed him to register 68 points in 48 games. He also had 29 points in 16 games.
Jurco will really fit in with the Detroit Red Wings considering the talent they already have on the roster.