CHICAGO, IL – The Vegas Golden Knights first-rounder is getting his first taste of North America and it’s going very well. Learn about him and more NHL hopefuls in our weekly wrap.
It’s a big news week for prospects, starting with the OHL’s London Knights getting a couple gifts from the NHL. D-man Evan Bouchard and speedy Alex Formenton were returned from Edmonton and Ottawa, respectively, just in time for the CHL-Russia series. Both will suit up for Team OHL and I expect both to be key members of Canada’s world junior squad in December. Speaking of international play, the World Under-17 Challenge is on now and there’s a ton of talent there, including top 2020 draft prospects Quinton Byfield, Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond.
Finally, we have AHL Rockford coach Jeremy Colliton taking over for Joel Quenneville as bench boss of the Chicago Blackhawks. Colliton is just 33 years old, but he has quickly developed a good reputation behind the bench. With all that out of the way, let’s get to some of the hot names in the prospect world right now.
Erik Brannstrom, D, Chicago Wolves (AHL): Perhaps the most promising aspect of Brannstrom’s North American debut is his consistency: the Vegas Golden Knights pick has nine points in nine games, but has only been held off the scoresheet twice this season. Brannstrom is an ultra-skilled puckmover and a great playmaker. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Josh Norris, C, Michigan Wolverines (BigTen): The Ottawa Senators need some good news right now, so let’s shed some spotlight on Norris, one of the assets they picked up from San Jose in the Erik Karlsson trade. The athletic, two-way center has yet to be kept off the scoresheet this season and is tied for the conference lead with 12 points in seven games. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Filip Sveningsson, LW, Oskarshamn (Swe.): Skilled and competitive, Sveningsson has really broken out in his first year with second-rung Oskarshamn. The Calgary Flames pick has 15 points in 15 Allsvenskan games to lead all junior-aged scorers. The seventh-rounder had a couple SHL tastes with HV71 in previous years. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Stelio Mattheos, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL): I really liked Mattheos in Traverse City, as he showed a ton of hustle along with the skill we knew he possessed and he has certainly kept the party going. The Carolina Hurricanes pick has 28 points through 17 games for the Wheaties, while also doing well in the faceoff circle. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Connor McMichael, C, London Knights (OHL): It will be interesting to see how McMichael will be affected by the return of Formenton, as the 2019 draft prospect had been off to a great start. Playing with Nathan Dunkley and Matvey Guskov, McMichael has 15 points through 16 games thanks to some wicked skill and a knack for being in the right place to score. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Marcus Kallionkieli, LW, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL): One of the top goal-scorers in the league with 10 tallies in 10 games, Kallionkieli is playing on a massive line with Bobby Brink (2019) and Martin Pospisil (CGY). The 2019 draft prospect has good size and speed, plus he can really rip the puck. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Zachary Emond, G, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): The big netminder has really come into his own this season, rocking a .926 save percentage and 2.26 goals-against average for the first-place Huskies. Emond is a San Jose prospect and to date, he has gone a perfect 7-0 this season. NHL arrival: 2023-24
Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw Spirit (OHL): I don’t want to dive into the under-17s too much this week, but Perfetti had a sweet four-point night for Canada White in a 5-4 win over Canada Black to kick off their tournament. Perfetti, who is up for the 2020 draft, is a quick and dynamic center who is also putting up numbers as an OHL rookie with the Spirit. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Jachym Kondelik, C, UConn Huskies (Hockey East): Kondelik’s tools are obvious: a 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame and some sweet mitts to go with it. The freshman pivot has 10 assists in eight games, making him the only top-five scorer in the conference who doesn’t play for UMass. Kondelik is a Nashville Predators pick. NHL arrival: 2022-23
David Hrenak, G, St. Cloud State Huskies (NCHC): A perfect 5-0 so far this season, Hrenak is boasting a .940 save percentage and conference-best 1.40 goals-against average for the Huskies. The Los Angeles Kings pick is now an NCAA sophomore and will be key for a Huskies team with national championship aspirations. NHL arrival: 2022-23