This week, I happened upon two good reads on the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pool.
First, from the local scene, Matt Somma at CBTS posted his rankings for the team’s sub-AHL prospects.
Then the Hurricanes prospect pool landed at #4 overall in The Athletic’s rankings by Corey Pronman (subscription required). What separates Corey from the pack is that he is one of the few ‘sources’ for prospect rankings who evaluates and ranks the players by watching them regularly not just from researching them. Despite the fact that The Athletic is still minus a Carolina Hurricanes beat writer, I still recommend it highly for NHL reading.
As such, today’s Daily Cup of Joe tours Corey’s article briefly and matches them against my viewpoint on some of these players.
Lack of top-end talent
To no one’s surprise, Pronman had Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas in the upper tiers of his prospect categories. But below that, Pronman included no one in the fourth tier that was the bottom tier for top half of the roster players (top 6 forwards, top 4 defensemen and starting goalies). He did have five players in the next tier, so he has a few players at the edge of being difference-makers.
Similar and different on the blue line
After the Hurricanes prospect camp, I bumped newcomer Adam Fox to the top of my list for defenseman above first-rounder Jake Bean. Pronman and others are similarly softening on their optimism for Jake Bean just like I did almost from the beginning. To be clear, Jake Bean still has high-end potential, but he continues to be roughly average for his age group defensively, and that will not be good enough to fill more than a niche role at the NHL level. The watch point on him continues to be the defensive side of the puck. In a departure from draft pedigree and most other rankings, Luke Martin surprisingly did not even crack Pronman’s top 25 for the team.
Lack of college entries
Other than newcomers Adam Fox and Jack Drury, none of the other NCAA group of the Hurricanes prospect pool made the top 25 cut. The group of ‘big kids who can skate’ forwards are currently on the outside looking in in terms of NHL potential.
Higher and lower than consensus
A couple players that stand out as being rated higher or lower than where they appear in other similar rankings…
Nicolas Roy: Pronman is very high on his size, all-around game and NHL potential.
Luke Martin: As noted above, unless his omission was an ‘oops’, not cracking the top 25 is surprising.
Warren Foegele: Foegele rates only middle of the pack below a couple of higher ceiling players who he theoretically passed with a strong 2017-18 season in the AHL.
Valentin Zykov: Pronman is not particularly high on him because of his skating. This one will be interesting to watch unfold. First, he has made some gains in terms of skating technique, general mobility and straight line speed, so some of the issues are at least partly historical. Maybe more significantly, he showed in a full season in the AHL and also a short NHL audition that he had what it took to produce offensively in spite of whatever limitations he might have.
Roland McKeown: He is another defenseman who sank relative to most other rankings making the defensive side of the puck a weakness for the prospect pool.
What say you Canes fans?
1) For those who have access to The Athletic article, what was the greatest difference relative to your previous perceptions/rankings of the Hurricanes prospects?
2) On which prospect (or two maybe) do you think Pronman missed the most in your unprofessional opinion?