Is Janne Kuokkanen the next Sebastian Aho?

Is Janne Kuokkanen the next Sebastian Aho?

Monday wrapped up my series of articles on the Hurricanes prospect pool. There is much to be optimistic and excited about, but perhaps the player rising most rapidly right now is Janne Kuokkanen. At the risk of overhyping Kuokkanen, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at the parallels between Kuokkanen’s development thus far and the path taken by fellow Fin Sebastian Aho.   Sebastian Aho With the 35th draft pick in the 2015 NHL draft, the Carolina Hurricanes selected Sebastian Aho. He was a bit off the board in terms of the mean draft rankings and also a bit of an unknown being a European prospect. In fact, the first step in the process of welcoming Aho into the Hurricanes prospect pool was clarifying that the Sebastian Aho in question was the forward from Finland and not the defenseman from Sweden. When the Hurricanes passed on a handful of bigger names, bigger players in terms of size and more well-known players from North America, there was a mini-uproar on Twitter from many of the June draft experts who had Aho nowhere to be found at least this early in the mock drafts. Aho first arrived in Raleigh for the 2015 Carolina Hurricanes prospect camp. He had a strong week but not really anything that screamed “super star…and very soon.” While some were still transitioning from whoever it was they thought Francis should have selected instead of Aho at #35, I rated his play at prospect camp top of the class in this article that was one of Canes and Coffee’s first on our July 29, 2015 official...
Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3A: Forwards (#1-5)

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3A: Forwards (#1-5)

After a delay while covering the news of Brett Pesce’s contract extension (‘Initial thoughts’ are HERE, and ‘A second level of detail is HERE.), today’s Daily Cup of Joe is part 3A of a series assessing and ranking the Hurricanes prospects. Part 1 featured the five goalie prospects, and part 2 assessed the 15 defensemen in the Hurricanes organization. Part 3A today starts into the sizable group of prospect and AHL veteran forwards. So I can discuss at least the top half of the group in some detail without writing a novel, the forwards will be split into a couple parts.   Forwards Whereas the Hurricanes blue line prospect pool has a couple good high-end prospects but is actually a bit thin simply because so many young players have already jumped to the NHL level (which is obviously the goal, so that is a good thing), I would say that Francis’ restocking of the prospect pool is complete at the forward position. My rough count is 9 forwards who are capable of playing in the top half of an NHL roster and a good mix of centers and wings, size and speed, and skill and size. At the NHL level, I think the Hurricanes current strength is its young defense, but one level lower in the prospect pool I think the greatest strength is at the forward position. Without further ado, here are the top 5 forward prospect rankings…   Prospects with top half of the roster potential and scoring upside #1 – Julien Gauthier (Charlotte Checkers-AHL) Gauthier (Article log HERE) is nearly in a class by himself in...
Hurricanes Prospect Power Rankings: TL;DR…It was a real good week

Hurricanes Prospect Power Rankings: TL;DR…It was a real good week

Thursday at Canes and Coffee is taking on a “the future is bright” theme. Check out also part 1 of Jordan Futrell’s Charlotte Checkers playoff series preview HERE, and come back and look for part 2 mid-day on Thursday. If you haven’t already, please help us prepare for the 2017-18 season by completing a short survey and considering a modest financial contribution.   I love nerding out on hockey. It’s just such a fun sport any way you look at it. Especially when the statistical research shows how awesome the Hurricanes prospect pool is right now. The number of prospects in this week’s Power Rankings has dropped to nine (bye, Jake Bean). Trying to rank the Top 5 this week was especially problematic, as multiple Hurricanes prospects decided to step up their games in the last week, and really deliver for their teams in the playoffs. Suffice it to say, that’s a very good problem to have. Let’s get to it:   1. Janne Kuokkanen – London Knights (Last week #3) 10 Goals – 6 Assists – 16 Points in 14 games London was just eliminated by Warren Foegele and the Erie Otters (more on that below), but there is no way London pushes this series to 7 games without Kuokkanen. He carried London’s offense throughout the playoffs, finishing with three more goals and four more points than the 2nd highest Knight. He was also a finalist for OHL Player of the Week. Breaking News: As I’m posting this, the Checkers have added Kuokkanen to the playoff roster. I believe he’s still CHL-bound next year, but as London is done,...
Hurricanes Prospect Update: Top 10 Canadian Juniors Playoff Performances

Hurricanes Prospect Update: Top 10 Canadian Juniors Playoff Performances

For “playoff day” at Canes and Coffee, please also check out Jordan Futrell’s update on the Checkers’ playoff chase and Matt Karash’s Canes NHL playoff guide featuring draft pick implications and a roundup of former Hurricanes players in the NHL postseason.   I don’t know about you all, but I’m not at all ready for hockey to be done. Luckily in addition to our surging AHL team, Canes nation still has 10 prospects still active up in Canadian juniors, where the playoffs are in full swing. I was initially going to include the college prospects too, but wouldn’t you know it, not a single Canes college prospect made the NCAA tournament. Not even David Cotton’s Boston College and they are usually disgustingly consistent like that. Still, entirely for the purposes of this article, this is a good thing, because now I can easily format this Hurricanes prospect playoff update into a convenient Top 10 list. RANDOM SLIGHTLY UNRELATED BREAKING NEWS There’s the first move. Ron Francis says that David Marcoux’s contract will not be renewed. #Canes — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) April 12, 2017 So let’s not draw this out: Here’s how the Hurricanes’ Canadian juniors prospects are faring with the lights glaring, ranked entirely on my subjective statistical analysis.   1. Steven Lorentz – Peterborough Petes 6 Goals – 4 Assists – 10 Points in 7 games. Yeah, this wasn’t the first name you expected to see on this list, was it? Well, Lorentz has been the top scorer for a Peterborough team that hasn’t lost yet. They swept Niagara in Round 1 of the OHL playoffs and...
MIDTERMS: Janne Kuokkanen (London Knights, Ontario Hockey League)

MIDTERMS: Janne Kuokkanen (London Knights, Ontario Hockey League)

Janne Kuokkanen 2016-17 season capsule After being drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the 2016 NHL draft, Janne Kuokkanen made the jump from Finland where he played in 2015-16 to North America. Kuokkanen is a natural center with some versatility to play wing. Thus far, he has 19 goals and 30 assists in 40 games in his first season in the OHL and also took a break to play for Finland in the world juniors tourney.   Mid-season thoughts on Janne Kuokkanen from Brendan Ross from TheScout.ca Brendan Ross (Twitter=@RossyYoungblood) currently serves as the Director of Scouting for TheScout.ca (Twitter=@TheScoutDotCa), an independent scouting agency covering hockey prospects. Throughout his career, Ross has penned NHL Draft feature articles, published annual rankings and appeared on radio talk shows such as FAN590 and TSN1200. Canes and Coffee: What were your first impressions of Janne Kuokkanen after seeing him in his first few games of OHL action with the London Knights this fall? Brendan Ross: I was fortunate to catch Kuokkanen in some pre-season contests and immediately felt that he’d come in and challenge for the OHL scoring lead. While my expectations have been pulled back now, Kuokkenen has been very impressive in his first season with the London Knights. He is a strong two-way player who has been utilized in all situations. A competitive forward, who thinks the game well and adjusts well depending on the style of game – operating with more skill when the game opens up and tightening up his defensive play when the game gets close. Canes and Coffee: What is Janne Kuokkanen’s current role on...