It may be August, but we’ve had a lot of good prospect events come around thanks to the World Junior Summer Showcase and the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament. That meant a gathering of top under-20s and under-18s at a time when not a lot else was going on. So it’s time for a summer Prospect NTK.
One note about the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament that a couple folks have asked me about: Team USA does not send players from the National Team Development Program to this tournament (which was known as the Ivan Hlinka before this year). That’s why Jack Hughes isn’t there, nor Spencer Knight. USA Hockey has historically used the tourney to give kids from the USHL, prep schools or major junior a chance to wear the Stars and Stripes.
And one note about this list: I’m affiliating players with the teams they are expected to play for this fall, even if some of them haven’t got there yet - it just seems more accurate, given we’re at a weird time of year. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the kids making noise right now.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, Sudbury Wolves (OHL): This is a big deal for Sudbury. The Wolves needed a big talent injection after getting Quinton Byfield first overall in the draft and Luukkonen can really help. He only recently committed to the Wolves, but the big and talented Buffalo Sabres draft pick has the potential to be a star in the OHL. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Isac Lundestrom, C, Skelleftea (SHL): I was floored when the Anaheim Ducks got Lundestrom 23rd overall this summer - I figured another team ahead of them would have been smart enough to snap up the talented two-way center. Based on his performance at the WJSS, Lundestrom is already causing rumblings that he could make the NHL roster right away and even if he doesn’t, look for him to crush the world juniors in Vancouver. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Peyton Krebs, LW, Kootenay Ice (WHL): A smart and skilled playmaker with high-end vision, Krebs is the key piece in Kootenay’s rebuild and he should put up big numbers for the ice in his draft year. He certainly got his Hlinka tournament off on the right foot, pacing Canada with two goals and an assist in an opening demolition of Switzerland. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Spokane Chiefs (WHL): A standout for Canada at the WJSS, Anderson-Dolan got a lot of praise from coach Tim Hunter for coming to camp ready to work and contribute anyway he could. The Los Angeles Kings second-rounder has always been a two-way player and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him hit the 100-point mark with the Chiefs this season. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA-1946 (Rus.): One of the top Russian talents available in the 2019 draft, Podkolzin has that alluring combination of speed, skill and strength that makes him a load to handle when he has the puck. Finland couldn’t slow him down at the Hlinka, as Podkolzin threw up a goal and two assists in a 7-2 smashing. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Quinn Hughes, D, University of Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten): One of the best aspects of the WJSS was the fact Quinn and younger brother Jack Hughes got to play together. Since Quinn is a Vancouver pick and Jack is slated to go first overall in 2019, only Canucks fans can really cheer for a reunion. Nonetheless, Quinn will return to Michigan this fall, where he will surely be one of the most dynamic players in the NCAA and a Hobey Baker threat. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Grant Silianoff, LW, Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL): Silianoff had a great Hlinka debut, popping in a goal and three assists against the Czechs. The 2019 draft prospect spent most of last season with fabled prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s, but did see a couple games with Cedar Rapids. His speed, skill and two-way ability make the Notre Dame commit one to watch. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Joel Farabee, LW, Boston University Terriers (Hockey East): Another standout at the WJSS, Farabee showed off an array of skills with Team USA. The Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder has a high motor and nice offensive talent, but the fact he can kill penalties and contribute all over the ice makes him even more valuable. He’ll be an NCAA freshman with the Terriers this fall. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Swe.): Here’s an intriguing player: Broberg put himself on the map with two goals - including a Bobby Orr-style flyer - in his Hlinka debut for Sweden and he did so from the back end. A 6-foot-3 blueliner with reach and mobility, he didn’t have much offense in his game until last season. It’ll be fun to see what he can do with AIK in his draft year. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie Colts (OHL): Like many Canadians, Suzuki scored against Switzerland in the Hlinka opener. Expect this to be a trend for him in the regular season, too, as the 2019 draft prospect takes on a much larger role with a Barrie team that loses its entire top line (I’m assuming Andrei Svechnikov is in the NHL) and could use the quick and talented Suzuki to help fill the void. NHL arrival: 2020-21