Skip to main content

Top 15 Players from the NHL Prospect Tournaments

With training camps around the corner, NHL teams took part in various prospect tournaments across the league over the weekend. Here's a look at some of the top performers.
Jamie Drysdale

The past week was great if you're a fan of hockey prospects.

Whether it be Buffalo, Traverse City, Minnesota or beyond, many NHL organizations hosted annual prospect showcases before getting ready for training camp. For many players, it was the first chance they had to don their new uniforms and impress the management brass that drafted them in the first place. For others, it was a chance to further themselves up the radar as unsigned prospects and hopefully earn opportunities down the road.

Here's a look at 15 of the top prospects from the various tournaments over the past week, with honorable mentions to a few others:

Yegor Chinakhov, RW (Columbus)
When the Blue Jackets drafted Chinakhov in the first round in 2020, many scouts didn't even know who he was. But since then, Chinakhov has put everyone on notice. He led the Traverse City Prospect Tournament with six goals in three games, including three on the man advantage – a situation he always thrives in. His shooting percentage of 46 was the best among forwards with at least five shots and even when he wasn't scoring, he was making some smart decisions with the puck.

Cole Sillinger, C (Columbus)
With two goals and five points in three games, Sillinger lived up to the hype since becoming a first-round pick by the Blue Jackets earlier this summer. The big forward had three points in a 5-3 win against Dallas on Friday and further cemented himself as one of the top prospects in the organization. Could Sillinger end up making the Blue Jackets out of camp? That's not a crazy thought right now. 

Dylan Guenther, RW (Arizona)
What a steal Guenther is going to end up being for Arizona. Not because of his talent – he was a projected top-10 pick all year – but because the Coyotes were able to swing a last-minute deal to select Guenther in the first place. Guenther is a goal-scorer, and his wrister against Vegas was one of the highlights of the tournament. He had two goals against the Golden Knights and showed off what he can moving the puck with an assist on Matias Maccelli's goal late against Anaheim on Monday. Can Guenther make the Coyotes this year? Might be worth betting on.

Scott Perunovich, D (St. Louis)
With five points in three games, Perunovich was everything the Blues were looking for. Perunovich, a contender to make the Blues out of camp, put his passing abilities on showcase, highlighted by a couple of primary assists throughout the event. Perunovich is a mobile defender that can put up tremendous numbers, as shown by his 40-point campaign en route to winning the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA player in 2019-20. Perunovich didn't play anywhere last season, so this camp was a great showing for him.

Dawson Mercer, RW (New Jersey)
The 18th pick in the 2020 draft, Mercer played some of the best hockey of his career in Buffalo over the weekend. Mercer had three points on Sunday and was generally one of the better all-around players for the Devils, specifically showing off his improved defensive play. It's going to be hard to keep Mercer off the opening-night lineup for the Devils.

Jacob Christiansen, D (Columbus)
An undrafted free agent signing by the Blue Jackets in March of 2020, the expectations weren't that high for the 21-year-old defenseman. But he instead tied for fifth in tournament scoring with five points, all assists (first in the tournament). His passing was superb, he had a couple of aggressive stick-check plays and was sensible when handling the puck out of his own zone. Christiansen will return to the AHL for a second season, but his rookie campaign was strong enough to thrust the offensive defender into a potential call-up role this season.

Alex Holtz, LW (New Jersey)
The Devils had a number of strong performances from rookies, but it was great getting to see what Holtz can do wearing an NHL jersey for the first time. Holtz seemed to be everywhere at even strength, but he was most dangerous when he was all alone on the man advantage. Holtz's shot is ready for the next step, and he's ready to try and force himself into the Devils' lineup.

Jamie Drysdale, D (Anaheim)
Drysdale was kept out of Anaheim's final game, but it didn't do anything to dispel the belief that Drysdale is ready for full-time NHL duty this season. Among all camps, Drysdale was one of the best skaters and his creativity with the puck showed through on multiple occasions. Drysdale split most of the year between the AHL and NHL last season but it's unlikely the Ducks send him back down again. He's here to stay.

Josh Dunne, C (Columbus)
At 22, Dunne was one of the older prospects for the Blue Jackets, but he looked strong with seven points in four outings. Dunne left Clarkson University in March to turn pro, recording eight goals and 10 points in 15 AHL games while also getting a six-game stint with the big club. Dunne's offensive instincts are there, but his 6-foot-4, 209-pound frame is what gets people really noticing him out there. 

Wyatt Johnston, C (Dallas)
With four goals and five points in four outings in Traverse City, Johnston turned heads in his first camp. Johnston's only competitive action last year was winning gold at the U-18 World Championship, where he had four points in a bottom-six role. But with Dallas, he showed off his hard work from all his off-season training and why he would have been a huge offensive contributor in the OHL last year. There's a lot to love out of the Windsor Spitfires forward.

Egor Sokolov, RW (Ottawa)
With two goals and a fight (right after the second goal in the second game against Montreal, Sokolov showed that when he's fired up, he can play great hockey. Sokolov wasn't drafted in his first years of eligibility, but the Senators have quickly learned they might have a solid prospect on their hands. Sokolov had a nice AHL rookie season last year with 25 points in 35 games and is set to return to Belleville this year, but the 6-foot-4 winger could get a few games of NHL action this season - although he needs to develop a stronger defensive game and figure out how to not lose every race to the puck.

Marco Rossi, C (Minnesota)
After a quiet run with Austria at the recent Olympic qualification tournament, Rossi was just as good as the Wild would have hoped for. Rossi had a pair of goals and a few instances of some superb playmaking as he continues to battle back from what essentially was a lost year due to COVID-19 health concerns last season.

Matt Boldy, LW (Minnesota)
When Rossi wasn't the one stealing the attention for the boys in green, it was typically Boldy doing much of the same. Boldy finished the weekend with two goals and an assist, but the main focal point was just seeing his smarts with sending the puck out and his overall creativity. Boldy's defensive game continues to get better in his development that already saw him become a dangerous presence around the net. Look for Boldy to crack the Wild roster out of camp.

Fabian Lysell, RW (Boston)
Creative. Dangerous. Whatever adjectives scouts used to describe Lysell's play back home worked well in his first NHL rookie camp. The 2021 first-round pick put his hard wrister to work in Buffalo and he didn't lack in the highlight reel department. Lysell will head to WHL Vancouver this year where he'll continue to build a rounded game.

Riley Tufte, LW (Dallas)
One thing that Tufte showcased at camp is that he's a true pain in the butt to play against. Not because of his offense, highlighted by four points, but because he's 6-foot-6, 236 pounds and an overall wrecking ball that could factor into Dallas' bottom-six in the future. He's never been that offensively dominant, but you can't teach size and that was on full display in Traverse City. He even got in a fight too.

Other Notables: Adam Beckman, F (Minnesota), Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G (Buffalo), Nicholas Robertson, F (Toronto), Jacob Perreault, F (Anaheim), Daniil Chayka, D (Vegas), Kirill Tyutyayev, F (Detroit)


Jacob Markstrom

Calgary Flames Squandered Their Quality Start

The Calgary Flames have the quality to live up to high expectations as a potential Cup contender. But as Adam Proteau writes, the results aren't there.

Hockey Canada

'Horrifying': Experts React to Hockey Canada's 900-Plus Cases of On-Ice Discrimination

Hockey Canada reported more than 900 cases of on-ice discrimination, but there are likely more that went unreported, according to experts and advocates.

Jeremy Swayman

Bluelines: The Best Backup Goalies in the NHL

Stan Fischler and friends rank the best backups, preview the Rangers' weekend, analyze the hit on Bryan Rust that led to an overtime goal and more.