November was a great month for Canes prospects. Players such as Fox and Drury were able to shine in the NCAA, our first-year pros did well, and even some of our lower ranked prospects managed to do well. There are some players that I’m going to be a little “I told you so” about, and some players that have surprised me as well. We’re gearing up for the World Juniors, and so far, Martin Necas is the only Canes prospect that has been invited to camps at the time of this article. Eetu Luostarinen and Jesper Sellgren were invited to the Channel One Cup to represent Finland and Sweden respectively, which is a big honor. It may not get as much hype as the World Juniors, but it’s still a big deal for players looking to get the attention of the Hurricanes. Let’s begin the rankings!
- Ville Rasanen – Previous Ranking: 23
Rasanen was claimed by the Chicago Steel in November and has played in five out of six games for the Steel. This move has been good for his development since he’s actually getting playing time, but he’s still the seventh defenseman for the Steel. Rasanen is averaging just about 8:30 of ice time a game and has zero points in his thirteen USHL games this season.
- Jake Kucharski – Previous Ranking: 22
Kucharski hasn’t been great for Omaha this season but has time to develop at the collegiate level. He’s getting more starts, and while his stats may be a little disappointing, he’s shown growth. That’s all you can ask for in a seventh-round pick.
- Luke Stevens – Previous Ranking: 21
Stevens has three goals in eight games for Yale this season. He’s been getting top six minutes but hasn’t been able to do a whole lot on a team that struggles to score. I don’t think that his upside is that high and I doubt that he earns a contract in 2020.
- Jack LaFontaine – Previous Ranking: 18
It’s nice seeing LaFontaine doing so well with Penticton. It’s also a little concerning that he might only have another year of college left after spending the year with Penticton. He’s carried the workload for Penticton this season, starting in 22 games and carrying a save percentage of .916. LaFontaine has gained a lot of confidence back and should be able to help Michigan in the near future.
- Eetu Makiniemi – Previous Ranking: 19
Makiniemi started in one game for Kiekko-Vantaa in Mestis, won, and then was sent up to Jokerit’s U20 team. They let him down big time in a nine-goal game, so he was loaned back to Mestis. Makiniemi has only played in four games since returning from injury in early November, so it’s a little hard to tell how he’s developing. Still, he has a .926 in three Mestis games.
- Matt Filipe – Previous Ranking: 17
Filipe has been decent for a great Northeastern team this year. He had four points in seven games during the month of November, which is a lot better than the one point he had in the first four games of the season. Filipe is also starting to get those bounces that he just wasn’t able to get this past season. He’s trending upwards, but he’s not quite there yet.
- Lenni Killinen – Previous Ranking: 15
It’s hard to blame Killinen for his performance this season. Assat has been terrible and is having trouble scoring. Killinen can only do so much to help that, unfortunately. He has four points in thirteen games this season and has shown a lot of growth. Still, you’d like to see him take on a bigger role.
- Cliff Pu – Previous Ranking: 12
Pu was scratched for a few games in November after failing to produce during the month of October. He’s been a lot better in a fourth line role with the Checkers and is a weapon on the penalty kill. We’ve seen a lot of defensive growth from Pu this season, but I’d love to see him start to appear on the scoresheet more often. Pu has three points so far this season.
- Brendan De Jong – Previous Ranking: 16
De Jong looks like a much better player this season. He’s not great, but he could earn a contract if the Hurricanes think that he might have a future in professional hockey. He’s on pace to surpass his career high in points this season and has 16 points in 27 games.
- Max Zimmer – Previous Ranking: 10
I may have overreacted about Zimmer a bit. He’s cooled off a bit as of late but still has a career-best ten points in sixteen games this season. Zimmer has been a big part of Wisconsin’s first line and should continue to produce at a steady rate. Zimmer is one of the Canes’ quickest prospects and is looking like a decent NHL prospect after two rough seasons.
- Jeremy Helvig – Previous Ranking: 9
Helvig has been decent for the Everblades but nothing to write home about. I’d like to see him get a few more starts now that the Everblades can give him some goal support, but oh well. Helvig has a .903 save percentage, which isn’t great but the Everblades have had a revolving door of players this season.
- Luke Henman – Previous Ranking: 11
Henman is still a primary point machine and has 20 points in 26 games this season. He isn’t getting a whole lot of ice time with the Armada, and they’ve been very inconsistent this season. Henman has just three secondary assists this season and is starting to establish himself as a good playmaker.
- Jesper Sellgren – Previous Ranking: 14
I’m pretty sure that I’m the conductor on the Jesper Sellgren hype train. Three points doesn’t seem like a lot for a player in a men’s league, but Sellgren is a key part on defense for the first place Lulea club. Their penalty kill is top five thanks in part to Sellgren and he’s been one of their best players. Sellgren has been invited to the Channel One Cup to represent Sweden.
- Eetu Luostarinen – Previous Ranking: 20
Luostarinen shoots up ten spots thanks to a great November. His 14 points in 25 games is decent and he’s been KalPa’s first line center for the majority of the season. KalPa has had a rough year but Luostarinen has been a bright spot for them. He’s on pace for a career year and was also invited to the Channel One Cup. He has one more year with KalPa, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hurricanes offer him a contract once his season is over.
- Luke Martin – Previous Ranking: 8
Martin has been steady for the Michigan Wolverines this season, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. He’s been a good defensive player for Michigan but hasn’t been much of a threat offensively. The more I look at Martin, the more I see a player that plays a one-dimensional game. He’s great defensively but I can’t see him doing much of anything offensively in the future.
- Morgan Geekie – Previous Ranking: 6
Geekie was scratched for a few games towards the end of the month. He had a hot start to his AHL career but hasn’t been all that noticeable as of late. Still, Geekie has nine points to start the year and is working on all aspects of his game. This slump shouldn’t last long.
- Jack Drury – Previous Ranking: 7
Drury doesn’t move up in the rankings just yet, but he’s been a blast to watch this season. He’s used in all situations for Harvard, wins a lot of faceoffs, and is dangerous offensively. Drury has gotten faster and looks more confident defensively, which bodes well for the Hurricanes. Drury currently has eleven points in ten games for Harvard, eight of which are assists.
- David Cotton: Previous Ranking: 13
I’ll admit that I wasn’t particularly high on Cotton to start the season. He was struggling to get much going, and I was too quick to blame Cotton. He was put on a line with players that could actually produce and now Cotton has factored in on almost 75% of Boston College’s offense this season. They’re a bad team but Cotton has been a bright spot.
- Stelio Mattheos – Previous Ranking: 5
Mattheos has been Brandon’s only consistently good forward this season. The 19-year-old has 41 points in 26 games this season. He’s scoring at almost a goal a game pace, which is outstanding. Mattheos should be considered for Canada’s team at the World Juniors, even if he only plays on the fourth line.
- Jake Bean – Previous Ranking: 4
Thanks to some injuries, Jake Bean was able to make his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens last month. Bean played in two games for the Hurricanes and went pointless. He didn’t get a whole lot of power play time and wasn’t really utilized defensively, so it was tough to see him making an impact. Bean has been excellent for the Checkers, however, and is starting to be a threat in all three zones. Ryan Murphy could never.
- Adam Fox – Previous Ranking: 3
Adam Fox is scoring at an unheard-of rate this season. He has 20 points in just 10 games this season, most of which have come on the power play. Fox is looking more and more like an NHL player and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play in the NHL after his season with Harvard is over. He’s an elite player at the NCAA level and should be considered for the Hobey Baker award.
- Martin Necas – Previous Ranking: 2
Martin “Bad at Defense” Necas has been a force for the Checkers ever since he was sent down. Necas has 13 points in 20 games for Charlotte this season and has been used on the wing as of late. He’s scoring more, gaining confidence, and looking like a superstar once again. I just hope that he plays with decent forwards the next time the Hurricanes call him up.
- Andrei Svechnikov – Previous Ranking: 1
Svechnikov has consistently been able to create chances and has also had a lot of those chances go to waste because his linemates can’t finish. He still has twelve points this season and has been one of the Hurricanes’ best forwards. Maybe it’s time to give him time on the first power play unit.