September Canes Prospects Rankings
The Carolina Hurricanes have finished up the Traverse City Prospects Tournament and most players have begun their seasons at this point. Some of our junior players have done very well so far, while others may be slacking a little bit. Last month, I ranked the 23 Hurricanes prospects that did not play professionally in North America last season. This month I am updating the rankings with some new insight on our players. I will be taking Traverse City, training camp, and season stats as of September 29th into account. Let’s begin with number 23. It’s not terrible that our bottom two prospects are both seventh round picks, but it’s a little concerning that our 21st prospect out of 23 is a third-round pick.
REMINDER: This is for prospects that did not play in the NHL or AHL last season. Don’t get mad that Foegele, Zykov, or Kuokkanen aren’t on here. They played in the AHL last season and aren’t a part of the rankings.
- Jake Kucharski – Previous Ranking: 22
His first start of the season was a win, but he gave up five goals on 27 shots in the process. It may be a little unfair to blame him for a lot of that since the game seemed to be lacking defense, but who knows. Kucharski seems to be Des Moines’ backup this season, which may keep him pretty low in these rankings.
- Ville Rasanen – Previous Ranking: 23
Rasanen and Kucharski switch spots here. The move to the USHL seems like a smart one, and he seems to be adjusting to North American ice just fine. His potential is still very low, but the NCAA could be an option for him if he decides to go that route this season.
- Luke Stevens – Previous Ranking: 20
NCAA teams haven’t begun their seasons yet, so Stevens won’t be moving down very far. His NHL potential is still low and it’s not likely that he signs after college unless he has two huge seasons.
- Jack Lafontaine – Previous Ranking: 21
The good news is that Lafontaine’s goals against average is down below 3.00 for the first time since the Hurricanes drafted him. Through four games, Lafontaine has a 2.77 GAA. Lafontaine hasn’t been great ever since the Hurricanes drafted him, but this season could be the fresh start that he needs. He has a .906 save percentage through five games.
- Michael Fora – Previous Ranking: 15
Fora has the biggest fall in this month’s rankings, falling four spots to 19th overall. After expecting him to play well against players that were mostly three or four years younger than him, Fora was disappointing. He looked lost and was a non-factor in all three zones. He was also a part of the first non-junior cuts at camp.
- Max Zimmer – Previous Ranking: 19
Zimmer moves up a spot mostly because of Fora being underwhelming. Zimmer’s season with Wisconsin has not started yet, so not too much has changed about him. Look for Zimmer to take on a bigger role with the Badgers this season.
- Brendan De Jong – Previous Ranking: 17
De Jong had a pretty disappointing tournament both offensively and defensively, but you can’t fault him too much when his defensive partners skated worse than he did last season. He’s come a long way since the Hurricanes drafted him in 2017 and is anchoring the first pair on an average Portland team. He has two assists in the first three games of the season
- Matt Filipe – Previous Ranking: 18
Filipe has a lot of potential but disappeared for most of last season. If he ever wants to turn pro, he’ll need to have two big seasons for Northeastern. If not, the 2016 third round could be a really bad round for the Hurricanes.
- Eetu Luostarinen – Previous Ranking: 13
Luostarinen has had a tough start to the season. Luostarinen went pointless in five games after recording a secondary assist in the first game of the season. He broke that pointless streak on September 29th with a goal, but he has been fairly quiet thus far. Luostarinen was bumped down to KalPa’s third line after starting on the second line. He’ll have this season and the next season to develop before the Canes have to offer him a contract or let him go into free agency. This is a highlight from October 3rd. Since it didn’t happen in September, It’s just here for fun.
Keskiviikkoillan maalit minuutissa! Eilen keltamustien maaleista vastasivat Jaakko Rissanen, Frank Gymer ja Eetu Luostarinen, mutta mikä näistä osumista miellytti silmää eniten? 😎
— KalPa (@KalPa_Hockey) October 4, 2018
- Jesper Sellgren – Previous Ranking: 16
Sellgren has had a quiet start to the season, going pointless in five games. Lulea is struggling to find any sort of offense, but Sellgren has held it down defensively for the most part. He seems to be a stable presence on the back end, which is something that Lulea needs.
- Lenni Killinen – Previous Ranking: 12
Killinen had an injury in the first game of the season that kept him out for a couple games. He started the first game on the fourth line but has played on the second line for the past two games. His first three games in the Finnish men’s league have been uneventful, but it’s encouraging to see him playing on the second line. Assat has been awful and have averaged less than two goals a game this season.
- Luke Henman – Previous Ranking: 14
I was really impressed with Henman in Traverse City. You can tell that he’s a smart player and he does a lot of little things right. I’ll need to see more production from him this season, but I like what I’ve seen so far. He has two points in two games to start the season.
- David Cotton – Previous Ranking: 11
Cotton is a good prospect that looks to be a gem, but he won’t move up this month since his season hasn’t started yet. Boston College is going to be a very good team this season and Cotton could easily be one of their top scorers while playing on the top line. He’s beginning his junior year and could sign a contract after the season if he impresses.
- Jack Drury – Previous Ranking: 9
Drury is another NCAA player whose season hasn’t started yet, but he still moves down due to some impressive performances from our number 8 prospect. He’ll start the season with Harvard and will hopefully be able to be as impactful of a player as he was in the USHL.
- Cliff Pu – Previous Ranking: 8
Pu was sent down early on in training camp, but it was going to take a miracle for him to make the NHL team. He’s been doing really well in Charlotte’s training camp and Mike Vellucci seems to like him. He scored a shorthanded goal in Charlotte’s preseason loss to Lehigh Valley.
- Jeremy Helvig – Previous Ranking: 10
Jeremy Helvig had a tough tournament on paper but was one of Carolina’s best players in the tournament. Helvig was making big stops and looked like he was more than ready to tackle the AHL. His performance was convincing, and he may have more potential than we originally thought.
- Luke Martin – Previous Ranking: 7
Martin hasn’t played in any games yet, so there’s no reason to move him up or down the list. He could still be a top four defenseman in the NHL, but the addition of Adam Fox may crowd up the right side too much. He’ll have to have a big season for a Michigan team that is sure to contend for the Frozen Four again.
- Morgan Geekie – Previous Ranking: 6
Geekie stayed up with the Hurricanes for a while and is looking like he could be a good prospect. He’ll be starting the season with the Checkers and is another player that Mike Vellucci likes. He’s a playmaker, but you’re in trouble if you underestimate his shot. He could easily be a 15-20 goal scorer in the AHL this season.
- Stelio Mattheos – Previous Ranking: 5
Mattheos was recently named the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings and has had a good start to his season. His line was consistent in Traverse City, even though they did not appear on the scoresheet too often. Mattheos has three points in two games to start the season.
- Jake Bean – Previous Ranking: 4
Bean increased his stock with a decent showing in Traverse City and a good camp, but it’s not enough to beat Adam Fox for that coveted #3 spot. Bean will begin his professional career with the Charlotte Checkers and should get top four minutes. He’s looking better and better with every shift, but I’d love to see him utilize his shot more.
- Adam Fox – Previous Ranking: 3
Fox’s #3 ranking would’ve been in jeopardy if the Hurricanes were decent in Traverse City. Since they weren’t, he remains our number three prospect. He could make the NHL team next season with how good he is offensively, and I’m excited to watch him play for Harvard this season.
- Martin Necas – Previous Ranking: 2
Necas has been great for the Hurricanes in the preseason. His Traverse City tournament wasn’t great, but he has more than made up for it in the preseason. He has made the NHL team out of camp and will be receiving top nine minutes for the Hurricanes. Necas has taken a big step in his development and will be a great player in the NHL this season.
- Andrei Svechnikov – Previous Ranking: 1
While Necas may be a great prospect, Svechnikov is an elite prospect. He is already a mature player and can score goals in bunches. Svechnikov was one of the Hurricanes’ only good forwards in the tournament and has followed that up with a phenomenal preseason. Andrei Svechnikov could win the Calder this season, which has to excite the Hurricanes. There was a lot of hype surrounding Svechnikov and he has definitely lived up to that hype so far.