The Carolina Hurricanes announced their roster on August 21 for the Prospects Showcase that will be held in Nashville. For those of you that are interested, here’s a little post about the Hurricanes prospects that will be attending, as well as the prospects that have been invited!
Chase Priskie and Jesper Sellgren will represent Hurricanes prospects on the back end. Both players have NHL potential and will likely see NHL time in the near future. These two players are hoping that a strong performance at this tournament impresses the staff enough to get an extended look in camp. Priskie would head to the AHL if he does not make the Hurricanes out of camp, while it is believed that Sellgren would have to return to Lulea of the SHL for one more season.
Forwards Jacob Pritchard, Ryan Suzuki, Eetu Luostarinen, Janne Kuokkanen, Luke Henman, Jamieson Rees, and Blake Murray will also be at this tournament. Pritchard and Luostarinen are going to be using this tournament as a way to show the Checkers’ coaching staff what they are capable in advance of training camp. Kuokkanen will be a leader at this tournament and playing in his first games since January after an injury kept him out of nearly half of last season. Henman, Suzuki, Rees, and Murray will likely return to juniors pretty early on in camp, but it still gives them a good chance at showing management what they’re capable of. It also lets the coaching staff know what each player needs to work on in the upcoming season.
Jeremy Helvig will be looking to impress Ryan Warsofsky and his staff at the Prospects Showcase so that he can spend the season in the AHL rather than another year in the ECHL.
Now for the part that everyone (mostly me) cares about: the camp invites!
Leif Mattson set career highs in assists (41) and points (63) with a disappointing Kelowna team this year. Mattson is a strong winger that moves fairly well. He’s a two way forward with good hockey sense and great vision.
Ethan Crossman didn’t have a great first 18 games thanks to playing for one of the worst teams in the CHL, Acadie-Bathurst. After his trade to Baie-Comeau, you saw more of the player that had 16 points in 20 QMJHL playoff games the season before. Crossman is a sniper with decent hockey sense and solid two-way skills. He’ll be playing for Chicoutimi this season.
Martin Lang was the youngest player in the 2019 draft class. If he was born one day later, he wouldn’t have been eligible and would instead have had to wait until 2020. He showed people in the Czech leagues that he’s capable of scoring at an elite rate while also making plays, but wasn’t able to replicate that in his first WHL season with Kamloops. I was a fan of Lang during the last half of the season. I thought that he had settled in and was starting to show flashes of the type of player he can be. There’s NHL potential in his game, I just need to see him show more confidence as a shooter.
Kaleb Bulych is a 6’4″ shutdown defenseman with little offensive potential. He moves very well and covers a ton of space on the ice. I like his mobility and he uses that to close off gaps quickly and suffocate opposing offenses. Lots of penalty minutes, so that’s something to keep an eye on.
Kameron Kielly was invited to Prospects Camp in late June and is returning for the Prospects Showcase. I really liked the way that he played, especially his skating. He was quick, made a lot of clean passes, and had a good head on his shoulders. Kielly is a playmaker that has a decent shot as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him get an AHL deal when this is all said and done.
Nolan Hutcheson is a rangy winger with good speed and a good shot. His overage season was a lot better than his first OHL season, but not quite enough to get him drafted. He’s shown significant progress in his skating and hockey sense under Corey Stillman and is teammates with Blake Murray. There may be some chemistry there.
Thomas Pelletier is another tall RHD with a long reach. His offensive numbers aren’t great, but they’re mostly due to his lack of ice time. There’s some NHL potential there, and I think he’ll shine in an increased role next season.
Merrick Rippon had a bit of a down year point wise but was still a mainstay on Ottawa’s blue line throughout the season. He’s a good defender with a lot of strength. Other than that, I don’t know too much about him.
David Maier was average with North Bay during his first North American season. He then left the team and was drafted by Peterborough, who he then signed with. Maier is a good skater and impressed me in a few viewings last season. He’s not great offensively but is a good skater and moves the puck well. His shot won’t ever be a threat but I like the stability he provides on defense.
Noel Hoefenmayer is a fantastic offensive defenseman that also plays well in his own end. He has NHL upside and I would guess that he receives an NHL contract at the conclusion of this tournament. If not, I’d expect to see the Canes extend him an invite to training camp. He was great in prospects camp and during the regular season. His shot is fantastic, he moves the puck well, is a great skater, and has good hockey sense.
Kyle Topping’s overage season was very nice. The center set career highs in goals (23). assists (46), points (69), and PIM (69). Topping was considered a very good prospect for the 2018 NHL draft and showed some improvements for Kelowna, but not enough to hear his name called in 2019. He’s a good prospect, though, and I’m excited for him. The playmaking center has good hockey sense and above average foot speed.
Lastly, we have Samuel Harvey, the goalie. Harvey won the Memorial Cup last season and he was excellent in almost every game throughout the year. He’s an athletic goalie that has been consistent for the past two years. Harvey will likely be heading to Canadian University in the fall, but this tournament could be a good stepping stone towards a pro contract.
This tournament will be interesting to follow. The Hurricanes don’t have a ton of their prospects playing in this tournament. Instead, we’re looking at a roster that will be composed of mostly undrafted players looking for a chance at a pro contract or a chance to impress an NHL team. As for players to look out for in this tournament that you may not know about? I’d suggest keeping an eye on Samuel Harvey, Noel Hoefenmayer, Martin Lang, and Kameron Kielly. These players are the most likely to either earn a pro contract or get drafted at some point. The Prospects Showcase begins on September 7th, and shortly after that, we’ll have NHL training camp!
Follow @CanesProspects on twitter for Canes prospect updates throughout the season!