Joined: May 2016
Here's how I see the Wild's top prospects after the 16/17 season:
Top 3 (debatable on the order):
Kirill Kaprizov (RW): Put up some really good numbers in the KHL last season, captain of the Russia U20 team, pure goal scorer. Ceiling is top line RW, floor of never playing in the NHL. He has one more year of his KHL contract. He comes with the baggage/question most Russians deal with: does he stay in the KHL for big money there, how does his game translate to the NHL, etc...
Joel Eriksson Ek (C): Had a good year in the SHL, got his NHL cup of coffee to start the season, recalled at the end of the season, captain of the Sweden U20 team. Ceiling of a 1C (likely ends up as a solid 2C), floor of 3C, solid 2-way center.
Luke Kunin (C/RW): signed pro contract starting next season. He's probably a year away from the NHL. Captain at UW and the USA U20 team, had a good season. Ceiling of a 2C or top-6 RW, not sure which position he'll end up being in the NHL. Floor of a bottom-6 FWD. I expect him to get close to his ceiling, he has the internal drive to make it happen.
4&5 FWD's (also debatable)
Alex Tuch (RW): had a cup of coffee this year. He didn't impress me when he was called up, really passive on the ice. The NHL game seemed to fast for him, but did well in the AHL. The transition from college to pro hockey was okay for his first year. Ceiling of a top-6 wing, likely a middle-6/PP guy, floor of bottom-6 wing. He's a goal scorer, just needs to have the game slow down at the NHL level.
Jordan Greenway (RW): He has the makings a top-6 power FWD. Going back for his Jr year in college. He's probably 2 years away from the NHL. I think he'll need a year in the AHL to learn the pro game. He's bigger than almost everyone he plays against in college and he uses that advantage well, need to see how he translates to similar size players. Ceiling of top-6 wing, floor of going the Vesey route and never playing for the Wild.
Dark horse FWD:
Dmitry Sokolov (LW): His draft stock fell last year after being injured, and his work ethic was questioned. Leading scorer on his (bad) Jr team. Ceiling of a middle-6 LW, floor of not a NHL player.
Top 2 d-men:
Gustav Olofsson (LD): lots of injury history. He was a callup this year and looked good. Middle pairing LHD if he ever stops getting hurt. Solid in the d-zone, has good offensive instincts, nice transition game. Ceiling of a strong middle pair, floor of never being healthy to sting NHL time together.
Mike Reilly (LD): He looked lost when he was called up this year, pairing him with Dumba was ugly. He needs time to develop and needs a babysitter right now. Ceiling of middle pair, floor of bottom pair/PP specialist. He's an offensive minded d-man, and needs to work on his d-zone game. Had good number in the AHL.
Dark horse d-man:
Braydyn Chizen (RD): His size makes him interesting (6'9") but needs to add a lot bulk (he's less than 200 lbs), D-first d-man. Likely to never be a NHL player, but he could end up as a beast. Has little for an offensive game.