Ranking the Rosters: 2013 NHL Prospects Tournament Players to Watch


Ryan Murray

The future of the NHL will be on display at the annual NHL prospect tournament. This year’s tournament, which starts September 5th in Traverse City, MI, will feature high end talent including five top ten draft picks from the past two drafts (2012:  Ryan Murray – 2/ CBJ, Mathew Dumba – 7/ MIN; 2013: Elias Lindholm – 5/ CAR, Rasmus Ristolainen – 8/ BUF, and Valerie Nichushkin – 10/ DAL).  A total of 14 additional first picks are also participating including Kerby Rychel (CBJ),  Anthony Mantha (DET), Riley Sheahan (DET), Ryan Murphy (CAR), Joel Armia (BUF), Zemgus Girgensons (BUF), Mikhail Grigorenko (BUF), Mark Pysyk (BUF), Nikita Zadorov (BUF), Jason Dickinson (DAL), Radek Faksa (DAL), Jamie Oleksiak (DAL), Jack Campbell (DAL), Zack Phillips (MIN).

The Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres appear to be the early favorites with rosters loaded with skill, size and defense. The Red Wings, who are still in search of their first tournament championship, are fielding a team stocked with offensive talent up front and several top blueline prospects including the CHL defenseman of the year, Ryan Sproul. The Hurricanes, Blue Jackets and Wild also have high end defensive talent in Mathew DumbaRyan Murphy and Ryan Murray while also have some skill up front. The Blues and Rangers also have impressive rosters but lack the blue chip talent of some of the other teams. With only four preliminary games, every team has a decent chance to earn a championship bid. Below is a breakdown of key players and projected rank of the final rosters based on skill and potential.

2013  Team  Players to Watch / Team Outcome
Dallas New
  • Valerie Nichushkin (RW) – Top 10 pick is a big forward with elite skating ability can make the opposition look stupid with his offensive ability.
  • Jason Dickinson (C) – A creative center who has good overall skills and projects as a top six forward.
  • Radek Faksa (C) – Defensive center who plays hard minutes against the opposition but has questions around his offensive ability.
  • Jamie Oleksiak (D) – A towering defensemen who plays a sound positional game and has surprising mobility for his 6-foot-7 frame.
  • Jack Campbell (G) – Big game goalie is positionally sound and is a great teammate off the ice.
  • Brett Ritchie (RW) – A power forward in the making, Ritchie posted 76 points last season with Niagara of the OHL.
  • Alex Chiasson (RW) – Projected as a third line winger, Chiasson is a big forward who needs to continue to improve his skating.
  • Patrik Nemeth (D) – A solid two-way defender with a nasty streak who has some offensive ability.
Projected Outcome: Dallas has put together their best ever prospect tournament roster and are hoping to win the 2013 championship. The team is stocked with skilled forwards and sound defensemen. If Jack Campbell is on his game, Dallas should compete for the championship.
  • Joel Armia (RW) – A natural goal scorer, Armia lacks high-end speed but is excellent with the puck.
  • Zemgus Grigensons (C) – A physical defensive center who was the highest drafted Latvian of all time after going 14th overall in 2012.
  • Mikhail Grigorenko (C) – 19 year-old has already played in 25 NHL games and he’s expected to center one of the Sabre’s top lines this season.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (D) – Nicknamed the “Finnish Freight Train”, Big defender has a solid two-way game and could make his NHL debut soon.
  • Nikita Zadorov (D) – A big physical defensive blueliner who has limited offensive potential.
  • Mark Pysyk (D) – A puck handling defenseman who plays an offensive game but lacks a big shot.
  • Chad Ruhwedel (D) – An undersized defender who has already played in seven NHL games after signing with Buffalo as an undrafted free agent.
  • Johan Larsson (C/LW) – Acquired in the Pominville trade, Larsson is an offensive forward who was named the 2012 SEL rookie of the year.
Projected Outcome: The defending tournament champs have a stacked roster and will be tough to beat. Goaltending is a bit of a question mark given some of the talent on other teams, but the Sabres veteran defensive core should help.
Detroit Red Wings
  • Calle Jarnkrok (C) – A highly skilled center is considered Detroit’s top prospect and has an outside shot at making the NHL this season.
  • Riley Sheahan (C) – A two-way center has already played two NHL games and had a break through year in the AHL last season.
  • Martin Frk (RW) – A skilled winger will used the tournament as a stepping stone to the pros after a jaw dropping junior career with Halifax.
  • Tomas Jurco (RW) – An elite puck handler and playmaker played first full season in the AHL and helped the team win the Calder Cup.
  • Anthony Mantha (LW) – A gifted goal scorer who has a knack for finding open ice and creating offensive.
  • Ryan Sproul (D) – An offensive defenseman with a cannon-like shot is entering his first professional season.
  • Xavier Ouellet (D) – A two-way defender doesn’t play a flashy game but is a solid all around defenseman.
  • Teemu Pulkkinen (LW) – Finnish sniper who has potential to be a game breaker.
Projected Outcome: The tournament hosts have plenty of skilled forwards and up and coming defensemen, but unproven goaltending in Paterson and Coreau. The Wings are hoping this years team will lead them to their first ever tournament championship.
  • Elias Lindholm (C) – Coming off a minor shoulder injury, the 5th overall selection in this summer’s draft is a versatile forward who can score.
  • Ryan Murphy (D) – An undersized offensive defenseman whose top end skating, puck handling and passing skills make close to NHL ready.
  • Danny Biega (D) – Harvard standout is another smallish offensive defenseman who can quarterback a powerplay.
  • Victor Rask (C) – A playmaking center who often hears criticism around his skating and perimeter play.
  • Sergey Tolchinsky (LW) – A small puck technician who can score goals in bunches. Recently signed by the Hurricanes after going undrafted in June.
  • Erik Karlsson (C/LW) – Skilled Swede is a playmaker who is seeking more offensive production in North America.
  • Brock McGinn (LW) – A hardworking gritty forward whose defensive game has third or fourth line potential.
  • Brendan Woods (LW) – A big physical winger who can skate well and chip in timely goals. Spent the past two seasons at the University of WI.
Projected Outcome: The Hurricanes roster boasts two prospects (Lindholm and Murphy) who have a strong chance of seeing time in the NHL this season. The rest of the roster has skill and speed, but may lack size and grit to go the distance.
Blue Jackets
  • Ryan Murray (D) – The second overall selection in the 2012 draft has future number one defenseman written all over him.
  • Kerby Rychel (LW) – An offensive forward who can put the puck in the net but needs to improve skating and defensive game.
  • Boone Jenner (C) – A gritty defensive player who plays in key situations and has some offensive potential.
  • Oscar Dansk (G) – A hybrid netminder with outstanding stick ability had a rough introduction to North America hockey with Erie last season.
  • Dillion Heatherington (D) – Defensive blueliner who plays sound positionally but has limited offensive upside.
  • Oliver Bjorkstrand (RW) – Hard working skilled winger who needs to address his below average skating.
Projected Outcome: The Jackets, bolstered by highly touted Ryan Murray, could surprise top teams if they are able to get strong defensive play and goaltending. While Murray may be the only blue chip prospect, there are several other rising skaters who could surprise.
  • Mathew Dumba (D) – Seventh over all pick in the 2012 draft is an outstanding skater who has top NHL pairing potential.
  • Zack Phillips (C) – A playmaking center with outstanding puck skillls who needs to improve his skating ability.
  • Brett Bulmer (RW) – A two-way forward who can play on the penalty kill but also can generate offense.
  • Johan Gustafsson (G) – A big goalie with quick reflexes who is getting a taste of North American hockey.
  • Erik Haula (C) – Smallish playmaking center who notched 57 points in 37 NCAA games last season with Minnesota.
  • Raphael Bussieres (LW) – A playmaking forward who was better than a point per game last season in the QMJHL and has good all around skills.
Projected Outcome: The Wild are fielding a team comprised of a high number of free agent tryouts (12), but they also have blue chip prospect Matthew Dumba and several skill forwards that could make life difficult for the opposition.
  • Ty Rattie (RW) – A speedy forward who knows how to find open ice and create offense as 110 points in 62 WHL games proves.
  • Dmitrij Jaskin (RW) – A physical forward who loves to bang bodies but needs to improve his skating and offensive production.
  • Joel Edmundson (D) – A big strong blueliner who plays a solid all around defensive game but has limited offensive potential.
  • Jordan Binnington (G) – Big goalie who plays bigger than his 6-foot-2 frame and covers the net well. Posted an impressive 2.17 GAA in 50 OHL games.
  • William Carrier (LW) – A budding power forward is coming off injuries that limited his season to just 34 games last season.
Projected Outcome: The Blues roster is full of gritty physical players, but they are missing several of their top end players. Despite that, expect the physical and defensive play to frustrate the opposition.
  • Jesper Fast (RW) – A Swedish speedster who had a breakout year with HV 71 posting 35 points in 47 games least season.
  • Oscar Lindberg (C) – A two-way center who works hard in the defensive zone and excels in the faceoff circle.
  • Michael St. Croix (RW) – An offensive minded forward who can set up teammates and finish plays. Scored 92 points in 72 WHL games.
  • Danny Kristo (RW) – A swift skating forward posted 52 points in 40 NCAA games with North Dakota. He was acquired for Christian Thomas.
Projected Outcome: Similar to Minnesota, the Rangers are fielding a team heavy on free agent tryouts (9 total on the team). The roster has several skilled forwards, but none of the caliber of some of the other tournament teams. Size is also a concern.

One Response to “Ranking the Rosters: 2013 NHL Prospects Tournament Players to Watch”

  1. StarsFanNB said:

    Sep 04, 13 at 8:46 am

    Thanks for the insight on all the top prospects. As a Stars fan, I am excited to see what our guys can do. Oh, and Валерий is commonly transliterated Valery, Valeri, or Valeriy. Seems like I see Valeri most often. Gotta ask Heika who decides…

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