Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! Today we bring you our top prospects ranking 91-100.
2023 NHL Draft Prospects 91-100
91) Andrew Gibson, Defender, Soo Greyhounds, OHL, 6’3″ 198 lbs
Andrew Gibson is a big-body defenseman whose biggest strength is his skating. For a player his size it could be assumed that he would be used mostly as a shutdown defender, but in many ways the opposite is true. Gibson thrives in the offensive zone where his skating and vision really can make a difference. He identifies passing lanes with great ease and makes smart shots rather than big and heavy ones. While his major strengths are in the offensive zone, he is able to use his great vision to find outlet passes from his own zone.
One of the concerns about Gibson has been his ability to stay healthy as he missed a good portion of the season due to injury. He also needs to learn how to position himself better defensively, as he often relies too much on his speed to help him recover defensively. In the NHL those flaws will be exposed. He does use his body well defensively, but his gap control and overly aggressive nature have to improve. If he can this could be a solid pickup for teams looking for a big offensive defenseman.
92) Tristan Bertucci, Defender, Flint Firebirds, OHL, 6’2″ 179 lbs
One of the defensive options later in the draft is Tristan Bertucci, who plays a defensively sound game. He focuses on the defensive aspects of the game first and does most things well in his own zone. He brings a lot of calmness to his team when on the ice with good skating and smart decision-making. Positionally he is great at getting in the way of passes or shots with both his body and active stick. The only real defensive improvement Bertucci needs is to add some physicality to his game. Although he is tall, and he does use his strength well along the boards a bit more dominance in the physical aspects would do him well.
While the defence is the primary strength of Bertucci, he can contribute offensively as well. With his good decision-making and high hockey sense he does make a lot of smart passes that he hits with great accuracy. In many ways, he has a lot of similarities to Jonas Brodin although he does need to hone his skill to reach that level.
93) Jakub Stancl, Center, Växjö Lakers HC J20, J20 Nationell, 6’3″ 203 lbs
One of the options for a reliable and defensive forward in the later rounds is Jakub Stancl. The Czech forward from the Swedish team Växjö Lakers is a player that uses his great size to his advantage. He uses his weight well to both shield the puck when it’s on his stick and to make a hit when he has the chance to do so. He plays to his strengths and makes use of his control and balance to be an option for stability in all three zones. His skating needs a ton of work as it’s very slow and mechanically very flawed. It takes him ages to get going and he lacks a lot of power in his acceleration.
This lack of speed does limit his offensive translatability as most of his offense comes from his physicality and hockey sense. He will spot a weakness or try to create one with his size, which works in the junior leagues but won’t in the NHL. His passing is excellent, and his shot is fine, but getting open requires much better skating and off-the-puck movement. However, if this is worked on, his defensive skillset and size could make him a very strong middle-six player in the future.
94) Arvid Bergström, Defender, Djurgårdens IF J20, J20 Nationell, 5’11″ 168 lbs
Our next prospect 91-100 is another defenseman. The modern-day defenseman is increasingly turning into a puck-moving defender, with strong skating and vision. We are seeing these types of prospects more and more, and another one of these is Swedish defender Arvid Bergström. The Swede is an extremely confident skater, who makes calm and collected decisions under pressure. Bergström is also a very good option in transition due to his great skating. He is also a very intelligent hockey player who rarely makes mistakes or bad passes. He does most of the small and tiny details of the game well.
Defensively he keeps a nice positioning to the forwards and is consistently able to break up a play. Be it with a nice stick to block a pass or to get in the way of a shot, Bergström is usually in a position to get there. It’s rare to see him caught napping or flatfooted. The main criticism of Bergström’s game is his lack of offensive production. Despite his excellent skating and vision, the points haven’t quite followed. For a player of his mobility and skill with the puck, a better shot would help him be less one-dimensional in the offensive zone. However, for a puck-moving and steady defensive player, he would be a sensible pick later in the draft.
95) Quinton Burns, Defender, Kingston Frontenacs, OHL, 6’1″ 179 lbs
Another defender makes the prospects 91-100 rankings. Quinton Burns would also be an option for teams looking to bring in a modern-day defenseman. Like most modern defenders, skating and great defensive awareness is the key to Burns’s game. What makes Quinton Burns slightly different is that he is an all-out defensive defenseman rather than a two-way defender. Burns see the game at a high level and will be in the right position in most defensive situations. He uses his stick extremely well to create turnovers, and his passing is very accurate. His passing and anticipation in his own zone make him an excellent breakout passer, as he also has the option to skate the puck out of danger with his strong skating mechanics.
Offensively there isn’t too much to write home about. His shot needs a lot of work, and while his passing is good, it’s often the safe player that Burns will employ. However, this does allow for position to be kept and for the play to stay 200 feet from his own net. In many ways the smart play for a defensive defenseman with a high floor, but limited ceiling.
96) Nico Myatovic, Left Winger, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL, 6’1″ 181 lbs
While stars like Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, and Leo Carlsson will steal the limelight on draft day, one of the more underrated picks could come in the form of Nico Myatovic. Myatovic has all the tools to be a great power forward in the NHL. His speed and skating are great for his size, and he is tenacious in his pursuit of the puck. No matter the situation, Myatovic plays it well, regardless of it being a powerplay or a penalty kill. He is relentless when he has the puck and will be a constant pain to play against. Myatovic also works incredibly hard in the forecheck, where he will come with lightning speed and use his size to win position along the boards. Defensively he has taken a lot of steps this season and reads the defensive game at a much higher level.
Offensively he lacks a lot of tools to really make a huge difference. His vision isn’t amazing, and his puck handling can let him down at times. He works hard along the boards to win possession but after that, he lacks the creativity to make the most of it. However, if he can add a little bit more to his offence, he would be a perfect bottom-six forward with great speed, size, and work ethic. Exactly the type of player teams needs to win a cup down the line.
97) Emil Järventie, Left Winger, Ilves U20, U20 SM-sarja, 5’10″ 168 lbs
The next player on the prospects 91-100 ranking is a winger. It’s been a turbulent season for Emil Järventie, with a ton of changes in teams throughout the year. From his start in Ilves junior system to the end of the season at SaiPa in Liiga. In all teams he played for he did however show a ton of promise and especially his shot is noteworthy. The shot is extremely heavy and comes off Järventies blade quickly. It’s also deceptive as he is able to mask his release up until the last moment. For a goalie, his many variations of the shot are a nightmare to face. His passing is quite good as well although underused. Järventie is a shot-first, pass-second type of player and this does lead him to be a bit one-dimensional. If he can learn to utilize his pass a bit more, he could be a very dangerous forward.
Physically Järventie would do well with adding a bit more strength to his game as he often is bumped off the puck too easily. This also can be said about his skating, which isn’t refined enough to get him fully away from pressure. He relies a lot on his skillset and elusive style to create space for himself. Something that works at the junior level but is hard against the professionals. Something that became clear when he took the step up to Liiga at the end of the season. Overall, his upside is great and his shot and raw offensive talent are enough to become a valuable winger on a scoring line, but his floor is also worryingly low. Järventie is a gamble but one that could pay off greatly in the end.
98) Jesse Kiiskinen, Right Winger, Lahti Pelicans U20, U20 SM-sarja, 6’0″ 187 lbs
One of the youngest players in the draft is Finish winger Jesse Kiiskinen, who thrives in the offensive zone. He has a wonderful shot, quick hands, and a nice vision for the different openings. His constantly on the move in the offensive zone to get open and find ways to get the puck. He is a tenacious forechecker who works hard to get possession and isn’t afraid of getting physical. In many ways, he does a lot of things really well in the offensive zone and even defensively he is sound. He uses his smart hockey sense to be in the right position to make the right play. The physical aspects of Kiiskinen’s game make him able to win battles along the boards defensively as well.
For his decision-making, however, some parts need to improve a lot. His shot selection needs to get balanced a lot more, as is slightly trigger-happy. He will often overlook a good pass to a teammate to get off his own shot, despite it being covered by a goalie and defender. This hurts his overall offensive consistency along with his skating. While it’s not terrible, there is a lot of improvement to make on his skating mechanics. Given his age, he has time to do just that and become a very dangerous offensive weapon in the NHL.
99) Cole Knuble, Center, Fargo Force, USHL, 5’11″ 185 lbs
Number 99 of prospects 91-100 is Cole Knuble. Cole Knuble is a grinding and ferocious center, who processes and reads the game at an elite level. He is incredibly smart and is able to balance both offensive and defensive responsibilities. The competitive nature of Knuble is incredible, and he was a leader at Fargo during the past season. He is a player that’s most good thing on his line goes through. His playmaking is really good and he is able to create a lot with his strong passing. As the season progressed his shot improved as well, although it’s still not perfect. His relentless nature also comes into its own as he is able to win a lot of battles in front of the net and either make a screen on the netminder or try to collect a potential rebound. He can also deflect pucks although it’s not his greatest strength.
His skating needs a lot of work as it lacks a lot of quickness and power. It does limit his ability to get involved in breakouts and transitional plays. It also hurts him a bit defensively as he can get overrun by a faster forward driving the net. The lack of speed is the primary concern about his translatability as he will need it at the pro level. Outside of this, there is very little to fault in Knuble’s game as he does most things well.
100) Petter Vesterheim, Centre Mora IK J20, J20 Nationell, 5’11″ 170 lbs
The last player on our list is Norwegian forward Petter Vesterheim. The Norwegian is one of the older first-time eligible players in the draft and brings a lot of great competitiveness table. He works hard and has been rewarded with a ton of ice time against men without looking out of place. He plays a mature and clever game, where he can contribute in both zones. Offensively his tools aren’t standout, but his vision and great decision-making mean he gets the most out of it. His shot is decent, and so is his passing but nothing more than that. His skating is good and does allow him to get involved in the game which is a huge plus.
Defensively his maturity really stands out. He has a great positional awareness and his gap control and balance between being aggressive and passive is spot on. He has an active stick that he uses at a high level to create turnovers. The skating also allows him to be a good player in the transition to carry the puck up ice without mistakes. While he isn’t the flashiest player or the most exciting prospect in the world, he could easily be a solid bottom-six player in the NHL.
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