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2023-24 Top 100 NHL Prospects Part Two

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Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. As we go through the summer of 2023, each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a look at one NHL team’s top prospects or other topical article. 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!  You can find all the articles here as well as our extensive NHL Draft preview. Today, we start our 2023-24 Top 100 NHL Prospects! In this piece, we look at the prospects ranked from 75-51. 

2023-24 Top 100 NHL Prospects List: Part Two

75.) Alex Turcotte

Turcotte, who was a top-five pick in 2019 by the Los Angeles Kings, is likely coming down to his last few chances to stick in the NHL. Since hearing his name called on draft day, it has been tough sledding for the young centre. But this year is as good as any, with a few prospects being dealt away. With a relentless motor and a knack for causing problems off the forecheck, he pairs that tenacity with tons of raw skill. That includes excellent stickhandling, which is paired with very strong skating, and a balanced style between shooting and playmaking. Still maintains a top-six upside, but time is winding down.

74.) Akira Schmid

Schmid stepped into the crease for the New Jersey Devils this past season and nearly played the hero. With a strong postseason performance, the Swiss-born goalie flew onto the scene. Schmid has a large frame (6’5” and 205 pounds) that he pairs with strong positioning and a good understanding of angles. Essentially, not only is he naturally big, but he knows how to make himself appear even bigger. Schmid could be the new face of the Devils crease for years to come.

73.) Stanislav Svozil

Svozil is an impressive, but wholly underrated, defensive prospect in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. After a break-out offensive campaign in the WHL, he flashed higher potential than most imagined initially. Svozil has always been known as a very smart and effective transitional player. Additionally, he defends incredibly well, showing impressive IQ and anticipation to shut plays down. But last season, his offence took a big step forward, and that bodes well as he looks to be a top-four defender in the future.

72.) Brad Lambert

Lambert is a dynamic skater, an element that the Winnipeg Jets are hoping to add to their NHL squad soon. While he is likely to stay in the AHL for much of this season, there’s a chance he gets some NHL time. With his high end stickhandling alongside of his skating, that sort of flair would be welcome. What does need work before he can be trusted full-time in the NHL is his playmaking. There are times where he misses would-be scoring chances due to having, to this point, poor vision. But the skating and creativity with the puck is evident. If he can improve his passing skills, he could be a strong top-six complementary piece.

71.) Conor Geekie

Geekie, a big forward in the Arizona Coyotes organization, is looking to take the right steps forward in the WHL this season. He has yet to truly break-out in juniors since being drafted. The biggest concern with Geekie at this point is consistency and skating. His skating has yet to show much improvement since the day he was drafted. Meanwhile, he still scores in spurts at times in the WHL, more specifically shown with his slow start last season. He’s off to a good start this year, but will Geekie be able to maintain that? He is an exciting prospect to watch, generating highlight reel plays over and over again throughout a season. If he can find his stride, improve his skating, and be more consistent, there’s top-six potential.

70.) Rutger McGroarty

McGroarty is another Jets prospect on this list, and for good reason. One of the stars in the NCAA with the University of Michigan, coming off of a point-per-game year as a freshman. McGroarty shines thanks to his off-puck abilities. It starts with him being a nuisance on the forecheck or in the dirty areas. Then when he creates those issues, he can turn that into a smart pass to retain possession. Once his teammates start looking towards the net, McGroarty consistently finds open space for a teammate to find him in high danger. With that, he possesses a heavy shot and a quick release. Those goal-scoring traits and high-end motor would provide a ton of help to the Jets top-six when the time comes for him to take that next step.

69.) Ridly Greig

Greig, one of, if not the best prospect in the Ottawa Senators organization, he is one of those gritty forwards teams will hate playing against. Whenever there’s a scrum, he is likely going to be in the middle. Greig plays hard every time he steps out onto the ice, with an undeniable work ethic and physicality. While that does not mean he bullies people, he certainly never shies away, and isn’t afraid to walk the tightrope between clean and dirty. But he isn’t all grit and grind. Greig has a strong playmaking ability, paired with strong skating, which allows him to create plays on his own at times. He’s also smart with his positioning away from the puck. Easily a future top-six forward if he continues taking strides in his development.

68.) Bradly Nadeau

Nadeau, yet another name from the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pool, checks in on the top 100 NHL prospect list. Nadeau absolutely lit up the BCHL last season, showcasing an excellent shot. What makes his shot dangerous is the power and the release, alongside of an excellent skating ability which allows him to find space on his own. That skating also allows him to open up the game as a playmaker, though he doesn’t stand out much in that area. The potential is there for a true dual-threat impact, however. The only problem is whether he can still produce at such an incredibly high level, creating space on his own for his shot and setting up teammates, at a significantly higher level in the NCAA. If Nadeau doesn’t skip a beat in the NCAA ranks, the Hurricanes may have yet another steal in their system.

67.) Brayden Yager

Yager is easily the best prospect on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who was ranked the third-worst prospect pool in the league by Last Word. Yager Has strong scoring instincts, with a powerful and technically-sound shooting ability. He also isn’t easily forced into mistakes, as he will take the easy pass when under pressure to avoid turnovers. However, he doesn’t have a consistent ability to find open space away from the puck, limiting his goal-scoring potential. With even less space at higher levels, he needs to improve his vision away from the puck. Additionally, he isn’t very involved as a playmaker, opting to take shots from the perimeter and low-danger areas instead of making a pass to a teammate in a better spot. That consistency and playmaking must improve. In fact, his play away from the puck in all three zones must be better. But, his goal-scoring is too good to ignore. If he can find his stride away from the puck, he could be a steal in the 2023 class.

66.) Matthew Savoie

Savoie is one of many high-end talents on the Buffalo Sabres pipeline. Based on what has been seen this off-season, Savoie has every opportunity to land a roster spot to open the season with the NHL club. A former top-10 pick, Savoie has done everything right to this point in his young career, making the WHL look easy. The undersized forward has incredible potential thanks to phenomenal playmaking skills. However, it is fair to ask: is he more of a complementary piece, who relies on his linemates finishing ability to truly produce? With a slow start to last season, he didn’t exactly take a step forward. But, he still has maintained a high-end potential. Now, the questions turn towards whether he can withstand the NHL and still be a strong playmaking presence.

65.) Mikhail Gulyayev

Gulyayev was an impressive pick for the Colorado Avalanche in the 2023 draft. For one, he arguably has the highest upside amongst his peers in the 2023 class, specifically the blueliners. Gulyayev is a dynamic skater, with four-way mobility, that allows him to be a force in the offensive zone. His ability to walk the line allows him to create passing and shooting lanes for himself. He also is not afraid to attack the high-danger areas of the ice from the back-end. Plus, his defensive responsibilities are not lost on him because he has strong offensive skills. However, his defence does need work, at least more consistency. Meanwhile, the whole situation with Russia and his contract in the KHL ends after the 2024-25 season.

64.) Marco Kasper

Kasper is a centre within the Detroit Red Wings organization. With expectations high this off-season, he just fell short of landing a roster spot in the NHL for this season. A top-10 pick in 2022, Kasper plays a heavy game with a big motor. Additionally, he is an incredibly smart forward, making the smart passes in the offensive zone and being reliable in his own end. That reliability and lack of mistakes has allowed him to get an early chance at the NHL. However, that style does limit his upside. More time in the AHL moving forward could allow him to unlock his offensive game, however. As of now, he looks like an ideal middle-six centre.

63.) Frank Nazar

Nazar, one of the several impressive names within the Chicago Blackhawks pipeline. Nazar is another Michigan Wolverine who had a shortened freshman season last year. This season, the hope is he can stay healthy and showcase his incredible skill. Nazar is one of the most intelligent prospects outside the NHL. Nazar knows exactly what play he wants to make before he even takes a step into the offensive zone. Then, he uses his innate ability to manipulate defenders to move where he wants them, to subsequently set up a teammate in a high-danger area. Nazar could be a stud in the NHL, but it ultimately comes down to health and how he bounces back with a full season this year.

62.) Pavel Mintyukov

Mintyukov, a draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, is a top-10 pick in the 2022 NHL draft. The blueliner is expected to make his AHL debut after an outstanding year in the OHL. Mintyukov is a dominant offensive presence from the back end. His skating is a big reason for his offensive capabilities, as his four-way mobility allows him to walk the blue line to open up passing and shooting lanes. Mintyukov is also completely unafraid of stepping into the offensive zone, acting as a fourth forward at times. His pace and vision in the offensive end lends itself to an elite upside in that area. However, his defensive game is still less than ideal, and it’d be hard to truly be a top pair defender if you aren’t trusted in the defensive end. That has to be somewhat improved on for him to reach his ceiling as an offensive defenseman.

61.) Calum Ritchie

Another member of the Avalanche organization, Ritchie was one of their recent additions at the 2023 NHL draft. Ritchie plays a strong game that leans on high IQ and strong defensive contributions. In the offensive zone, he makes the smart play, limiting turnovers and mistakes. Defensively, he does an excellent job positionally to help limit scoring chances against. However, there is some untapped offensive potential. If he looks to push the pace a bit more and take advantage of a strong shot, he could push for a bigger NHL role than he is currently expected to fill.

60.) Tom Willander

Willander, one of the newest members of the Vancouver Canucks pipeline, kicks off the top-60 of the top 100 NHL prospects list. The Swedish defender plays a very complete game and is committed to play for Boston University in the NCAA this season. That’s important, because the NCAA has proven to be a solid avenue for many high-end talents looking to round out their game or take next steps. Willander is extremely reliable in his own end, showing tons of maturity. Meanwhile, his borderline-elite skating gives him some untapped offensive potential. While the raw offensive tools do need to catch up, he already displays the awareness and understanding of how to move along the blue line to create lanes for himself to exploit. Willander could break out in a big way in college if he unlocks that offensive game.

59.) Mavrik Bourque

Bourque, drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 2020 draft, is coming off a very successful AHL rookie campaign. Bourque looks like he is ready for the NHL already, but he was sent down to the AHL during some of the final cuts of the off-season. Regardless, Bourque is a highly intelligent player, who uses his high-end skating to its fullest extent to create plays on his own. That paired with strong anticipation has allowed him to pull off incredibly impressive plays right in the slot. Bourque does the scoring largely on his own, with a strong shot, but he is also a solid playmaker. Looks like a future top-six piece of a strong Stars team in the not-so-distant future.

58.) Joakim Kemell

Kemell is a top draft pick from the Nashville Predators organization. He had a great off-season and came very close to earning an opening day roster spot because of it. However, he will be starting the year at the AHL level. Kemell was knocked for poor skating ability and a one-dimensional offensive game during his draft year, however, he has turned some of those questions around. His skating still isn’t at the level it needs to be at, but he has improved noticeably in that area. Plus, his goal-scoring is undeniable, and he has taken steps to improve his goal-scoring ceiling. Kemell looks like someone who could score 30+ goals in the NHL one day, and with some development time in the AHL, he could refine his playmaking and skating even further.

57.) Lukas Reichel

Reichel, a German-born prospect with the Chicago Blackhawks, is yet another Blackhawk on the top 100 NHL prospects list. He is making a push to stick at the NHL level this season. Reichel has a nose for the net. His goal-scoring instincts shine, as he just knows how to get to the net-front and put home rebounds and tips. Plus, his strong stickhandling skills helps him to beat goalies in tight when given a chance to do so. He’s also got a good shot in general, able to pose a threat from close to anywhere on the ice. Add to that a solid ability to extend possessions with smart passes, and you have a really good offensive presence when Reichel is out there. Reichel could end up as a top-six talent with scoring upside, especially if paired with Connor Bedard down the road.

56.) Mackie Samoskevich

Samoskevich, yet another Michigan product on the top 100 NHL prospects list, has had a really strong off-season. That impressive off-season has led to him seemingly earning a role on opening day with the Florida Panthers. Samoskevich is a ton of fun to watch. He has outstanding hands, with tons of confidence, which lends itself to highlight reel plays consistently. His playmaking is high-end, thanks to that aforementioned creativity, paired with a high IQ and anticipation. If Samoskevich can stick for the full season, he could be another one of those dark horses for some Calder recognition. That’s how talented Samoskevich is.

55.) Dmitri Simashev

Simashev, a top pick of the Arizona Coyotes, is a pro-style prospect. For the Coyotes, getting a defender with size and defensive acumen, like Simashev, will help build towards a more competitive roster. Simashev doesn’t possess a ton of potential at this point, and his development will be watched under a microscope due to the level of talent still on the board when the Coyotes called his name. However, he is a high-level defender, who can help shut down top competition and be a true minute-munching anchor on the blue line for the long haul.

54.) Jimmy Snuggerud

Snuggerud, a 2022 draft pick of the St. Louis Blues is a high end talent. The Minnesota-native had a dominant freshman season in the NCAA, and is slated to play another year with the University of Minnesota this season. Snuggerud possesses an arsenal of shots that he can use to beat any goaltender. Wrist shot, snap shot, slap shot, backhander, you name it, he can rip it. He’s also a workhorse, constantly getting involved in the dirty areas and at net-front. Snuggerud can score from distance, get set up away from the puck to have chances to unload a heavy one-timer, or get in tight and beat goalies with soft hands. His versatile goal-scoring and overall impressive offensive game projects him as a top-six forward with the upside of being a 30+ goal scorer.

53.) Denton Mateychuk

Mateychuk, a defender in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, is yet another of many 2022 draft prospects to make the top 100 NHL prospects list. Mateychuk’s game is that of fast-paced action. That makes him one of the most entertaining young players not yet in the NHL. However, that may change, as he has really made a strong push to make the roster this season. What he can bring is a very aggressive offensive style from the blueline. He can be a dominant playmaker, who uses his elite level skating to create passing lanes to exploit defensive zone coverages. Not only that, but he is more than willing to step deeper into the offensive zone as a shooting option when away from the puck. His defensive game still needs work, and that may prevent him from being a true top-pair defender in the future. But he is electrifying when he is on the ice.

52.) Ivan Miroshnichenko

Miroshnichenko is yet another prospect who has had quite an impressive off-season, as he too could make the Washington Capitals starting roster. Miroshnichenko may be one of the best “feel-good” stories as well, having fought (and won) a battle with cancer. Once he came back to full health, he has proven to have never missed a single beat. He is an incredible skater, and is able to beat defenders with just his speed or a blend of agility and outstanding hands. Once he beats a defender, he can use his high-end shot to beat goaltenders from range or in tight to the net. Away from the puck, he has no qualms with parking himself at net-front and putting rebounds and tips into the back of the net. Miroshnichenko is a special talent, and could be a strong top-six option for the Capitals for a long time.

51.) Alexander Holtz

Holtz, a Swedish forward with some NHL experience already, was a top-10 pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2020. Holtz has, to this point, improved in every facet of his game that was deemed as something for him to focus on. His shot has always been lethal, and that remains the case. But he added a new layer to his game with improved playmaking skill and much better effort away from the puck. Once Holtz can be a more consistent offensive zone presence, he can be a true game changer on the already impressive Devils roster. Him and Jack Hughes, if paired, could be a lethal playmaker-goal-scorer duo.

Main Photo: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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