2017 Organizational Prospects Rankings

by Peter Harling on September 5, 2017

2017 Organizational Prospects Rankings

The long overdue DobberProspects Organizational Rankings has returned!

Ranking prospects is a pretty subjective exercise; one person may have a very high opinion of a player, while another may have a rather low opinion of the same player. Everyone has their biases of course so in order to produce the most accurate ranking for each NHL teams prospects we organized a panel of senior writers from DobberProspects to create a consensus ranking.

The Panel includes:

Peter Harling – Managing Editor

Hayden Soboleski – Associate Editor

Cam Robinson – Junior Associate Editor

Kevin LeBlanc – Senior Writer

Jason Banks – Senior Writer

Joel Henderson – Senior Writer

Brad Phillips – Senior Writer

Pat Quinn – Senior Writer

Kevin Wickersham – Senior Writer

The criteria used to rank teams prospects was our own individual grading for each player in each team’s top ten prospects, as well as adding extra points for 21 and under NHL roster players. The formula for the grading system was a letter grade from A+ to D was assigned a descending point value from a 10 for an A+ to a 1 for D or less. As mentioned bonus points for under 21 roster players and some discretionary points really helped vault teams like Toronto and Edmonton up. That would give each writer their own ranking of 1-31. Using those lists a consensus was compiled. Top ranked teams would receive a score of 1 while 31st ranked team earned a score of 31. All nine lists combined give the final score and the ranking below.  Like Golf, lower scores are better.

Of course this is a fantasy site so emphasis and higher scoring was placed on prospects with higher upside and a faster projection to the NHL.

Here are the 30 NHL organizations, ranked by prospect appeal in fantasy hockey and the final score (click the team name to see the Top 10 players)

31. Los Angeles Kings - 261

No surprise here. After years of trading away first round picks lends to a poor prospect cupboard. The addition of Gabe Vilardi at the 2016 draft instantly becomes the Kings top prospect.  LA has done a great job of finding value in late rounds of drafts and has a few players from the late, late rounds but nothing to get too excited about.  Only ranked 31st by one writer, the Kings highest rank was only 26th which just puts them behind the Penguins by the slightest of margins. The Kings Stanley Cup wins are in the rear view mirror now and with some of the long term contracts on their veterans the future starts to look grim for the Kings.  Peter Harling

Great draft but nothing else there.  Pat Quinn

30. Pittsburgh Penguins - 259

Having won back-to-back Stanley Cups makes being ranked 30th pretty easy to take, and the Penguins have a habit of pulling a rabbit out of their hat and finding a prospect from nowhere. However trading their 2017 first round pick, 31st overall (Klim Kostin) for Ryan Reeves is a trade that will haunt the Penguins for years if they don’t three peat as Stanley Cup Champs. Out of the eight contributors, four ranked Pittsburgh dead last. After Daniel Sprong the Penguins depth chart thins out fast. Luckt for the Pens, they have fantasy must own players Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Matt Murray for us poolies.  Peter Harling

Recent champs have an empty cupboard, a few good pieces but mostly nothing else.  Pat Quinn

I had Pittsburgh a bit higher in my personal rankings as they've been able to gather some skill without continually having picks in the first. It helps when college FAs want to win a Stanley Cup immediately. Joel Henderson

 

 

 29. San Jose Sharks – 236

As your top end players age, the way you turn a corner is by trading them for significant assets. While San Jose has some exciting players, they have weak depth for impact players. They need significant growth from their current players aged 21-25 or could be some tough years ahead. Joel Henderson

Did the Sharks rank of 27 catch you by surprise? It did for me! While the Sharks have good depth, after top prospects Time Meier and Josh Norris there really aren’t any B+ or better prospects.  Two 19 rankings give the Sharks a slight boost who otherwise were not ranked over 25. Additionally several of their prospects are on the older side, Heed (25) Sorensen (25) O’Regan (23) Ryan (24). But the Sharks have youth in the Lineup and should be a competitive team for the immediate future. Peter Harling

Good top six depth coming, a few long shots, not much else. Pat Quinn

 

28. Montreal Canadiens -234

Montreal has done a poor job of drafting and developing talent for the past decade. They have had their first round pick in nine of the past ten drafts, and the only player to make an impact is Alex Galchenyuk who was picked third overall in 2012. In fact there are only two players drafted by Montreal in the past ten years still with the team that have more than 100 career games played (Galchenyuk and Gallagher). Asset management has not been great for Montreal either and their ranking here reflects all of this. Peter Harling

Fine talent in pipeline but nothing that stands out, defense and goaltending future is bleak. Pat Quinn

27. Washington Capitals - 234

In an effort to win a Cup in the Ovechkin era the Caps have traded away first round picks to win now. Wait, actually since they drafted Ovechkin in 2004 they have only traded away two first round picks, including last years, and had two first round picks in in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2012. So what are they doing at the bottom of the list? Not all their first round picks were hits, the jury is still out on some but not many players picked outside of the first round have delivered. The Caps have an elite goalie in Ilya Samsonov who is a few years away due to KHL commitments as their top prospect.  Only one writer ranked the Caps above 25 at 17. Peter Harling

Top end goalie prospect, great defensive depth, good middle six forwards coming but no high end. Pat Quinn

26. New York Rangers - 231

The Rangers two first round picks in 2017 were the first since 2012 when the Rangers picked Brady Skjei. Mortgaging the future has taken its toll on the prospect pool and until this year it was pretty weak. The draft helped replenish selecting Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil but the Rangers also looked to trade and free agency to add the like of Anthony DeAngelo , Alex Bereglazov, Neal Pionk and goalie Alexander Georgiev. Perhaps they deserve to be a little lower but one writer sees something here and ranked them at 17 to boost their score a little.  Peter Harling

Recent draft was great and bad, team relies on signings over drafting. Young prospects on roster. Pat Quinn

 

25. Detroit Red Wings - 200

Despite their AHL affiliate team Grand Rapids Griffins winning a Calder Cup the Wings rank lower than I expected. I was the outlier here ranking the Wings at 16, but they received one 31st vote and a 30th vote to pull them down.  The Wings lack a bluechip prospect even including Larkin who has disappointed after a hot start to his NHL career. The Wings do have good depth as evident by their Calder Cup win in the AHL and perhaps a lottery pick in the coming rich 2018 draft could turn their fortunes. Peter Harling

Weird draft, young talent on roster surrounded by bad contracts and not given a chance to grow in the NHL.  Pat Quinn

 

24. Chicago Blackhawks - 197

Credit to the Hawks, they have a Trophy cabinet full of Stanley Cups and are still a contending team in the salary cap era. Sure they have lost good players to the Cap, and even traded first round picks but they find value in later rounds and are astute at adding prospects via free agency. No highend prospects on the way except potentially OHL scoring sensation Alex DeBrincat. Peter Harling

A few good prospects, nothing much else. Pat Quinn

 

23. Dallas Stars – 186

The addition of Miro Heiskanen as a potential future franchise defenseman gives the Stars a big boost as well as potential future starting goalie Jake Oettinger. The 2017 NHL Draft was good to Dallas.  Peter Harling

Young talent on roster, and a few very good prospects, but the rest of the prospects are just alright

Pat Quinn

I had the Stars a bit higher than they came in here. They have some depth prospects overseas that could come over and make a real impact. Their system is pushing right now.  Joel Henderson

22. Ottawa Senators - 185

Buoyed by a triumvirate of talent at the top in the form of Thomas Chabot, Colin White and Logan Brown, along with exceptional seasons by Filip Chlapik and Marcus Hogberg save this group from being mediocre elevating it to average status. The forward ranks are solid with Francis Perron, Shane Bowers and a slowly improving Nick Paul complementing the previously mentioned trio. On the back-end, outside of Chabot, there isn't a whole lot to write home about. Ben Harpur had a nice season but the jury is still out on whether or not he can become fantasy relevant at the next level. There are a few wild cards with the likes of Max Lajoie, Christian Wolanin and Miles Gendron but it will be viewed as a bonus if they ever do make it to the NHL. Brad Phillips

Ottawa boasts elite prospects in Chabot and White, some good prospects in Logan Brown, Filip Chlapik and Hogberg, but it drops off after that. Peter Harling

21. Minnesota Wild – 174                                                                                                        

The Wild top prospects were on prominent display in the 2017 WJC with Kaprizov dominating for Russia, Greenway and Luke Kunin winning Gold with USA and Eriksson Ek playing a key role with Sweden. Beyond that the pool is shallow and Kaprizov may be staying in Russia for a while hurts his score. Peter Harling

20. Columbus Blue Jackets - 160

Led by Werenski, Columbus boasts plentiful young talent. An impressive set of forward prospects including likely new NHL full-timers Oliver Bjorkstrand and Pierre Luc-Dubois, Sonny Milano and Tyler Motte on the cusp and QMJHL Most Valuable Player Vitaly Abramov promise much. Despite lacking a first round pick this June and 45th overall selection Alexandre Texier agreeing to center KalPa of the Finnish Liiga for the next two years, there is much to like about Columbus’ ascending crew. Kevin Wickersham

Good recent draft, young players are on roster, only options coming up are middle six at best options. Pat Quinn

19. Colorado Avalanche - 153

Colorado has quietly done an excellent job deepening their prospect pool, which is starting to result in a steady stream of young competition out of camp each year in all skater positions, with many youngsters earning big roles. Hayden Soboleski

The defection of Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher raises red flags for Colorado but top prospects Tyson Jost and Cale Makar offer a bright fantasy future. The Avs score got a boost with Mikko Rantanen on the roster still eligible for this list. GM Joe Sakic needs to hit a home run with a Matt Duchene trade to further bolster the future. Peter Harling

18. Vegas Golden Knights -141

The expansion team had a wide range of grading from the writing staff with a high mark of six and a low mark of 28. Shipachyov and Theodore don’t meet the criteria for this list but their three first round picks of Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom are all A prospects. Peter Harling

If you include Theodore in this mix then they would be a bit higher on my list. Consensus opinion is their scouts did their job in 2017. Watch out for Jake Leschyshyn to see what he can do on a Memorial Cup team as the number two C. Joel Henderson

17. New Jersey Devils – 135

The Devils are a rebuilding team and winning the draft lottery will help immensely but it comes a year late. The Devils boast Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha and Michael McLeod up front but the pool this out after that. The addition of Will Butcher gives a poor defensive prospect pool a major boost. Peter Harling

High end talent on its way and developing in the forwards, defense is weak, goalie future is bright

 Pat Quinn

16. Nashville Predators – 134

Juuse Saros, Eeli Tolvanen, Vladislav Kamenev and Sam Girard headline the Preds fantasy prospects. Saros could be the starting goalie by the time the playoffs roll around and Kamenev could be in the top six by then as well. Tolvanen and Girard are a few years away but have plenty of potential. Outside of that the players have better NHL than fantasy value. Peter Harling

Talent in every position coming up, but no high end scoring. Defense and Goaltending is very strong. Pat Quinn

 

15. Anaheim Ducks – 129

Steel and Larsson have panned out thus far. Anaheim was probably much lower in the rankings on my list. Joel Henderson

Being a competitive team for several years has had an impact on the organizations ability to build high class prospects, but the scouts have done a solid job on satisfying needs with above average options all around. It will be tough to pick winners in this system, but as a collection, the future remains bright for this ‘Cali’ city. Jason Banks

14. St. Louis Blues – 127

The Blues made out like bandits at the draft fleecing the Pittsburgh Penguins for a first round pick and scooping up Klim Kostin. The Blues have several prospects ready to push for NHL jobs and the Blues left some jobs open heading into training camp. Peter Harling

After giving their prospect pool a second and third look, good heavens do they have talent still in there. There could be a number of legit impact NHLers that come from their first or second round selections since 2014. Joel Henderson

13. Florida Panthers – 115

A few individual writers scored Florida hard ranking them at 27th and 23rd while another went as high as fourth.  The consensus puts them in the middle at 13th perhaps in part because the only A prospect they own is Owen Tippett. Having under 21 roster players like Aaron Ekblad, McCann give a boost as well and the depth is decent. Perhaps there are some underrated prospects such as Adam Mascherin, jayce Hawryluk, and Henrik Borgstrom; time will tell. Peter Harling

The difference in Florida's drafting has been being able to get potential NHLer's late in the draft that are older. When you add Mamin, Malgin, Ang, Repo, and now Haapala to your top tier selection then you'll have depth and options. I like Florida's drafting strategy a lot. Joel Henderson

 

12. Vancouver Canucks – 109

Vancouver has elite prospects in every position in Thatcher Demko in goal, Olli Juolevi on defense, Brock Boeser and Jonathan Dahlen on the wings and they added Elias Pettersson at the draft. Beyond that the depth is surprisingly solid and the Canucks had a tremendous 2017 draft boosting their ranking as well. The immediate future may be bleak, but the post Sedin era is starting to brighten up. Peter Harling

With the highest rated prospect goalie, early Calder candidate winger, and a few defenders that can step right into the NHL and challenge for a powerplay unit, the Western Canadian organization looks in good shape. There is a talent drop off from ‘A-B-C class’ prospects, but the high-end hold the rating very strongly and you only need a handful to change the outlook of a club’s culture. Jason Banks

11. Tampa Bay Lightning – 107

The Bolts prospect pool is all about quantity not quality. The addition of Mikhail Sergachev gives them a top prospect but it’s a lot of B prospects after that. Tampa has several players turning pro so the Syracuse crunch will be a fun team to watch with additions of Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph, and Mitchell Stephens. Peter Harling

It's a shame that this ranking doesn't cover a team's top 20 prospects because I think Tampa's system has way more depth than others. They are going to have more NHLer caliber players than they know what to do with Joel Henderson

10. Edmonton Oilers – 105

Considering the Oilers included Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Jesse Puljujarvi as roster player under 21 they should be higher than tenth! Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones are must own A- range players but the support simply isn’t very deep beyond that. Peter Harling

High top end, very low bottom end.  Pat Quinn

9. Boston Bruins – 102

With four prospects ranked A- or better in JFK, Zach Senyshyn, Anders Bjork and Charlie McAvoy, plus roster under 21 bonus points from Brandon Carlo and David Pastrnak the Bruins boast quality high end prospects. It drops off beyond that somewhat but there are some must own fantasy options to be found as well. Peter Harling

Another team that doesn’t get many high picks, has done an excellent job with their mid-first round picks with very few misses early in the draft. Development has been a struggle in the past, but we are positive that this group will keep the organization in good shape on the ice and on your squads. Jason Banks

8. New York Islanders – 101

The Islanders seem to have been a rebuilding team since they were a dynasty in the 1980’s! The have long had a highly regarded prospect pool yet they remain a bottom or fringe team at best. It’s time the Islnders started developing their players better and they need big performances immediately from the like of Josh Ho-Sang, Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal, and Ryan Pulock or they can start planning on life after John Tavares. Peter Harling

The current Long Island cupboard is full of impact/fantasy assets at every position and has several lower-class prospects that have a strong enough development curve to make the show. The team has a very good outlook on what the scouts have compiled but that doesn’t mean they will all make their impacts with the organization. Jason Banks

7. Buffalo Sabres – 97

The Sabres rebuild has hit a few speed bumps to be sure, missing out on Connor McDavid and Mike Babcock to name two. What they do have going for them is several elite forward prospects, roster players Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart give the Sabres rank a solid boost, but the drafting of Casey Mittelstadt could pay huge dividends as he looks like a player and Alex Nylander continues to round out his game in the AHL, but his offensive upside is undeniable.  Peter Harling

Young talent spread throughout and more coming. Pat Quinn

 

6. Carolina Hurricanes – 93

Few GM’s have impressed me as much as Ron Francis. In his time he has taken over a sinking ship with empty prospect cup boards and restocked by drafting and developing, and acquiring picks and prospects via trade as well as free agency. In short order the Canes have gone from have nots, to sixth best in the NHL in terms of prospect depth. Peter Harling

 

Nothing high end coming that isn’t already on the team, depth coming is alright but nothing great. Pat Quinn

 

5. Calgary Flames – 82

They've drafted strong fantasy prospects in the last number of drafts. Adding guys like Parsons, Dube, and Fox in 2016 really propel them to the top fantasy lists. The forward depth has some boom or bust prospects but at least if they boom, they boom. Joel Henderson

Ranked in five out of nine writers top ten and as high as third overall the Flames were a surprise to me. Getting a boost from roster players Matt Tkachuk and Sam Bennett rise their standing to be sure, but there is both quality and quantity coming down the pipe in Calgary. Peter Harling

4. Winnipeg Jets – 72

Ehlers, Connor, and Laine make this team scary. That's a whole lot of talent already and it doesn't stop there. They might drop a lot lower on these lists within a couple years. I wasn't a big fan of their 2016 and 2017 drafts as a whole. Joel Henderson

The Jets have been a highly ranked prospect team for years now. It’s time for the kids to step up and carry the Jets from a team with potential to a contender. Peter Harling

3. Toronto Maple Leafs - 46

With the best talent in the NHL and some more just drafted, the middle of the road prospects is a guessing game at best, with the cards to be played undersized junior dynamos. A top-quality goalie prospect is three seasons from turning pro, a pecking order on defense is very questionable and it can be assumed some won’t make it in Toronto. The forwards are exciting to project, but reality tells you your grabbing at straws when looking at making selections. Some will surely make it, but for its above average rating, I would avoid this squad while looking to compile future talent until more roles becomes clearer. Jason Banks

The Leafs rank high because of the boost from the roster rookie Matthews, Marner, and Nylander. But despite graduating so many rookies last year (Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, Connor Carrick, Josh Leivo, and Nikita Soshnikov) there are still quality prospects in the system. The Leafs also did a good job replenishing at the draft and via free agency in the off-season. Peter Harling

2. Arizona Coyotes – 33

Last year the Toronto Maple Leafs took a big step forward powered by their trio of forward rookies and improved goaltending. The Coyotes are poised to do something similar and should be considered a fantasy shopping destination with elite offensive players in Clayton Keller and Dylan Strome. After that they have a lot of high quality support prospects in Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, Lawson Crouse and Jakob Chychrun. Peter Harling

Has a very dynamic bunch of high and mid shelf prospects that should be owned/seeked by many in fantasy circles. The organization has compiled their prospect depth in a way that pigeon-holes very few guys into defined roles at forward, many can contribute on high octane-offensive units. Jason Banks

1. Philadelphia Flyers – 21

Even without winning the Draft lottery and vaulting up to second overall pick, the Flyers still would have been first overall on this list. The embarrassment of riches they boast on the blueline is only the tip of the iceberg; Philadelphia is loaded for bear with high end prospects at every position. Peter Harling

It wasn't even close for me. Philly has the best system right now.  Joel Henderson

Having the 2nd pick at the draft, 20-year-olds found on the top forward line and top defensive unit and a trio of strongly rated goalie prospects and you will struggle to fall down a chart based on youth. The secondary prospects in the organization can be impact players or failures, but aren’t bad to take chances on. Jason Banks

 

  • FatFrodo

    Thanks for a very good and interesting piece! The one ranking that really surprised me is Calgary. Hard for me to see that they have any blue chip prospect at all. They got a few decent prospects, but I would have ranked them at least 10 spots further down.

    • tcat

      I definitely agree… Most of these descriptions don’t even name names and explain why they are ranked where they are. I mean voting is voting, but I’d like to see larger more detailed writeups

      • Peter Harling

        It was impossible to keep the post to a resonable length and go into detail of each teams rank explination. with nine writers covering 31 teams and ten or more players per team. We linked to each teams page with the latest top ten ranking and gave a brief account for each team and the post was still very long.

        Perhaps breaking it down into several posts and making it a series would work. That may be how we do it next time.

        Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it

    • Hayden Soboleski

      I ranked them close to where they ended up in the consensus, and it was definitely boosted by quantity. Between Rasmussen, Kylington and Fox on the back end,  Tkachuk, Bennett, and Jankowski up front and Gillies and Parsons in the crease, the Flames just have a huge number of exciting players, even though none are A+’s

    • rlaonde

      Tkachuk, Bennett, Fox, Kylington, Dube, Parsons, Andersson, Valimaki, Mangiapane, and Phillips.