The countdown of the top 100 prospects in hockey is back with this week’s installment and the seeding is getting more and more difficult as the cream rises to the top.
40. Jared McCann, Vancouver Canucks
Height/Weight: 6’0” / 179
Drafted: 24th overall in the first round of the 2014 draft by Vancouver
McCann has made the jump from junior straight into the NHL with the Canucks. Vancouver is a team in transition and McCann represents a significant part of that team’s future going forward. He’s a good two-way center who has played in limited minutes in his rookie season, frequently being used in a defensive bottom six role and an occasional press box scratch. His modest point production of eight goals and 16 points as a 19-year-old suggest he projects as a potential second or third-line center.
Mobile and effective at both ends of the ice, McCann is a modern embodiment of the possession game. In addition to his smarts, he does not lack for skills. The Greyhound has high end vision and makes crisp passes all around the zone. What sets him apart however, and suggests the ability to be a top-six center, is his elite wrist shot which has both power and accuracy. His slapshot is also a weapon, although not to the same extent. He could stand to improve his top end speed, but he makes up for any long-range shortcomings with a strong first few steps. – Hockey Prospectus
39. Daniel Sprong, Pittsburgh Penguins
Position: Right/Left Wing
Height/Weight: 6’0” / 181
Drafted: 46th overall in the second round of the 2015 draft by Pittsburgh
Sprong had a breakout season as a rookie in the QMJHL with Charlottetown scoring just over a point per game with 68 points in 67 games. In his draft year he improved on that to 88 points in 68 games. He continued his success by making the Penguins roster out of training camp and stuck with the team for until December, when he was returned after playing in only 18 games as a result of being a regular in the press box.
In his 18 games Sprong only managed to score two goals, but has rediscovered his offense in the Q where he has 46 points in the final 33 games and is pacing the Islanders in playoff scoring with eight points in four games. Clearly he was not quite ready for the NHL, and after his season in Charlottetown is over some AHL seasoning could be the next step.
A prolific scoring winger who possesses an elite-level skillset: has dynamic skating ability, is a creative passer, and has incredible puckhandling ability. While he is offensively dominant, he is also defensively responsible. A very hard working player who strives to improve all aspects of his game. Absolutely electric – Elite Prospects
38. Haydn Fleury, Carolina Hurricanes
Height/Weight: 6’3” / 207
Drafted: Seventh overall in the first round of the 2014 draft by Carolina
After his draft year, Fleury didn’t develop as many had expected and his value took a hit. He has rebounded nicely after a strong showing at training camp this summer, and has put in a solid season for the Red Deer Rebels scoring 41 points in 56 games with a plus-18.
Fleury was also named to the Canadian world Junior team where he produced one point in five games. The development of Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce along with the addition of Noah Hanifin should continue to push Fleury who has excellent top four, two-way defenseman upside once he arrives. There is no need to rush him along.
Fleury is a big, physical blueliner who shows good offensive ability. He’s strong and balanced on his skates, keeps his head up and understands developing plays. He rubs opposing forwards out and isn’t shy to make a solid hit. Future Considerations
37. Shea Theodore, Anaheim Ducks
Height/Weight: 6’2” / 195
Drafted: 26th overall in the first round of the 2013 draft by Anaheim
Theodore had his first look at the NHL when he was recalled to replace an injured Cam Fowler. He didn’t disappoint; scoring two goals and four assists in 13 games. The Ducks have the luxury of a deep defense but there have been rumors they may shop one of their defense for some scoring help such as Jonathan Drouin. Theodore could play top four and run a NHL power play now and will force his way onto the roster by the start of next season one way or another.
Theodore is a high-end offensive force on the backend. Often compared to Mike Green of the Washington Capitals he possesses many of the same attributes. He can skate, score, play the point on the powerplay and can find the open areas on the ice with ease. Can skate like the wind and has a great range of motion and holds all the intangibles that most NHL clubs value in a young player. Dobber Prospects
37. Timo Meier, San Jose Sharks
Position: Right Wing
Height/Weight: 6’1” / 212
Drafted: Ninth overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by San Jose
Meier had a very good training camp with the Sharks and survived until the final round of cuts before being assigned to his junior team, the Halifax Mooseheads. After another excellent showing at the World Junior on Team Switzerland where he scored five points in six games, he was traded to a contending team in the QMJHL, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
His offense improved on a stronger team and has dominated the post season with seven goals and six assists for 13 points in a four game series sweep of Drummondville. Meier will turn pro next year and could make the jump right to the Sharks top six.
A winger with a great wrist and slapshot who loves to use it. His quick release makes it hard for goaltenders to track the shot. Uses all of his shot arsenal. Good first steps and speed but could be more agile. Has a good offensive mind and is always looking to put himself in a good shooting spot. Good play away from the puck in the offensive zone, though not in his own zone. Tends to make blind passes and turns the puck over too many times. Improved his physical play and is willing to use his body but still needs to use his size better in corner battles and while protecting the puck. Rather shoots than passes. Shows hockey sense and is making himself always available for a pass. His point production exploded this season and he elevated his game to a new level but this should be enjoyed with caution as he is on the teams most dominant offensive line together with 9th overall pick Nikolaj Ehlers. – Scouting Factory