I didn’t want to be super strict with the criteria for these prospect rankings. Some of the prospects listed will have NHL time under their belts but not a ton. A team like Ottawa has a very deep system, and some players have gone up and down. I like the mix here, and they’ve done a nice job over the last few seasons re-stocking their system.
1. Tim Stuetzle – The center or wing, depending on how it goes changed the spelling of his name since the NHL Draft! He got injured in practice with Adler Manheim before their season started so it will be interesting to see if he rehabs there or just jumps straight to the NHL. It will depend on when he’s 100% and when the NHL starts up.
2. Jake Sanderson – This defenseman can do it all. He has some offense, and how much is the biggest question. What’s not in question is his terrific skating, hockey I.Q. and puck retrieval. He’s going to have a long NHL career whenever that starts.
3. Erik Brannstrom – He skates well and moves the puck with ease, but his offensive game hasn’t kicked in yet at the NHL level. He got some time there, but the 21-year-old was still playing protected minutes. He’s doing well in the Swiss League currently and will be recalled when the season starts to see if he can finally start putting up some points.
4. Josh Norris – This center had a great year in the AHL playing for Belleville. He had 31 goals and 61 points in 56 games. His talent has been on display before at the University of Michigan and on the international stage. He’s a sneaky shooter and a terrific passer
5. Alex Formenton – This winger is fast, he gains the zone quickly, and he can and will score some goals. He had 27 goals in 61 games with Belleville. He’s 21, but a lot of players his age played more games in juniors. He might make the big club. This could depend on the AHL’s start date.
6. Shane Pinto – He’s a fast, smart, goal-scoring center. He had 59 points in 56 games in two seasons in the USHL. From there, he attended the University of North Dakota and scored 16 goals in 33 games. During that season, he had four goals and seven points for Team USA in the 2020 U20 World Junior Championship.
7. Jacob Bernard-Docker – This smooth and steady defenseman has a strong, accurate slap shot, and he’s a precision passer. He sucked up a lot of the top minutes at the University of North Dakota. Last season, he had 25 points in 32 games.
8. Jonny Tychonick – He’s another defenseman with good speed and a great shot. He only had 11 points in 24 games with dwindling minutes thanks to his teammate. Hey, there’s only so much room for top d-men in a college program, so Tychonick transferred to UNO (Omaha) and won’t miss time. This is a great move for his development.
9. Logan Brown – This big center can be physical and he can score a bit. Many have written him off regarding being a top prospect for Ottawa. Last season, the 6-6 forward had 28 points in 25 games for Belleville and eight in 23 for the big club. He can play a bottom-six role, and at 22, I won’t give up on him.
10. Joey Daccord – This netminder helped put the Arizona State University hockey program on the map. He’s the first player from that program to play in the NHL. His father is a noted goalie coach. Ottawa just re-signed him, and it may be to expose him in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. At 24, he needs a break. I like his athleticism, rebound control, and stickwork.