In this weeks Journey we take a closer look at some of the fast risers up Dobber’s 215 Prospects list this season.
Nick Ritchie – Anaheim Ducks – 2014 1st Round, 10th Overall
2015-16 Stats: (AHL – San Diego) 25 GP, 14G, 9A, 23 Points, 46 PIMs
In his first season in the AHL, the big bodied winger has showcased some of the talent that made him a top ten pick two seasons ago. At 6-2, 235 pounds, Ritchie has never lacked the rare combination of NHL size and talent, which should help push him through Anaheim’s system quickly. With 23 points in his first 25 professional games, Ritchie has proven he is more than capable of scoring at the AHL level. He earned his first call-up to the NHL, an 11 game stint in late November, where he earned his first NHL point. He should battle for a full-time spot in the Ducks lineup next season.
Kerby Rychel – Columbus Blue Jackets – 2013 1st Round, 19th Overall
2015-16 Stats: (AHL – Springfield) 21 GP, 5G, 15A, 20 Points, 45 PIMs
(NHL – Columbus) 14 GP, 0G, 5A, 5 Points
After putting together a solid first season with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons last season (33 points in 51 games), Rychel has taken a significant step forward in his second professional season. Playing at a close to a point-per-game pace in the AHL this season, Rychel has shown some of the multi-category talent that has made him a hot commodity among fantasy owners in dynasty leagues. The young winger has had two stints in the NHL thus far this season. In his last three games, he has recorded two points playing on a line with Brandon Dubinsky, but has yet to see serious ice time at even strength or on the power play.
Hunter Shinkaruk – Vancouver Canucks – 2013 1st Round, 24th Overall
2015-16 Stats: (AHL – Utica) 31 GP, 15G, 14A, 29 Points
(NHL – Vancouver) 1 GP, 0G , 0A, 0 Points
After a season with some question marks last year for the Utica Comets (31 points in 74 games), Shinkaruk has improved drastically in his second professional season. Humming along at close to a point-per-game pace this season, earned Shinkaruk a one game call up to the Canucks in November. Even though he did not record a point in his NHL debut, there will be plenty of scoring down the road from the former Medicine Hat Tiger. Although he has elite offensive ability that the Canucks have lacked in the last couple seasons, Shinkaruk is still building strength and is likely to benefit from a whole season in Utica.
Maxim Letunov – Arizona Coyotes – 2014 2nd Round, 52nd Overall
2015-16 Stats: (University of Connecticut) 21 GP, 8G, 15A, 23 Points
The Russian born Letunov played the last couple seasons with Youngstown of the USHL, moving on to the University of Connecticut this fall. His 23 points in 21 games lead the Huskies in scoring and are third among all college freshman behind first round draft picks Kyle Connor and Colin White. At 6-4 and only 170 pounds, Letunov will need to use his time in college hockey to add weight to his frame and continue to develop defensively. He likely will spend a couple seasons with UCONN before beginning his professional career.
Tobias Lindberg – Ottawa Senators – 2014 4th Round, 102nd Overall
2015-16 Stats: (AHL – Binghamton) 26 GP, 4G, 14A, 18 Points
Lindberg had a dynamite year last season for the Oshawa Generals, his first in North America after making the jump from Sweden. He was one of the breakout stars in the OHL after putting up 78 points in 67 games in the regular season and adding 14 more in 16 playoff games, winning the Memorial Cup along the way. The dynamic winger has had a solid start to his professional career, and shouldn’t be too far off earning a chance in Ottawa once he gets a few more AHL games under his belt.
Nicolas Roy – Carolina Hurricanes – 2015 4th Round, 96th Overall
2015-16 Stats: (QMJHL – Chicoutimi) 37 GP, 25G, 23A, 48 Points
Roy could end up being one of the steals of the 2015 Entry Draft when all is said and done. The former first overall pick of the QMJHL slipped to the 4th round after a mediocre season for Chicoutimi in 2014-15, but has showcased the ability that made him a top overall talent. He was one of the most impressive players in the Hurricanes prospect camp this summer, flashing his size, skill and work ethic. Roy will likely slot as a middle-six center in Carolina, and is a player who already is an ace in the faceoff circle. He will be one to watch as he transitions from junior to the next level.
Christian Fischer – Arizona Coyotes – 2015 2nd Round, 32nd Overall
2015-16 Stats: (OHL – Windsor) 40 GP, 21G, 33A, 54 Points
After two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program, Fischer was tabbed to play college hockey at Notre Dame. Instead, the American-born winger reversed course, signing an entry-level deal with Arizona and committing to the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. Fischer’s jump to the OHL has been flawless, playing at over a point-per-game pace this season. He was a surprise omission from the United States’ World Junior Championship team, especially given his USNTDP pedigree, but the disappointment has not slowed him down. Windsor is currently in first place in the OHL’s West division, with Fischer leading the way.
Dominik Simon – Pittsburgh Penguins – 2015 5th Round, 137th Overall
2015-16 Stats: (AHL – Wilkes-Barre Scranton) 37 GP, 12G, 17A, 29 Points
After two seasons playing professionally in the Czech Republic, Simon made the jump to North America this season and is developing quickly with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Named as a 2016 AHL All-Star, Simon is third in scoring among rookies. As a 21 year-old, the forward was old for his draft year, which could explain his fast development path. Simon is capable of playing multiple forward positions and is a willing fore checker with offensive ability, which could get him into the Penguins lineup by the end of the 2015-16 season.
Colton Parayko – St. Louis Blues – 2012 3rd Round, 86th Overall
2015-16 Stats: (NHL – St. Louis) 45 GP, 6G, 11A, 17 Points
As one of the early season fantasy surprises, Parayko has been extremely effective in his rookie season in the NHL. Currently leading all first year blue liners in scoring, Parayko is also performing very well in terms of his advance stats. His 11.12 CorsiOn is second among Blues defensemen, and he has not been overwhelmingly sheltered, starting 51% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Look for Parayko to continue his solid play in the second half of the season, likely finishing the year with 30-35 points.
Brandon Montour – Anaheim Ducks – 2014 2nd Round, 55th Overall
2015-16 Stats: (AHL – San Diego) 33 GP, 6G, 24A, 30 Points
Last season, Montour moved through three levels of hockey, spending time in the USHL (Waterloo), College Hockey (UMass) and the AHL (Norfolk), thriving at each stop along the way. The young defenseman has been terrific in his first full professional season with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL, being named an AHL All-Star. His 30 points lead all rookie scorers this season, and are second among all AHL defensemen this year. It’s doubtful Montour will be rushed to the NHL this season due to Anaheim’s defensive depth, but he’s playing well enough that he may force a call-up before the end of the year.
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