The Journey – Fastest Rising Prospects (April 2016)

Kevin LeBlanc

2016-04-16

Jaccob Slavin - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

 

Who are the NHL prospects climbing the rankings the fastest?

 

The Journey examines Dobber’s top forward and defenseman prospect lists and assesses the fast risers in the April rankings. Take a look at the Top 200 Forwards here, and the Top 50 defensemen here.

 

Forwards

 

Kyle Connor – Winnipeg Jets – Up to 6th from 24th Overall

College hockey’s leading scorer made waves this week, forgoing the rest of his University of Michigan career and signing an entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets. Connor was first in multiple scoring categories during his freshman season in Ann Arbor, including goals (35), points (71), points per game (1.87), power-play points (24) and was tied for the most hat tricks on the season with two.  The Hobey Baker finalist could have a spot in the Jets top six as early as this fall will play for the United States at the World Championships in May. 

 

Jimmy Vesey – Free Agent – Up to 9th Overall from 36th Overall

At this point, most of the hockey world is in the loop on Vesey’s decision not to sign his entry-level contract with Nashville and opt for free agency. This year’s Hobey Baker award winner could have helped the Predators down the stretch and into the playoffs as a secondary scoring option. He could rise or fall down this list based on fit when he finds an NHL home, but there is no doubt Vesey is a top offensive player who could help fantasy teams as early as next season.

 

Sebastian Aho – Carolina Hurricanes – Up to 14th Overall from 65th Overall

If the 2015 Entry Draft was redrafted today, Aho would likely jump up from his early second round draft slot based on the season he has had with his Finnish club, Kärpät. Playing alongside potential 2016 top five pick Jesse Puljujärvi, Aho scored 45 points in just 45 regular season games, and added another 13 points in 13 playoff games before losing in Game 7 of the Liiga semi-finals. There are rumblings in Carolina that he is a good camp from being on the Hurricanes roster for opening night next year.

 

Brayden Point – Tampa Bay Lightning – Up to 35th Overall from 91st Overall

Outside of the disappointment that was Canada’s WJC Tournament, Point has had the best season of his young career. Tampa’s third-round pick from 2014 (79th overall) is undersized, but he plays a well-rounded, 200-foot game and is at his best when setting his teammates up for opportunities in the offensive zone. His 53 assists for Moose Jaw this season ranked in the top ten of WHL players, despite only playing 48 games, and his 1.83 points per game finished tied with Florida prospect Jayce Hawryluk for tops in the league. Moose Jaw will need a strong comeback in their playoff series against Brandon if they are going to