The Journey – Fastest Rising Prospects (May 2016)

Kevin LeBlanc


Jakub Vrana - USA TODAY Sports Media


The Journey examines Dobber’s top forward and defenseman prospect lists and assesses the fast risers in the May rankings.




Jakub Vrana – Washington Capitals – Up to 20th from 37th Overall

Yet another forward drafted in the middle of the first round by Washington, a team that feels like they haven’t picked in the top-eight in ages yet continues to stockpile lethal forwards from Europe. The Czech-born Vrana was the 13th pick of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, selected for his ability to consistently create offense for himself and his linemates. He joined the Capitals system late last season from the Swedish League, and appeared in 10 games for Hershey during their playoff run, scoring six points. An early season wrist injury kept him out of the lineup for the better part of this season, but when he recovered he averaged close to a point per game for the Bears. With 34 points in 36 games during the regular season and thus far adding nine points in his first 10 playoff games of this year, its obvious that Vrana’s offense translates to the North American game. Given the Capitals glut of top-nine talent, they have the ability to keep Vrana in the AHL next year and let him dominate, but don’t be surprised if he makes his NHL at some point in the 2016-17 season.


Timo Meier – San Jose Sharks – Up to 32nd Overall from 51st Overall

If there was anything positive that came out of San Jose missing the playoffs last season, it was the opportunity to draft the talented Meier ninth overall. After piling up 90 points for Halifax of the Quebec League in his draft year, Meier started slowly out of the gate for a Mooseheads team destined for a second to last place finish. Looking to gain future assets for their best player, Halifax shipped their captain to Rouyn-Noranda where he returned to form. In 29 regular season games for the Huskies, the Swiss-born Meier put up 51 points, and tacked on 23 more in 18 playoff games en route to the QMJHL title. The big-bodied winger is a perfect fit for both the Sharks system and roster due to his style of play and the fact that they have some forwards who will be retiring in the next few seasons. With a strong camp, Meier could challenge for a spot in San Jose as early as next year. 


Brock Boeser – Vancouver Canucks – Up to 75th Overall from 112th Overall

Outside of Kyle Connor, Boeser had the best freshman season in the NCAA’s last year. Playing on a line with Oilers recent signee Drake Caggiula and Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz, the Minnesota-born 2015 first round pick finished third in college hockey in scoring with 60 points in 44 games. The freshman was a vital player, relied upon to be a primary scorer and helped lead North Dakota to their first NCAA Championship since 2000. He has already stated that he will return to Grand Forks for his sophomore season, but is a candidate to jump directly to the NHL when his college career is wrapped up. Depending on how long UND’s season goes in defense of their title, he could make his NHL debut for the Canucks at the end of the 2016-17 season.