The Journey: Fastest Rising Prospect Forwards – February 2019

Brayden Olafson


I’d like to extend an extra thank you to Dobber this week for doing a major revision of his rankings. The changes have led to a few major shuffles in the list and some new and exciting profiles for us to devour today! If you haven't caught the entire list yet, you can find it here.

Prior to getting into the profiles though, I have to point out a minor discrepancy in my own personal angle, and Dobber’s most current list. Now this might just be a factor of the recent changes to the list, or it could be a simple difference of opinion, but last week I included a short bit on Jake Leschyshyn of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. I discussed how Jake has struggled to make improvements to his offensive touch since being traded from Regina in this, his last stint in the WHL. Ironically, the Golden Knights’ prospect comes in at third on the list of fastest rising prospects in terms of actual places jumped.

Since taking over The Journey in November, I’ve tried to focus on the profiles of the players who’ve jumped the most places, regardless of where they jumped to, and from. In some cases, I’ve ended up bouncing around in the list a bit, in order to cover profiles that have been steadily on the rise, or avoid players who’ve been detailed quite recently by The Journey. I also like to keep the most relevant players in our cycle, so more often than not, a player who has jumped 30 spots to 70th will win out over a player who has jumped 45 spots to 190th. As such, this week we’re going to skip over Leschyshyn and focus on a few of the other interesting names on Dobber’s list.

Emil Bemstrom, Columbus Blue Jackets | DEC 2018 – 368 | JAN 2019 – 266 (+102) | NOW – 91 (+175)

Bemstrom’s success as a rookie in the SHL took a little time to reach legitimate status on Dobber’s list, but now that he’s proven to be more than a flash in the pan, we’re done sleeping on him. The Blue Jackets’ fourth-round-pick from 2017 is finding the net consistently and blowing his previous projections out of the water.

Considering the teams’ current status as a fringe contender with the two most high-profile pending UFA’s on their roster, it’s difficult to assume what kind of opportunity might be available for Columbus prospects in the near future. While Bemstrom should receive every opportunity to crack an opening night roster in the fall of 2019, it’s very possible that he’s not perfectly suited for the NHL quite yet. As with most prospects, the right opportunity is as much a key to their success as their own skill-set, and that’s just all too difficult to predict at this point. At the time of his draft Bemstrom’s certainty as an NHL player was much lower, hence the fourth-round selection, however he’s always possessed the skill-set of a dynamic offensive winger. After proving that he is more than capable of executing the same range of offense against grown men, his chances of becoming a successful NHL player h