After a year of toying with a couple of different formats of the ever-popular Fastest Rising Prospects segment, I've come to realize that the information which is craved by most of you readers is the straight-forward, to-the-point type of format. Back in January, we released the retro look Fastest Rising Prospect defensemen which turned out to be just as successful as any other format, so I'm choosing to, moving forward, give you the readers exactly what you like.
Before we get into the surging forwards of 2020, I wanted to quickly revisit one of the players who were featured in the defensemen category last month. After spooling up his valuation at the World Junior tournament, fastest rising defense prospect Calen Addison was dangled as trade bait for the Pittsburgh Penguins to acquire new top-line winger Jason Zucker. My recommendation from that edition of the segment indicated that if you were in the market for a defenseman with 60-point upside, but could afford to wait at least a year before seeing any kind of production whatsoever, Addison could be your guy. After the trade, I stand by that sentiment and believe that Minnesota will do the 20-year-old justice in his development by allowing him to refine his game in Iowa next fall. It seems unlikely that they would rush him in to fill any void created in the next six months.
Moving on to the fastest rising prospects of the new year, we're observing a correction in the rankings since coming out of the holiday tournament. The U20s were paramount in boosting the value of not only Addison, but also several forward prospects. Here they are.
Jan Jenik, Arizona Coyotes
November – 378th | December – 399th (-21) | January – 116th (+283)
The 19-year-old Czech winger took a major step forward to start his first full season with the OHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. Drafted from the second-tier Czech league, Jenik had always been a candidate to one day be considered a diamond in the rough, but his immediate statement on North American soil gave some additional weight to that theory.
Unfortunately for Jenik, his Hollywood season took a turn for the worst at the World Junior tournament. After getting off to a great individual start with the Czechs, his tournament was cut short after colliding with the American prospect (with Czech lineage), Jacob Pivonka. The knee injury that he sustained on the play has held him out of competition for the last month of OHL play. While the Hamilton Bulldogs will be eager to get arguably their best player back in the lineup, not rushing back will be what is in the player's best interest. The team is currently sitting in the second half of the Eastern C