The Hockey News

The Hockey News Future Watch 2019

The Hockey News is an iconic, authoritative and trusted voice of hockey. It was founded in 1947 and grew to become known as The Bible of Hockey. Once a tabloid newspaper, it has evolved into a multi-platform brand that goes deeper and broader than anyone in the industry. The Hockey News publishes regular editions plus its special editions that include the Yearbook, Ultimate Pool Guide and Money and Power.

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4 Min
boston bruins: feast or famine

B–/RANK 22 THE OPPORTUNITY WAS THERE, but nobody seized it. One year after five rookies made an apparently permanent jump to the NHL, no newcomer forwards made a significant impact on Boston’s roster in 2018-19 despite two top-nine positions being left up for grabs in training camp. The status of a top prospect such as center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson isn’t necessarily diminished, however. The B’s simply found he needed to do more work in certain areas, and that was better served at the AHL level. On the positive side, several defense prospects were pushed into NHL duty because of injuries and showed they were on the right track. 5-YEAR TREND 1. URHO VAAKANAINEN D, 20, 6-1, 185Providence (AHL)25–2–10–12–62017 draft, 18th overallOVERALL 39 The first half of a planned season of adjustment to North American hockey…

4 Min
ottawa senators: cupboard is full

B+/RANK 6 A STEP BACK TO take a step forward. A year ago, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Pierre Dorion decided a full rebuild was the best route to take to get this organization back to respectability. A year later, the road is tough, but they feel they’ve got the right pieces in place. “This cupboard is filled with a lot of NHL players,” Dorion said. “We feel these guys are going to be NHL players, and they’re going to fill different roles when they’re ready to do so…We’re excited we have these guys coming.” And there’s a plethora of draft picks in the pipeline as well, so the prospect pool is only going to get deeper. 5-YEAR TREND 1. ERIK BRANNSTROM D, 19, 5-10, 173Belleville (AHL)43–7–22–29–38Trade (Veg), Feb. 25, 2019OVERALL 11 The…

4 Min
columbus blue jackets: no bob? no prob

B–/RANK 23 THE SERGEI BOBROVSKY ERA is coming to a close in Columbus, but that might not be the devastating news it seems to be. The Blue Jackets have never been better stocked with goaltending prospects, two of whom are right on the cusp of beginning their pro careers. Elvis Merzlikins could very well assume Bobrovsky’s No. 1 job within a year, while Veini Vehvilainen could challenge him for starting duty in 2020-21. The Jackets are the only team in Future Watch with three goalies among their top 10 prospects. Who knows how long Daniil Tarasov will remain in Russia, but he could be the most talented of the bunch. 5-YEAR TREND 1. LIAM FOUDY C, 19, 6-1, 182London (OHL)57–35–31–66–302018 draft, 18th overallOVERALL 51 Foudy is an elite skater, but the question is whether his…

4 Min
colorado avalanche: deep, soon deeper

B/ RANK 13 THE AVALANCHE HAVE THEIR best cast of prospects in the six-year tenure of GM Joe Sakic – and it’s only going to improve by having two first-round draft picks in 2019 and five picks in the first three rounds. Colorado owns Ottawa’s first- and third-round selections as the final pieces of the Matt Duchene trade from 2017. There is immediate excitement about three 2017 draftees (one via Ottawa) – each chosen within the first 32 picks – plus 2018 first-rounder Martin Kaut and fellow Czech native Pavel Francouz. Also, the Avs can now keep closer tabs on their prospects with their AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, just 50 miles north of Denver. 5-YEAR TREND 1 CALE MAKAR D, 20, 6-0, 192Massachusetts (HE)33–13–27–40–252017 draft, 4th overallOVERALL 1 Avs fans should be salivating. Makar,…

4 Min
chicago blackhawks: safety in numbers

B–/RANK 19 THE RETOOLING BLACKHAWKS ARE going through a transition on defense. GM Stan Bowman and staff maintain help is on the way. Chicago has focused on stockpiling mobile, puckhandling defensemen via the draft for the past several years and some of the picks are showing signs of breaking through. Henri Jokiharju, a first-round selection in 2017, has impressed this season and could soon be a consistent contributor. But most of the Hawks’ young D-men remain works in progress in the AHL or junior, and time isn’t on the NHL squad’s side. Two-time Norris winner Duncan Keith is starting to show his age, and Brent Seabrook is a couple steps slower. 5-YEAR TREND 1. ADAM BOQVIST D, 18, 6-0, 181London (OHL)50–19–37–56–102018 draft, 8th overallOVERALL 12 Boqvist is an electric offensive defenseman who looked good for…

4 Min
can't win for losing

THIS SPRING, WE WILL be treated to one of the most gruesome draft lotteries ever to grace the NHL since the ping-pong balls first bounced in 1995. As with many tales of woe this year, the Ottawa Senators stand in the eye of the vortex thanks to the ill-fated 2017 trade that sent Kyle Turris to Nashville, Matt Duchene to Ottawa and a conditional first-round pick to Colorado, among other pieces. At the time, the deal was seen as a very intriguing three-way swap – a win for the Avs, but not necessarily a bad one for Nashville or Ottawa. But with apologies to Kenny Rogers, let’s drop in to see what condition that conditional pick is in. Yes, it is very possible that the lowly Senators could win the lottery only…