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Future Watch 2020

Future Watch 2020

The Hockey News' Future Watch 2020 has all the staples of our popular annual prospect-blowout: our Top 100 list, Top 10s and team grades for every franchise, and Sneak Peeks at the next three NHL drafts. Also in the issue, we have features on the how Seattle is building a team from scratch, and prospects Bowen Byram, Kirill Kaprizov, Moritz Sieder and Trevor Zegras.

TEAM REPORTS

San Jose Sharks

SING A HAPPY TUNE The Blues know their system isn’t top-notch, but that’s the price you pay for success. Nobody’s complaining RANK: C+ / 21 THE STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS don’t have many young forwards in their pipeline, but that’s OK because they have several veterans signed to long-term deals. The Blues’ cupboard, meanwhile, is chock full of defensemen (four) and goalies (three). Many were taken in the third round or later, just like Colton Parayko back in 2012. “You’re hoping through your savvy picking that one of them turns out to be the quality of a Parayko,” said assistant GM and director of amateur scouting Bill Armstrong. “Hey listen, you’re picking in the back of the pack, so you’re throwing a lot of darts. But I like what’s assembled, there are some complementary…

The Last Word

BAN ON FIGHTING IS STILL JUST TALK

THE QMJHL MADE HEADLINES recently with the revelation that the major-junior league was exploring the idea of a full fighting ban, which would make the ‘Q’ the first of the CHL’s three circuits (along with the WHL and OHL) to do so. There are benefits to the idea, and it would be a public-relations win in many corners, but I don’t think it’s going to happen – not yet, anyhow. Speaking with someone inside the league, it doesn’t sound like they believe it’s going to happen either. While the presidents and owners of the QMJHL were set to vote on the issue in late February, the matter was postponed at the last minute, and now we’re looking at August. The league would need two-thirds of its members to vote in favor…

TEAM REPORTS

Vegas Golden Knights

ALWAYS IN THE HUNT It’s unusual for an expansion team to eschew development and hang with the contenders. Vegas finds a way RANK: B- / 20 VEGAS GAMBLED AWAY SOME of its future to roll the dice on the present. Moves that dealt original first-round picks Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom were unexpected from a team in just its third year of existence, but the Golden Knights’ success expedited matters, and they had to ship out some highly regarded prospects to address immediate needs. That’s not to say, however, that the prospect cupboard is bare. In fact, Vegas’ depth of talent made those trades easier to make. As salary-cap concerns become more of an issue, the Golden Knights will be looking for players on entry-level deals to become factors by next season. 1. PEYTON…

2022 SNEAK PEEK

PLAYERS TO WATCH

SHANE WRIGHT C, Kingston (OHL) Living up to his exceptional-status designation, Wright led the OHL in rookie scoring by more than 20 points and broke Bernie Nicholls’ freshman goals record in Kingston. SCOUT SAYS: “One of those kids that, if he’s not putting up points, he’s still valuable, because he’s so good without the puck all over the ice. He’s going to be a superstar in the NHL.” BRAD LAMBERT RW, HIFK Jr. (Fin.) The Finnish-Canadian kid has already made his Liiga debut. Comes from a big hockey family that includes uncle Lane Lambert, associate coach of the New York Islanders. SCOUT SAYS: “Big-time skater, likes to carry the puck. Very good wrist shot. Still has some immaturity in his game like many his age, but his offensive talent is undeniable.” RUTGER McGROARTY C, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies (U-15) One of…