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Future Watch 2021

Future Watch 2021

The Hockey News' annual Future Watch edition – now 100 pages! – has all the staples of our popular prospect issue: the 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 Ottawa Senators, Trevor Zegras, Quinton Byfield, Spencer Knight and much more.


Colorado Avalanche

A– | Rank: 6th THREE OF THE AVALANCHE’S top prospects played for gold at the 2021 world juniors and three others have begun their pro careers in North America and a fourth in Finland. The top-10 list is split between six forwards, three defensemen and a goalie, and the cupboard is stocked for an organization with Cup aspirations now and down the road. “It’s a committed cause and we’ve never seen it to be more important than maybe right now,” said assistant GM Craig Billington. “We have a confident group of individuals, both on the development side and the coaching side, and we like how we’re developing players.” 1. ALEX NEWHOOK C, 20, 5-11, 195Boston College (HE)12–7–9–16–82019 draft, 16th overall OVERALL 11 Compared to a young Joe Sakic with an explosive wrist shot, the 2020…


Los Angeles Kings

A | Rank: 3rd REBOOTS ARE BIG BUSINESS in Los Angeles, where the Kings are working on a revival of their own. For a glimpse of the organization’s future, a screening of their recent past might be in order. The franchise won two Cups on the backs of homegrown talents Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty. If the current crop of high-end prospects – Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, Tobias Bjornfot and Gabe Vilardi – become stars, the team will contend again. Do the Kings have a Cobra Kai-level hit or will they be hosting The Babysitter’s Club? The prospects will determine this reboot’s watchability. 1. QUINTON BYFIELD C, 18, 6-4, 215Ontario (AHL)21–6–10–16–142020 draft, 2nd overall OVERALL 2 Byfield has “a high motor, the skating and good size,” said Nelson Emerson, the Kings’…



GETTING A HANDLE ON player development in 18- and 19-year-old prospects is a tough challenge for even the best scouts in the business. Now, try doing it when they’re not even playing hockey or have played just a handful of games. And for those prospects who have played semi-regularly, try scouting them through a computer screen displaying video focused mainly on the puck and the players closest to it. Scouts like to watch prospects from the upper corner in an arena because they can see what prospects do away from the puck. That vantage point invariably hints at a player’s anticipation and hockey sense. It’s part of the eye test. The 2020-21 bump-in-the-road season wasn’t easy for scouts to assess prospects. We asked a panel of nine of them to forecast the…



YOU CAN’T GET MUCH more Edmonton than Dylan Guenther. Born and raised in the Alberta capital, the gifted right winger has literally spent his entire hockey career in the city, and now he’s a star for the WHL’s Oil Kings. Thanks in part to Edmonton’s famed Brick Tournament, a 10-year-old Guenther saw his passion crystallize. “That was a big goal of mine, to play in that tournament,” Guenther said. “I watched it as I grew up, and when I finally achieved that goal, it gave me the sense that I wanted to play when I was older. It gave me some confidence to keep moving forward and be the best I could be.” Guenther has certainly been making that case since. After compiling a gaudy 103 points in 30 games for the…