Overvaluing prospects is something that happens in every NHL fanbase. The youngsters in your team’s system are always worth more to your team than to anyone else. Part of that is due to a lack of knowledge about other organizations, but part of it is simply blind optimism. Fans want the guys their team has drafted to turn into the best players. With that said, it’s always fun to see how prospects are ranked league-wide by people that try to be impartial.
This week, The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler released a list of the Top-50 prospects that have been drafted into the NHL. The top-3 of Rasmus Dahlin, Elias Pettersson and Andrei Svechnikov is no surprise at all. They are three great players with potential to be stars in the NHL. Lower down on the list, we see three Colorado Avalanche prospects - as well as one glaring omission.
There is no sign of 2018’s 16th overall draft pick Martin Kaut.
Kaut is seen as one of the most NHL-ready prospects from his draft class and is expected by many to make an impact on the Avalanche very quickly. Somehow, not only did he not make the top-50, Scott also didn't think Kaut was good enough to mention among his 70 honorable mentions.
Was it an oversight or does Wheeler really think Kaut isn’t one of the best 120 NHL prospects?
Michael Dal Colle made the list over Kaut. I’m an openly biased Oshawa Generals fan and even I think that’s crazy.
While the absence of Kaut is odd, here is a look at the three Avalanche prospects that did make the list:
19. Cale Makar - RD
This will seems low for some. I suspect the fact that Makar decided to go back to UMass for a second season has a lot to do with his placement on the list. Many thought he’d be ready for the NHL by now. He’s arguably the Avs’ best prospect, and right now we just need to be patient with him.
Makar is the highest ranked right-defender on the list, so that counts for something.
From The Athletic:
Makar is one of those players whose offensive gifts are unquestionably already there, and would allow him to iron out a role if he stepped into the NHL tomorrow. But he’s also still quite raw and needs to spend time playing games against good competition in order to allow that skill to adjust to the game. He’s a smart enough player in terms of his decision-making that all of that should come in time, even if he still has some kinks (gap control, physicality) that need sorting out. He’s an effortless skater and handler who can make plays from a standstill or in transition with his feet and his knack for leading his teammates with a pass. He’s going to play huge minutes as UMass-Amherst’s captain next season and that will be really good for his development. He’s already a high-end utility option as a quarterback on the power play, so much so that he was given consideration for Canada’s Olympic team.
44. Vladislav Kamenev - C
Kamenev probably shouldn’t still be on this list, but thanks to a brutal arm injury last season, he is still trying to get his NHL career going. He’s probably the third our fourth most valuable asset the Avalanche acquired in the Matt Duchene deal - a fact that is still hard to believe.
From The Athletic:
Somewhere, Joe Sakic is sitting in his office laughing about the Matt Duchene trading. LAUGHING.
47. Conor Timmins - RD
Timmins is a guy that fits in with Makar and Sam Girard as the unquestioned future of the Avalanche defense. The team’s second round pick in 2017, Timmins looked incredibly good as last year’s training camp before going on to be Canada’s best defender at the World Juniors this past winter.
The second half of the season didn’t go nearly as well. Timmins suffered a high-ankle sprain in early January and missed a good chunk of his final OHL season. When he returned for the playoffs, Timmins wasn’t the same player and was obviously still hampered by the injury.
Timmins didn’t skate at Avs prospect camp this summer. It was erroneously reported that this was due to a concussion he suffered in the playoffs, but it was really to let his ankle rest.
We should see Timmins at full strength when Avs training camp rolls round. Expect him to play a big role with the Eagles this year before making the jump to the NHL for the 2019-2020 season.
From The Athletic:
I have long fought against the biases created by international tournaments like the world juniors and under-18s but Timmins was so good for Canada at this year’s under-20s that it was hard to ignore. I didn’t expect him to play a huge role heading in and he was Canada’s best defenceman by a decent margin. Timmins is one of those kids who has just slowly developed every few months. The Greyhounds probably didn’t expect this out of him when they took him in the fourth round of the OHL draft, or even after his solid but unspectacular regular season as a rookie. But he has just continued to get better and better. Last year, when it was all said and done, he deserved to be in the mix as arguably the OHL’s best defenceman, alongside Bouchard, Nic Hague, and Sean Durzi. There’s a fluidity to his game that just makes him effective whenever he’s on the ice, and makes his partner (this year that was Rasmus Sandin) look better.