I know there is a separate prospects forum but this board isn't active enough yet to break up its threads into multiple forums (need to consolidate). Thought this would be a good time start this conversation.
With how thin we look down the middle and having just attended a Monsters game this topic has been itching at me a bit. Sadly I think this the shallowest prospect pool we have had in a long time. There is very little to get super excited about and it doesn't help that we gave up our 1st rounder this past year to Vegas to protect Andy, lost Karlsson in the expansion draft and gave up a 2nd rounder for signing Torts (bad rule that was reversed right after we signed him but too late for us).
Monsters: man that was not pretty! Carlsson might be a future NHLer and maybe Vigneault is a 4th line C in the future but overall I saw very little to get excited about. The two goalies are clearly just filler until Elvis makes his way to North America and there are no dynamic players like they had a couple of seasons ago with OB, Z and Andy.
So who do we have to get excited about?
G Elvis Merzlikins: can't wait to see this kid come to North America. I suspect he is on the short list for the Olympics so he might play some better competition than he is right now. The kid shines every time he gets on a bigger stage. He may be 10th in GAA (in a fourteen team league) but his Save Percentage is 6th so he is getting peppered with shots.
D Andrew Peeke: I think it raised a lot of eyebrows when we drafted him in the second round last year (considered a reach?). My buddy in S Florida knows the family...sounds like a nice kid. He has 1 G and 8 Pts as a sophomore at Notre Dame (CBJ fans could see him play of they catch him against OSU in Columbus). The big news for him right now is that he earned a spot on the World Juniors team for USA. That tournament starts in two days...hoping he opens some eyes!
RW Kole Sherwood: Suspect the local kid will be in Cleveland next season. He's been a point/game player in the OHL the last two seasons and he plays with a chip but I was hoping he would really blow up this year like many over-agers do,
RW Vitalii Abramov: VA is being VA yet again. 17 Gs and 45 Pts in 29 Games. After finishing 4th and 1st the last two years in the Q, this year he is #3 and could be #2 before the calendar turns to 2018.
C Alexandre Texier: Jarmo saw something in him...he traded up this year in order to draft him. This is his first year playing in a legit competitive Euro league. Despite being far younger than most of the team and playing just 12:30 per game, he is 2nd on the team in goals and 6th in scoring. Would love to see him in Cleveland next season.
G Daniil Tarasov: This one's just a baby who missed all of last season with an injury but Jarmo saw enough talent in him to snag him in the 3rd round. He's playing in the KHL's junior league so I don't know what its comparable to...suspect its kinda like the Canadian Juniors. Tarasov has some pretty good numbers...14-7-5 in 26 Games with a 1.84 GAA and .925 Save Percentage. If I am reading their stats correctly, that's good for 7th in both stats out of like 50 qualifying goalies (15 starts or more). He's young but doing what he needs to do where he is right now. Worth following!
C/RW Emil Bemstrom: The kid is just 18 and playing in the Swedish junior league but the kid has skills 5 Gs and 9 Pts in 16 Games. Interested in seeing how he develops.