Part 1: BRHL Youth

Impact players for next year?

Part 1: BRHL youth - Impact players for next year?


In this article, we will look at top candidates from each team’s AHL and prospect lists to break through in the NHL and make an impact in the BRHL next season. We will publish this in two versions, given the depth and volume of review.


Eastern Conference




Brett Leason – time is running out for Leason to make an impact. As an overager he broke through in Juniors making the WJC out of nowhere that saw him drafted in the 2nd round. It is now or never.

Helge Grans – moved to the Flyers in the Provorov deal. He is solid defensive dman and with a rebuilding Flyers team in the NHL, he may break through



Zero players – I cannot see an impact player coming this year, though Alexander Nikishin would qualify if he were not signed to the KHL for another season if not two!


Blue Jackets

Tyson Foerster – had a good run in the NHL at end of year and confidently likely to start season with Flyers. Big man with good hands, former first rounder likely here to stay with rebuilding team.



Mavrik Bourque – Bourque has put up solid numbers in the AHL and is ready to push for a roster spot. Former first rounder will be a solid third liner this year.

Connor Zary – Sutter did not like kids and is part of the reason I think he was moved out. Zary is ready to break out after two AHL seasons. I think is a dark horse for runner up ROY as no one taking from Bedard unless he gets injured!

Hendrix Lapierre – former first rounder has skills galore but concussions have been a question. Will compete with fellow wingers McMichael and Mirosnishenkov for time on a retooled NHL Capitals lineup. 

Jesper Wallstedt – the premier young netminder is ready for NHL duty when called on. Wild have good depth though with Gustavsson and Fleury, so would depend on if one of them moved. I can see that happening as the NHL Kings I suspect will be on blower for goaltender at some point, relying on the aged Talbot.



Aliaksei Protas – monster of an individual played a bottom six role. Has hands and with bigger opportunity in Washington, could he find a bigger role?

Jake Neighbours – Solid winger played depth role in St. Louis last season. Near a point per game in AHL, the Blues could use a young player to step it up and get back to the playoffs.

Jakob Pelletier – See Connor Zary above. He played limited minutes in 24 games for Sutter lead Flames last year. I look for the kids to be joining the NHL Flames in a big way and a breakthrough from Pelletier. He has the skills with near a point per game in AHL in 101 games, will he get the opportunity?

Chaz Lucius – with turmoil of player turnover pending in Winnipeg, the former first rounder might get a chance with the pending youth movement. He had almost 0.5ppg in AHL and 2.5 pts/gp in AHL in limited action. The kid is ready.



Otto Koivula – big men take longer and this is a monster. Played 8 games the last few seasons and could be the breakthrough player on an Isles team desperate for some hands. With 72 points in 102 games played the last two years, he might just be the guy.

Ville Heinola – 10 and 12 games in NHL last few seasons, Heinola is cooked enough in minors. Look for him to play a growing role for NHL Jets with PP time.



Ozzy Wiesblatt – SJ is in full rebuild and as such, might get some icetime in the NHL. Former first rounder had a modest AHL season last year, but with playing time up for grab, might surprise.

Luke Hughes – the kid is a stud and will be the number one defensemen in no time in NJ. Hamilton will be relegated soon enough. Will make BRHL debut next season and will compete with Bedard for BRHL ROY.



Daniil Guschchin – looked good in short viewing window in NHL last season building on a 45 pts AHL season. Pencil him into the wing for a rebuilding Sharks team. 

Hugo Alnefelt – has done the Tampa marinade but might be another season away. Suspect will have time as back up for Vasilevsky this year though looking at the depth of their signed goaltenders




Marco Kasper – had a cup of coffee with NHL Wings then promptly fractured his patella. He should break through on the Wings this season.

Jordan Dumais – will start in the AHL, but might get a cup of coffee in the NHL for young Columbus team, especially with Babcock now out. Drafts big riser exploded offensively and as such, suspect could break through.



JJ Peterka – former Sabres early 2nd rounder seems a lock for NHL playing time again. He played a lot last year, but with depth on Wings remains on their AHL team pending season starting so remains on this list.

Luke Evangelista – will be a top 6 forward in the retooled Preds lineup. He was excellent down the stretch for the Predators with 15 pts in 24 games and that will continue this season. 

Logan Cooley – will not be long until is the top line center in the desert. Stud in the waiting. RedWings will need to make space for him next season.

Josh Roy – the NHL habs are rebuilding. This kid has developed a solid two way game since his draft, leading team Canada in the last several WJC. Might be a dark horse in Montreal to make the team.



Ridly Greig – two way forward was chomping at the NHL bit last season with 9 pts in 20 games played. May make out of camp, but will be an early call up if not. Top candidate to graduate to the BRHL. 

Thomas Bordeleau – SJ is going to stink so lots of kids are going to get time. Former early 2nd rounder looked fantastic in the AHL last season with 41 pts in 65gp. Had a cup of coffee with 8 games played, is ready for the NHL now.

Alex Turcotte – NHL Kings need this kid to breakthrough. This season may be last. Opportunity with a lot of depth moved for Dubois. Fifth overall pick will be given a lot of rope, but think this season is make or break. 

Joakim Kemell – high BRHL pick, made AHL debut at end of season and was a stud. Look for him to take a top 6 position in Preds lineup at some point this season and may compete for BRHL ROY next season.

Mackie Samoskevich – Was excellent on a stacked UMich team and was quality in AHL post NCAA season. He will be a sneaky possibility for Panthers this season.



Justin Barron – former first rounder playing NHL minutes for rebuilding team already. Will be on Lightning roster in top 6 defense next season.

Xavier Bourgault – The NHL Oilers need cheap depth players. Bourgault is a former first rounder with skill that might see some time in the bottom twelve given his limited cap hit. Had 34 pts in first AHL season. 

William Dufour – The NHL Islanders need offense. This kid was a late bloomer and has erupted with just that, offense. Former 5th rounder had 48 pts in first AHL season. Solid build might see him ready for NHL time this season

Brock Faber – NCAA standout at Minny will be on Wild blue line this season. Was the key piece coming to Wild when had to move Fiala. Will be in top 4 by end of season. 

Devon Levi – outstanding goaltending spect looked good going pro. Will he be NHL Buff number one netminder? My money says yes and could be the break out player of the year. 



Zero Players – I think Minten is a future BRHL forward, but is going back to the WHL this season, not the AHL.



Connor McMichael – spent most of the season in the AHL after a lengthy period in NHL previously. Was strong down the AHL playoffs for Caps Hershey team, likely for a top 9 spot this season.

Nick Robertson – can he finally break through. His brother took a couple seasons and injuries have plagued him. I think he might break through finally though and see time in leafs top 9 forwards.

Matthew Savoie – depth in NHL buffalo line up likely keeps out of BRHL lineup for at least one more season but might sneak in given high level talent if can crack NHL lineup. Otherwise junior for another year.

Matthew Poitras – with centre and major issue for the NHL Bruins, Poitras may find time if he has an outstanding camp. I suspect one of the older prospects (Beecher) is far more likely to take one of the top three centre roles with the team.



Shakir Mukhamadullin – a lot of depth on the prospect list but no real studs with the exception of former NJ first rounder “Shark”ir. The Sharks are going to stink and can’t see this kid not having NHL time this season. I can’t see him not making BRHL debut next season.

Matthew Coronato – another of the youthful Flames forwards I look for a breakthrough from. Former 13thoverall pick was a point per game NCAA forward. The Flames have marinated their picks, but suspect with coaching and organisation change, Coronato will have pro time this season and be BRHL ready next season.



Brad Lambert – BRHL first this past season, I suspect may have NHL time with Jets if they finally retool. Suspect will battle out with Lucius for a spot. If not, likely another AHL season before making his BRHL debut. He didn’t look out of place as a rookie with 3 pts in 14 gp, but much better when back to WHL with 38 in 26 with Mem Cup finalist Seattle. 

Shane Wright – likely will have a top 9 NHL role with Seattle but after CHL ruling will not have to return to OHL. He will be a pro, but will he be on the BRHL Leafs lineup? I think he breaks through and looks like the guy who was competing for first overall his draft year.

Matthew Knies – former 2nd rounder broke through in NHL and looked like a prototypical power forward in NHL when arrived. He may play with Tavares or Matthews as centre and if does, might be a finalist for the NHL ROY, though will not win with Bedard about to destroy the league!


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