This week’s prospects include Jayce Hawryluk of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Alexander Nylander of the Mississauga Steelheads and Dennis Yan of the Shawinigan Cataractes.
Jayce Hawryluk - Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Born: January 1, 1996 (Yorkton, Saskatchewan)
Weight: 197 lbs.
Hawryluk can score and he can do it well. That’s the reason he was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the second round of the 2014 draft. His offensive ability has translated to a whopping six goals and nine assists for 15 points in just six games this season with the Wheat Kings. He’s good at finding open spaces on the ice and is not afraid to get physically involved in the play to try to make something happen. Hawryluk is clearly going to make some noise this year.
Grade: As with any young player, Hawryluk still has room to grow and mature, but it’s obvious that this season he’s a man playing among boys in the junior ranks. It’s hard to predict where he fits in five years from now but at the present moment he’s one of the game’s brightest young stars. A+
Alexander Nylander - Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Position: Right Winger
Born: March 2, 1998 (Calgary, Alberta)
Weight: 172 lbs.
He is only 17 years old, but how can we not feature a young man whose started off his OHL career with 12 points in eight games? Nylander has five goals and seven assists to begin his junior career. Not to mention his brother William was a first round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs and his dad Michael played professionally for over 20 years. While Alexander will have quite the shoes to fill in the future, he’s making a name for himself. A natural playmaking ability that runs in the family and the size and speed necessary to excel over the next three years all point to a solid rookie season in the OHL and a good foundation for the future.
Grade: It’s pretty much a given that Nylander will be putting on an NHL jersey on draft day someday. The only question is whether or not he’ll be better than his brother William. Only time will tell. B+
Dennis Yan - Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Position: Left Winger
Born: April 14, 1997 (Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.)
Weight: 184 lbs.
A third round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning this past summer, Yan was one of the top players in the QMJHL this week thanks to the fact that he racked up a ridiculous six goals and four assists for 10 points in just two games. That brings his season total to 16 points in seven contests. Surely he won’t be able to count on big outbursts like this in order to pad his season-long totals on a regular basis, but he made it known last year that he has potential. Yan also has size and international experience that can’t be taught. He’s still a long-term project, but most third round draft picks usually are
Grade: He grew up playing the game in Russia and already has experience with the U.S National team program. One has to think that variety of experience has helped shape Yan’s game. He’s a natural goal scorer with solid speed. Yan gets an A+ rating based on a huge week.
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