Welcome to Scott Wheeler’s 2023 rankings of each NHL group’s prospects. You can discover the entire rating and extra info on the factors here, as we rely down each day from No. 32 to No. 1. The collection, which incorporates in-depth evaluations and commentary from sources on practically 500 prospects, runs from Jan. 9 to Feb. 8.

Despite having graduated Cole Perfetti and aged out a handful of others, the Jets’ pool holds agency as a robust however not fairly top-10 one because of the infusion of two first-round picks within the 2022 draft in addition to necessary progress from some mid-to-late-round picks.

Their group is an fascinating one due to the presence of three prospects — Chaz Lucius and Brad Lambert on the prime, in addition to the injury-plagued Anton Johannesson amongst their C-grade prospects — with NHL query marks however loads of expertise and upside if they’ll put all of it collectively.

2022 prospect pool rank: No. 11 (change: -2)

1. Chaz Lucius, C, 19 (Portland Winterhawks)

Lucius left the University of Minnesota after his freshman 12 months even after missing continuity in his play and well being following two consecutive years of harm troubles. That worries me, slightly — that the whole lot in his profession gave the impression to be shifting sooner than his reps and improvement perhaps have. It’s additionally why I like his/the Jets’ choice to go play for the WHL title-chasing Portland Winterhawks (the place he has been precisely as harmful as you’d anticipate) after getting his toes moist within the AHL (the place I truly assume he performed nice contemplating his age) and an honest although not dominant efficiency on the world juniors (punctuated by a bronze medal sport hat trick).

Lucius is a proficient participant and finisher. I grew keen on the participant and the child in his time on the program, and there have been actual stretches in each season the place he appears to be like like a high-end offensive participant.

I nonetheless assume he’s bought authentic goal-scoring upside. He’s a multi-faceted scorer. He’s bought pure mid-range ending means. He’s bought a singular means to alter his angles in a break up second (because of lightning-quick palms) and shoot round sticks and toes. And he’s bought an opportunistic sense for spacing and timing in order that he scores his fair proportion of objectives — like each good aim scorer — by merely sliding into scoring areas, ending rebounds, or getting open into pockets of house across the web simply as his linemates need to cross. He’s bought an underrated nostril for the online and is throughout the crease when he performs towards his friends — one thing that ought to come as he will get stronger within the NHL as effectively. He will get the puck off so shortly.

He’s not an explosive skater, which ends up in apprehension amongst some scouts as to how his ending means will translate on the NHL tempo, however I feel his really feel for the sport and expertise will supersede that within the subsequent stage of his improvement. He’s additionally an underrated playmaker and passer who understands the best way to play pucks into house when he attracts stress. He can discover pockets contained in the offensive zone to get open into when he doesn’t have the puck and makes use of opposing defenders as decoys when he does.

There are occasions after I’d prefer to see him create extra of his personal appears to be like however with the correct linemates and good well being, I anticipate him to get again on monitor towards a top-six scorer projection.

2. Rutger McGroarty, RW/LW, 18 (University of Michigan) 

McGroarty’s a type of children who simply appears to be like like a professional hockey participant. If he walked into an NHL dressing room tomorrow, he would stand stronger and broader than some in it. Then you add within the charisma which made him the pure selection for the captaincy on the U.S. NTDP program, and the sunshine and power that oozes out of him, and it’s important to watch out to not put an excessive amount of inventory into the off-ice items of the puzzle that he already seems to have discovered. But I feel he’s a darn good hockey participant too and the items of the puzzle match collectively properly on the ice.

He’s a greater skater (there are some kinks he nonetheless must work out in his mechanics from a standstill as a result of it doesn’t look the prettiest by means of his first few steps, however there’s some energy when he will get going nonetheless) than he will get credit score for and his spatial consciousness, reads and energy degree assist him keep away from dropping brief races. He’s bought uncooked talent that reveals up in his nice palms. His of completion across the web is there in spades, with a tough one-touch shot that he leverages his sturdy body to energy by means of when he will get open within the slot.

He has significantly mastered the online drive right into a excessive rotation away from protection that brings him again to across the web. And then when he will get there, he’s bought the energy to shoot from dangerous postures/off steadiness. He all the time put his photographs into good places (alongside the ice, low blocker, excessive brief facet) it appears, too. He’s dexterous. I’m an enormous fan.

The ice usually tilts in his favour, he’s such a wise participant, he can rating, he works, and he simply understands the place to be on the market and the best way to put himself in positions to create offence. He has additionally strengthened a robust statistical profile with good freshman-year manufacturing. If he can get slightly faster from the soar, he’s bought the entire different makings of a authentic top-nine ahead who can play up and down a lineup with a wide range of participant varieties.

3. Brad Lambert, C/RW, 18 (Seattle Thunderbirds)

It has been an up-and-down couple of seasons for Lambert who, throughout 5 groups, 4 ranges, three world juniors, the pandemic, accidents and diseases, has had some very nice flashes of the talent and skating that made him one of many largest names in his age group developing, and likewise prolonged stretches of play the place he has appeared like he doesn’t know who he’s or the best way to affect a sport.

Lambert’s presents are simple. He’s a ravishing skater. His palms movement in sync along with his toes. When he’s feeling good, he’s fearless with the puck, makes a ton of performs in management, and appears to dictate in possession. He’s bought wonderful management of his outdoors edges which permits him to carve up protection on cutbacks and carries. He’s slippery due to his means to spin away from his man and make a play. He’s passer off his backhand.

He’s able to enjoying pucks into house fantastically, attending to the inside, splitting lanes, slicing off the wall aggressively, and has a low base to his stride that permits him to increase performs (although he does have a little bit of a hunch to his posture, which may put him off steadiness). He is able to enjoying the purpose and half wall on the facility play due to his puck talent, harmful wrister off the flank and playmaking instincts.

But there’s a distinction between means and know-how or execution. Some scouts fear about Lambert’s sport with out the puck when it comes to each his depth off of it and his means to make issues occur offensively when he’s not getting a ton of touches. Others fear about how typically he skates the puck into bother and makes his selections too late.

With it, Lambert’s a multi-faceted risk who blends spectacular puck talent with standout all-around skating mechanics and an assault mentality (although not a constant one) that may complement a harmful curl-and-drag shot (which additionally enhances the brief stick he makes use of).

There’s a growth or bust prognostication for him although due to among the inconsistencies and the requirement that he’s going to should play in a top-six function within the NHL. But I imagine in his means to do each of these issues with the correct improvement and I hope he can construct extra of an identification to his sport down the stretch with the Thunderbirds, who, like Lucius’ Winterhawks, have title aspirations. Because it could actually really feel too typically like he’ll comply with a shift the place he has the puck 4 or 5 occasions with one the place he’s not processing issues shortly sufficient and boneheaded selections take him out of the sport.

Heinola’s bought a robust basis of quiet expertise which have more and more begun to get louder and louder. He reads and defends odd-man rushes extraordinarily effectively, timing his slides and closes completely. He has all the time performed a affected person and poised two-way sport constructed on effectivity fairly than aptitude. He’s bought four-way mobility which helps him escape stress inside his personal zone and break groups down contained in the offensive zone. He has all the time had a “heads-up” confidence. And he has, within the final two and a half seasons, actually begun to make use of these instruments in a extra bold, attacking type to essentially look to dictate play extra (whereas nonetheless taking what’s given). He’s extra aggressive and intentional carrying the puck deep into the offensive zone extra, activating along with his toes as a substitute of an outlet extra, or seeking to spin off checks or create by means of tight seams with some ingenuity. I’m assured he’s bought extra to supply on the NHL degree than we’ve seen to this point. He could effectively end as a third-pairing man ultimately, however he’s able to being extra of a No. 4-5 than a No. 6-7 and I feel he’ll get there as soon as he builds extra confidence.

5. Elias Salomonsson, RHD, 18 (Skelleftea AIK)

Salomonsson was off to a very optimistic begin to his post-draft season within the SHL this fall and was sure to make Team Sweden for the world juniors earlier than a late-November harm halted his season and he hasn’t performed since. It was significantly noteworthy after he was simply OK final 12 months and didn’t take the steps that many hoped he would. You don’t typically see 18-year-old defencemen play 16-20 minutes an evening within the SHL, not to mention ones who have been barely 18 (Salomonsson was simply two weeks away from eligibility for the 2023 draft along with his August 31 birthday)

Before the harm, he appeared like he’d tightened up his positioning and his reads/decision-making, which was the one concern most shared. I like his consolation degree below stress and confidence for a participant as younger as he’s. He strikes effectively in all 4 instructions, he includes himself in a whole lot of performs offensively, he’s bought room and runway to fill out his body, and most of his finer expertise (together with his shot and his dealing with) get plus grades. It doesn’t damage that he’s a 6-foot-1 righty both. His downside at occasions prior to now has been that his precise instruments are higher than the way in which he makes use of them. That was one thing I used to be snug betting on after I ranked him thirty ninth on my closing draft board for 2022 (the Jets took him fifty fifth). He’s able to changing into a productive top-six NHL defenceman. Now it’s nearly getting wholesome and getting extra reps for him.

6. Dmitri Rashevsky, RW/LW, 22 (Dynamo Moskva)

After being handed up twice within the NHL draft in 2019 and 2020, Rashevsky has been among the best tales of the 2021 draft class during the last two years. His 19 objectives and 35 factors in 48 video games led all under-22 gamers within the KHL final 12 months and his 15 objectives in 55 video games lead all under-23 gamers up to now this season.

Given that he had performed simply 12 video games within the KHL earlier than final season, that he had solely registered one level in these video games, and that his career-high in ice time in them had been 11:17, it’s completely beautiful that he has turn into one of many league’s greatest younger gamers as shortly as he has (particularly given how slowly gamers are usually eased into main roles within the KHL, and on an honest group no much less).

Rashevsky is outlined by his high-energy, decisive and fast attacking type. But he has proven me extra talent as each a handler who can create for himself and a pure finisher (expertise which he had proven in junior however by no means to this high quality). He’s additionally nonetheless bought room to fill out his 6-foot-1 body. He has been slightly colder within the second half than he was out of the gate, however the appears to be like have nonetheless been there in my viewing and I’m certain the Jets will do what they’ll to get him signed when the time comes.

7. Nikita Chibrikov, RW/LW, 19 (Spartak Mosvka)

Chibrikov, like Lucius, Lambert and Salomonsson earlier than him right here, was a child who ranked greater on my board than the place the Jets grabbed him on the draft. He’s one of many children whose inventory would seemingly be greater at this time had Russia been capable of take part within the final two world juniors (he impressed in his transient showings on the first iteration of the 2022 world juniors, the place he appeared like Russia’s second-best ahead for my cash by means of two video games after Matvei Michkov). Though he hasn’t but damaged into the KHL (even after making the transfer from SKA to Spartak seeking an incredible alternative), Chibrikov, who solely turns 20 in a few weeks, has been a prime participant in his age group on the MHL and VHL ranges.

He’s a proficient offensive participant who when he’s concerned within the sport and enjoying confidently appears to be like to take over and has the instruments to take action. Chibrikov performs a direct, intentional sport which appears to be like to assault at and thru stress, create his personal probabilities, and drive play to the within when he has the puck. And although his sport tended to essentially quiet when there weren’t those self same gaps in protection to assault towards males final 12 months, he has taken these tighter pockets in protection with out hesitation the final two years. When he’s engaged within the battle and conserving his toes shifting, there’s rather a lot to love about his means to affect a shift (each by ramping up the tempo along with his skating or slowing the sport right down to play slightly extra calculating) in a wide range of methods as an equal half finisher and playmaker. He initiatives as a middle-six winger with some talent if all goes effectively.

8. Dmitri Kuzmin, LHD, 19 (Flint Firebirds) 

After enjoying professionally in Belarus’ top-flight Extraleague A and grabbing some limelight for his talent degree (and lacrosse aim) at U18 worlds in his draft 12 months, Kuzmin has dealt with the soar to the OHL these final two seasons effectively with out actually working with it. He can play each side. He needs to create offence and might accomplish that along with his toes, palms, creativity and passing. When stress comes, he’s methods he can step round it as a substitute of how he can eliminate it. There are occasions when that places him into powerful spots and he tries one too many strikes to beat the second layer of stress that follows, however he’s bought the side-to-side mobility (he’s actually agile on his edges with out being explosive shifting ahead) and the inventiveness to problem-solve and assault by means of site visitors. I’m additionally keen on the way in which he performs his gaps, which incorporates tight spacing and fixed stick-to-stick disruption. Though his sport will all the time tilt towards offence, his play defensively has truly exceeded my expectations since making the transfer to North America. And whereas he’s on the smaller facet for a defenceman at 5-foot-10, he’s sturdy for his measurement. I see an AHL offensive defenceman ground and offensively inclined third-pairing defenceman ceiling. Looking ahead to watching him make the soar to the AHL.

9. Danny Zhilkin, C, 19 (Kitchener Rangers)

There’s rather a lot to love about Zhilkin. The bodily make-up is already there. His velocity and fast palms each get actually excessive grades and might catch your eye. His defensive sport has turn into an actual energy (together with within the faceoff circle) and even resulted in him enjoying defence for a sport and a half final season. But he’s additionally a December 2003 and his manufacturing hasn’t discovered that subsequent echelon such as you’d hope it will for a participant along with his instruments. Some of that was the way in which his group performed in Guelph earlier than his commerce to Kitchener, however a few of it additionally him not making ending performs as constantly (whether or not that’s by placing the puck in himself extra constantly on the probabilities he will get, or making that closing cross that units up a aim extra recurrently) as he ought to.

10. Anton Johannesson, LHD, 20 (HC Dalen)

There is probably not a prospect on this collection who has been by means of better harm troubles within the 4 seasons that preceded this one than Johannesson. He simply couldn’t keep wholesome. And when he did play, it was totally towards his friends earlier than this season, which he has performed on the hard-to-evaluate third-tier HockeyEttan degree. He has been spectacular offensively there, as he all the time has been, however I’m undecided what to make of him or his path ahead anymore given the catching up he has to do to get to the SHL not to mention get an NHL contract and play his means up by means of the AHL (I don’t even know if the Jets have dominated him out altogether).

When wholesome, he’s as mesmerizing a defenceman as you’ll discover within the 2002 age group. He performs the sport precisely how it’s designed to be performed at this time, with an ease and fluidity that’s unusual in defencemen his age. The puck simply flows by means of him and his actions and contact are refined. He sees the ice in 3D, trying by means of layers and stress to make artistic performs as a facilitator or skater. He’s a lightweight, ethereal skater who appears to be like like he floats across the ice on his edges, continuously altering angles. He makes use of spacing brilliantly with the puck as a provider and with out it by means of tight gaps. His skating additionally helps him compensate for his smallish measurement as a result of he can shortly flip again on chipped pucks and pivot into restoration, or match opposing gamers’ velocity to stay disruptive. But he stays an almost unimaginable participant to challenge ahead, regardless of the fascination round him. Still, whether or not or not he has a future with the Jets, I feel he’s going to play his means into a visit to North America sooner or later. This rating might be slightly wealthy, however I’m not prepared to surrender on him.

He’s too proficient to be enjoying in HockeyEttan, to make sure.

Watch No. 2 rating from a nasty angle right here:

And how about this path after dancing off the offensive zone blue line in the identical sport?

11. Fabian Wagner, RW/LW, 18 (Linkoping HC)

Wagner’s a straight-line, trustworthy ahead who performs exhausting, can skate, will get his shot off with nice steadiness and leverage in movement, can play with good gamers, and all the time appears to discover a solution to be efficient. His sport doesn’t wow anybody however he’s well-liked amongst coaches and scouts alike for his professional type. I feel it’s going to take him a while to go from good junior participant in his age group to on a regular basis SHL participant, top-nine SHL participant, after which finally AHL and perhaps NHL participant, and he’s most likely an extended shot to achieve that final step, however I favored him as a sixth-round decide.

I’d prefer to see him shoot it slightly extra as a result of his release is misleading:

12. Daniel Torgersson, LW/RW, 21 (Manitoba Moose)

After recovering from a brutal knee harm two seasons in the past, Torgersson was loaned out from the SHL’s Frolunda to HockeyAllsvenskan’s AIK final 12 months earlier than making the season-end transfer to the AHL, the place he impressed briefly earlier than the offseason hit after which impressed towards by elevating his strains on the summer season world juniors (although a optimistic match by him was undone slightly by some expensive penalties). This season, in his first full season within the AHL, he has slowly figured issues out and appeared higher in my final couple of viewings for this challenge than he did early on within the 12 months.

I feel there’s nonetheless a path for him ahead if the Jets develop him proper over the course of his ELC (there’s no rush). Torgersson is an enormous (6-foot-3, over 200 kilos), sturdy, athletically and bodily mature child who can actually shoot the puck. He’s powerful to deal with on the wall and on the net-front however he’s additionally bought standout puck talent one-on-one, serving to him play in site visitors and thru sticks. And whereas he can tunnel-vision searching for probabilities for himself towards the online, above-average velocity helps him play with that mentality. If he can put all of it collectively and get again on monitor, there could also be a complementary depth scorer with some measurement and stunning talent in there, although he’s by no means going to be a real playmaker.

13. Arvid Holm, G, 24 (Manitoba Moose) 

Holm’s the basic, cliched, “he gives you a chance to win” goalie. And whereas he has by no means struck me as greater than that, these guys typically make good No. 3 goalies and nice No. 2 goalies. Neither his instruments nor his numbers have ever screamed “starter” however he has been constantly good over an prolonged time period throughout a number of ranges. Holm’s an enormous goalie (6-foot-5, 205 kilos) who performs a positional blocking type, counting on sharp angles to swallow the primary save and management his rebounds. He’s additionally a strong post-to-post goalie on his pushes, although he can look slightly gradual when gamers get him shifting side-to-side or issues breaks down. He’s not excellent, however he’s nice group depth. It’ll be fascinating to see what the Jets do with him as a result of his entry-level contract expires on the finish of this season.

14. Jared Moe, G, 23 (University of Wisconsin)

Moe was in an unenviable place for a few seasons on the University of Minnesota, the place he was caught behind the highest goalie in faculty hockey in Jack Lafontaine. The worry was that his lack of enjoying time was going to derail what had, earlier than then, been a fairly promising younger profession. But after leaving the Gophers to switch to Wisconsin (satirically seemingly not understanding that Lafontaine would signal mid-season with the Hurricanes in any case), he has been actually good because the starter with the Badgers the final two years. He’s an enormous (6-foot-4), heavy (220 kilos) goalie who tracks the play effectively, fights by means of site visitors, and controls his actions by means of good habits. The Badgers program hasn’t been in a great place in entrance of him, however he retains them in a whole lot of video games. I’d signal him, give him some continuity, and see if you will get a No. 2/3 out of him.

15. Dom Divincentiis, G, 18 (North Bay Battalion)

Drafted with one of many closing picks within the 2022 draft, Divincentiis has been one of many extra constant goaltenders within the OHL within the final two years. Last season, it earned him a Second All-Star Team nod. This season, because the starter for one of many league’s greatest groups, I anticipate he’ll make that back-to-back all-star nods. Divincentiis is a cellular and pretty athletic 6-foot-2 goaltender who strikes to pucks to make his saves however doesn’t should scramble as a lot as younger goalies who play that type usually do — after which battles to remain in performs when he has to. Though he was by no means a prime prospect in his age group rising up, be careful for him to play his means into the dialog for Team Canada on the 2024 world juniors.

The Tiers

Each of my prospect pool rankings might be damaged down into team-specific tiers so as to provide you with a greater sense of the expertise proximity from one participant to the following (a niche which is typically minute and in different circumstances fairly pronounced).

The Jets’ prospect pool breaks down into 4 tiers divided as such: 1-3, 4, 5-8, 9-15. Also thought of was Moose defenceman Simon Lundmark.












Chaz Lucius





Rutger McGroarty



U. of Michigan


Brad Lambert





Ville Heinola





Elias Salomonsson





Dmitri Rashevsky





Nikita Chibrikov





Dmitri Kuzmin





Danny Zhilkin





Anton Johannesson





Fabian Wagner





Daniel Torgersson





Arvid Holm





Jared Moe





Dom DiVincentiis



North Bay

(Photo of Chaz Lucius: Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images)

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