One of my favorite websites to visit for prospects is HockeysFuture.com. A few times a year, they reveal their list of the top 50 NHL prospects. This list is always limited to players that have already been drafted and or signed as a free agent by an NHL team. This includes an honorable mention sections, which in this edition included an Anaheim Ducks. Rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who is currently playing with the Norfolk Admirals, was mentioned as an honorable mention for the spring. Here’s what Hockey’s Future had to say about Lindholm:
“For Lindholm, there was debate over the type of overall potential the Swedish defenseman has as an NHL prospect. There is no question he can play in North America, as demonstrated by his solid play in the AHL as a 19-year-old, but many facets of his game are still very raw, and despite that readiness, he remains a project.”
The highest ranking Ducks prospect in their list of top 50 was youngster Kyle Palmieri (28th, up from 35th in the fall) who has finally gotten his chance to be an every day player with the Ducks in the NHL. Here’s what they had to say about Palmieri:
“After cups of coffee in Anaheim during each of his first two pro seasons, Kyle Palmieri has finally earned a roster spot with the Ducks during the shortened 2013 season. Relegated to a bottom-six forward role with some power-play time, he is nonetheless a key part of Anaheim’s deep offensive attack. A quick release and willingness to play through traffic make Palmieri a dangerous scorer, and his aggressive style has a way of boosting his team even when he is not scoring.
“While Palmieri has not enjoyed an explosive breakout in the league, he continues to steadily develop into a good NHL player. A winger with top-six potential, he will have to continue working his way up Anaheim’s deep forward corps.”
The next highest ranking Ducks prospect was speedster Emerson Etem (42nd, down from 21st in the fall) who made his NHL debut this season. Here’s what they had to say on Emerson:
“Blazing fast winger Emerson Etem has not had the most prolific rookie season, but he has earned an extended look in Anaheim. There have been glimpses of his dynamic talent but his first year has not been without some growing pains. Etem’s speed makes him noticeable on most shifts, but without the puck on his stick, he struggles to make an impact. His quick, accurate shot has not left him, and as he continues to add strength and adjust to the pro level, he should find more opportunities to use it. Etem has plenty of offensive upside but is still a bit raw in terms of his overall game.”
The third and final Ducks prospect to make the top 50 was a newcomer. Goaltender John Gibson of the Kitchener Rangers was ranked 48th in their list and here’s what they had to say about him:
“The difference between Team USA and the rest of the field at the 2013 WJC was John Gibson. An imposing presence in net, Gibson earnd the tournament’s MVP award and was also named the Best Goaltender. His play in the OHL has been strong as well, even if it has been limited by his stint with the national team and time missed due to injury.
“Gibson’s 6’3″ frame helps him cover a lot of net, but it is his mental toughness and tendency to shine in big games that make him such a coveted goaltending prospect. The pro level will be a new test for the netminder, but he has the potential to be a top starting goalie in the NHL.”
The Ducks have a very good crop of prospects and these three are possibly my three favorite prospects out of them all. I love Gibson. I think he can be this franchises starting goalie of the future. He has all the makings of a big=game goaltender. Meanwhile, Palmieri and Etem are discussed a lot as part of the future of this franchise. Not much else can be said about those two that hasn’t already been said on this blog at some point. As the season winds down across the many minor leagues, the end of the season scouting and review reports will be handed down to many prospects. Us at Pucks of a Feather look forward to bring you all that while we prepare for a playoff push!