With only so much information from other hockey leagues available, it is very difficult to project how a prospect will perform in the NHL. To know exactly what kind of player he is going to be, you have to watch him on a somewhat regular basis, see what kind of roles he plays and the style of play he has. Unfortunately, doing that for every prospect is unfeasible so the best us fans can do is watch whatever games we can and go by their stats at other levels.
One method that I talk about on here is NHL scoring equivalencies developed by Gabe Desjardins at Behind The Net Hockey. I've mentioned this more than a few times but to refresh your memory I will explain how equivalencies work. Desjardins took the stats from players who jumped from one league to the NHL and noted how much of their scoring they kept. The general idea is that it is harder to score in the NHL than it is in other leagues and that is represented by an equivalency translation drawn from the performance of other players.
After the jump, we awill look at the most recent seasons for all of the Hurricanes' prospects and use their equvalency translation to get an idea of what their performance of the NHL will be like.
Right away you can tell that the Canes have a big need for more high-end forward prospects in their system. They did a good job of signing Welsh once the NCAA tournament was over, but he is older than most prospects and will probably be in the NHL next season if he is impressive enough in camp. My thought is that he has top-six potential after how impressive he was last year in college and he played well in his try-out game at the end of the year. His age is a concern but if he can produce in the NHL then it is not as big of a deal.
Zac Dalpe's season was hampered by injuries and drifting back-and-forth between the NHL and AHL a couple times but I am sure that people had higher expectations for him. I actually thought that he would break into the NHL this season but we all know how that turned out. The door is still open for Dalpe to make it in the show but I'm afraid that it is closing quickly. He should be in the NHL to start next season and I hope that he can succeed. Drayson Bowman's AHL numbers are also affected from being in the NHL for almost the entire second half of the year and I think he showed that he is NHL-ready and will make the team out of camp.
There's been a lot of talk surrounding Victor Rask's performance and he definitely had a great season in the WHL with the Calgary Hitman. However, the NHL equivalencies don't project him to be extremely impressive in the NHL. He is only 19 so I am sure that will change soon and there's talk that he might be in the AHL next season. I'm excited to see how he performs there if that is true.
Aside from Rask and Brody Sutter, the players with the highest equivalencies on here are all pretty old and that's a cause for concern because it usually means that their window of opportunity is fading quickly. We know that is the case with Oskar Osala since he doesn't even have a place in Charlotte anymore and Chris Terry is either going to have to make the Canes next season or be stuck in the AHL. I think this further emphasizes that the point that the Hurricanes need to take a forward with their #8 pick no matter who is available. Their best forward prospects project to be fringe top-six guys at the most and they need to add someone who can be better than that.
Thankfully, the projections for their defensemen are much more promising.
For what it is worth, projecting defensemen based on scoring is very, very difficult because there are a lot of defensemen not depended on for such a role. That and defensemen who have a lot of offensive poweress might struggle in their own end a lot so going by points alone can be extremely misleading. The Hurricanes do have a few prospects who are projected to be point-producers so we are going to look at them anyway.
The most known player in that category is last year's first round selection Ryan Murphy and he had another great season in Kitchener. He wasn't as dominant offensively as the year before but he still scored at over a point-per-game pace and has a very high equivalency for a 19 year-old defenseman. I still do not know if he should make the team out of camp next year or not but I think that will depend on how he performs in the pre-season.
Murphy might have some company because both Bobby Sanguinetti and Danny Beiga had fantastic seasons with Sanguinetti having a strong end to the regular season in Charlotte. He will be 25 at the end of next season so this coming year is probably his last shot, but I think he has earned a shot to make the Hurricanes out of camp next year. It is tough to say whether or not his game in his own end is polished enough to go along with that high equivalency total, though. The same goes for Biega, only he is much younger and could be a wild card to make the Canes next season after the year he had at Harvard. Brian Dumoulin is also another player who many expect to make the Hurricanes' roster next season after being one of the best shutdown defensemen in the nation with Boston College this year. He played a key role in the Golden Eagles winning the NCAA title this year.
It is really nice to see players like Schmitz and Alt ranked pretty high on this list and it is looking like they might have more NHL-potential than most initially thought. I actually got to watch a good chunk of Alt's games this year (thanks Big Ten Network!) and he's looked very solid defensively while putting up a fair amount of points, too.
I am not sure what to say about the younger players at the bottom of the list because they aren't producing many points but it might not be their job to do so.