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Prospects Analysis: Atlantic Division

Jon Litterine

Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.

This is the first of a four-part series covering our the top-10 prospects for each team by division leading into the 2015-16 season. Now, onto the rankings.

(Notes: Overall ranking in parenthesis. Only players with less than 25 games played are included.

Boston Bruins

1. Malcolm Subban - G (55)
2. Alexander Khokhlachev - F (96)
3. Zachary Senyshyn - F (100)
4. Matt Grzelcyk - D
5. Jakub Zboril - D
6. Jake DeBrusk - F
7. Brandon Carlo - D
8. Austin Czarnik - F
9. Zane McIntyre - G
10. Ryan Donato - F

Grzelcyk had a huge scoring year for Boston University and he will return for his senior season and captain the Terriers. Zbroil was the 13th overall pick this past June and plays a solid two-way game. DeBrusk, another first rounder this past June, scored 42 goals in the WHL last season but projects as more of a complementary player with elite hockey sense at the NHL level. Carlo is a big, strong stay-at-home defenseman who is still learning the offensive side of the game. Czarnik, who is very undersized, was a huge scorer during four years at Miami (Ohio) and he will spend next year in the AHL. McIntyre won the award for the NCAAís top goaltender this past season at North Dakota and signed with the Bruins this summer. He will begin the year in Providence (AHL). Donato, son of former Bruin Ted Donato, spent the vast majority of this past season playing high school hockey despite the fact he was drafted (second round) in 2014. He will play his freshman season at Harvard this fall.

Buffalo Sabres

1. Jack Eichel - F (2)
2. Sam Reinhart - F (13)
3. Hudson Fasching - F (99)
4. Jake McCabe - D
5. Nick Baptiste - F
6. Justin Bailey - F
7. Connor Hurley - F
8. Jonas Johansson - G
9. Vaclav Karabacek - F
10. William Carrier -F

McCabe should have a long career as a depth defender, but his offensive upside is extremely limited. Baptisteís game improved immensely after being traded from Sudbury (OHL) to Erie. He has great hands in front of the net and will make his pro debut this coming season. Bailey is a terrific athlete and quietly scored 34 goals in the OHL this past season. He will also head to the AHL this fall. Hurley had 14 points in 41 games in his freshman season at Notre Dame, a place where they seemingly do all they can to stop talented offensive players from developing. Johanssonís numbers have never matched his skill level. He is a big kid and is still learning to play the game. Karabacek had a lousy year in the QMJHL, but he played better in the playoffs and he is willing to pay the price to score tough goals. Carrier, who came over from St. Louis in the Ryan Miller trade, scored seven goals in 63 games in his first AHL season. He has the tools to be a productive power forward in the NHL, but he is a ways away.

Detroit Red Wings

1. Anthony Mantha - F (14)
2. Dylan Larkin - F (15)
3. Evgeni Svechnikov - F (77)
4. Andreas Athanasiou - F (84)
5. Tyler Bertuzzi - F
6. Joe Hicketts -D
7. Zach Nastasiuk - F
8. Dominic Turgeon -F
9. Xavier Ouellet - D
10. Ryan Sproul - D

Bertuzzi put up 43 goals and 98 points for Guelph (OHL) and the finished the season by putting up 12 points in 14 playoff games for Grand Rapids (AHL). He was a third-round pick in 2013. Hicketts was undrafted and signed by the Wings as a free agent. He surprised everyone by making the Canadian World Junior team this past year. Heís extremely undersized and extremely offensive oriented. Nastasiuk scored 35 goals for Owen Sound (OHL) this past year, but he projects as more of a third-liner who can chip in offensively here and there at the NHL level. Turgeonís offensive production for Portland (WHL) has been limited the past two seasons, but he will have a far bigger role this year with Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand turning pro. Ouellet has played 25 NHL games over his career, but he still hasnít figured out the defensive side of the game. He is a former top prospect. Sproul is a big kid who was a big scorer in junior. He has a shot to have an NHL career as a third-pairing defenseman.

Florida Panthers

1. Mike Matheson - D (66)
2. Lawson Crouse - F (68)
3. Rocco Grimaldi - F (82)
4. Ian McCoshen - D (94)
5. Kyle Rau - F
6. Jayce Hawryluk - F
7. Greg McKegg - F
8. Samuel Montembault - G
9. Juho Lammikko - F
10. MacKenzie Weegar - D

Rau played four seasons at the University of Minnesota and was a big scorer, but he is undersized and it will be interesting to see how he handles bigger players in the AHL this fall. Hawryluk plays considerably larger than his size. He has decent hands and he likes to get involved physically. He put up 30 goals for Brandon (WHL) last year. McKegg was traded to Florida in June in exchange for Zach Hyman, who refused to sign with the Panthers and was on his way to becoming a UFA. He might have a career as a fourth-liner. Montembault was a second-round pick this past June. He has great size and had a terrific record this year (33-11-7) for Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL), but his individual numbers were lousy and he hasnít played much hockey. Lammikko played this past season for Kingston (OHL), but it was recently announced that he would return to Finland for this upcoming season. He is a big kid whose game has no real weaknesses, but the fact he is returning to Europe isnít a great sign for his future prospects. Weegar has a chance, but the Panthers had him play half of last season in the ECHL for some odd reason. He is a former seventh-round pick (2014), so anything Florida gets out of him will be considered a bonus.

Montreal Canadiens

1. Nikita Scherbak - F (57)
2. Charles Hudon - F (67)
3. Michael McCarron - F (85)
4. Noah Juulsen - D
5. Zach Fucale - G
6. Sven Andrighetto - F
7. Artturi Lehkonen - F
8. Joonas Nattinen - F
9. Darren Dietz - D
10. Dalton Thrower -D

Juulsen was Montrealís first-rounder this past June. I felt he was one of the more underrated players in the draft. He made huge strides this past season and he has more offensive ability than he is given credit for. Fucale had a terrible year for Quebec (QMJHL), but he played a bit better in the playoffs. The former top prospect in no longer a lock to be a starter at the NHL level. Andrighetto had a big year for Hamilton (AHL) and got into 12 games with Montreal. His game is reminiscent of Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello. Lehkonen, despite being from Finland, is playing in Sweden these days. He has the skills to succeed offensively in the NHL, but he is extremely light and will get tossed around by bigger defensemen. Nattinen spent 2011-12 to 2013-14 playing in North America. While he is a big kid who can win faceoffs and kill penalties, I am concerned that we will never see him cross the Atlantic again. Dietz put up decent numbers in juniors, but that predictably stopped when he turned pro. He has spent the last two years in the AHL and he has an outside shot at turning into a depth defender for the Habs. Thrower, who was a second-round pick in 2012, didnít play much hockey this year. When he did, it was in the ECHL. He was seen as a potential first-round pick in his draft year, but he has gone backwards since then. The odds are against him becoming an NHL regular.

Ottawa Senators

1. Nick Paul - F (81)
2. Thomas Chabot - D
3. Colin White - F
4. Filip Chlapik - F
5. Andreas Englund - D
6. Tobias Lindberg - F
7. Robbie Baillargeon - F
8. Shane Prince - F
9. Chris Driedger - G
10. Ben Harpur - D

Chabot was Ottawaís first-rounder this past June (18th overall). His upside isnít huge, but his game doesnít have any real weaknesses. White only has average size, but is a very smart player and he projects as a quality third-liner. He will head to Boston College in the fall. Chlapik has the high end skill that others in the system do not, but he has defensive and consistency issues. Another year in the QMJHL will do him well. Englund has virtually no offensive upside, but he should have a long career as a rugged, tough defender. He is slated to play another year in Sweden. Lindberg is possibly my favorite player in the system. Heís big, has good hands and scored 32 goals for Oshawa (OHL) last year. He will turn pro and play this coming season in Binghamton (AHL). Baillargeon went backwards in his sophomore season at Boston University. It will be interesting to see if the departure of Jack Eichel will result in more opportunities for him offensively. Prince has been productive in both juniors and the AHL, but he isnít very big. He has skill and he made his NHL debut last year, but he is running out of time. Injuries allowed Driedger to play exactly 23 minutes in the NHL last year. The emergence of Andrew Hammond and Dreidgerís skill level pegs him as a likely backup. Harpur had a real nice career as a defensive leader for Guelph (OHL). He is 6-6, 215 pounds and he could have a career as a third-pairing defender.

Tampa Bay Lightning

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy - G (5)
2. Anthony DeAngelo - D (29)
3. Adam Erne - F (51)
4. Brayden Point - F (93)
5. Slater Koekkoek - D
6. Dominik Masin - D
7. Kristers Gudlevskis - G
8. Nikita Gusev - F
9. Johnathan MacLeod - D
10. Matthew Peca - F

Koekkoek was the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He had a good year in the AHL and he suited up for three games late in the year with the Lightning. He has good offensive skills and he is still just 21-years old. Masin is built like a truck and his offensive game is developing. He should spend one last season in the OHL. Gudlevskis is best known for nearly stealing a game for Lativa against Canada in the Olympics a few years ago. He has a chance to be a long term NHL starter, but he is in the wrong organization to make an impact. Gusev continues to rip apart the KHL, but there are no signs that he plans on coming to North America. MacLeod plays a boring, but effective game. This will be his second season at Boston University. Peca was one of the best players in college hockey over the last four seasons at Quinnipiac. He will spend this season in Syracuse (AHL). I wouldnít be surprised if he NHL debut came at some point this coming year.

Toronto Maple Leafs

1. Mitch Marner - F (7)
2. William Nylander - F (8)
3. Kasperi Kapanen - F (28)
4. Connor Brown - F (78)
5. Jeremy Bracco - F (87)
6. Zach Hyman - F
7. Scott Harrington - D
8. Brendan Leipsic - F
9. Frederik Gauthier - F
10. Travis Dermott - D

After three mediocre season at the University of Michigan, Hyman exploded this year for 54 points in 37 games. He made it apparent he wouldnít sign with the Panthers (who drafted him) and the Leafs got him for basically nothing. It was a steal. He will head to the AHL. Harrington came over in the deal that sent Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh. He is going to eventually turn into an NHL regular, albeit one that produces no offense. Leipsic came over in the deal that sent Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to Nashville. He was a huge scorer in juniors, but he is ticketed to be a third-liner at the NHL level. The Leafs wasted a first round pick (21st overall) on Gauthier in 2013. He has arguably the worst hands Iíve ever seen from a first-round forward prospect. He is destined to be a penalty killer and faceoff specialist in the NHL. This will be his first pro season. Dermott had a big year as a power play specialist for Erie (OHL). He isnít big, but I expect him to turn into an NHL regular.