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Prospects Analysis: Pacific 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 finale of a four-part series covering our the top-10 prospects of each individual 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.)

Anaheim Ducks

1. Shea Theodore - D (22)
2. Nick Ritchie - F (33)
3. Kevin Roy - F (72)
4. Nicolas Kerdiles - F (74)
5. Jacob Larsson - D
6. Marcus Pettersson - D
7. Brandon Montour - D
8. Stefan Noesen - F
9. Julius Nattinen - F
10. Max Friberg - F

The only things that Larsson needs to succeed are strength and experience. He will get both this coming season. Pettersson has the tools to be an all-around force defensively, but he is still maturing and he needs to put a ton of muscle on his lean frame. Montour split least season between U-Mass Amherst, the USHL and Anaheimís AHL affiliate. He put up big offensive numbers in all three stops. He is a good-looking young, offensive defenseman. Noesen, a former first round pick by Ottawa in 2011, has had his career derailed by a serious knee injury. He dressed for one NHL game last season. The ability is there for him to be a dominant power forward, but he has missed a ton of time. Nattinen combines size and strength with skill and puck possession. The Ducks have to be thrilled that he will spend this upcoming season in Barrie (OHL). Friberg has spent two fairly productive seasons in the AHL. He works hard and has some offensive ability, but he was drafted back in 2011 and he has played just one NHL game to date.

Arizona Coyotes

1. Max Domi - F (6)
2. Dylan Strome - F (12)
3. Anthony Duclair - F (21)
4. Christian Dvorak - F (39)
5. Brendan Perlini - F (46)
6. Nick Merkley - F (64)
7. Henrik Samuelsson - F
8. Klas Dahlbeck - D
9. Christian Fischer - F
10. Dysin Mayo -D

Samuelsson still has elite hockey sense and is still a terrible skater. Itís a shame because he would probably be a top-six player if he could move a bit better. Dahlbeck came from Chicago in the Antoine Vermette deal. He should play this season in Arizona in a depth role. Fischer, who was the 32nd overall pick this past June, recently signed his entry-level deal with the team. He smartly decided to player junior hockey in Windsor (OHL) instead of honoring his commitment to Notre Dame. Mayo will enter his fourth and final season with Edmonton (OHL). He isnít very big, but he skates well and makes a good first pass.

Calgary Flames

1. Sam Bennett - F (4)
2. Jon Gillies - G (48)
3. Oliver Kylington -D (63)
4. Emile Poirier - F (70)
5. Morgan Klimchuk - F
6. Hunter Smith - F
7. Mason McDonald - G
8. Bill Arnold - F
9. Kenney Morrison - D
10. Patrick Sieloff - D

Klimchuk was a first round pick (28th overall) in 2013. He was a big scorer in junior, but he isnít very big (5-11, 185 pounds) and Iím not convinced he will be able to produce offensively as a pro. He will start this season in the AHL. The biggest thing that Smith has going for him is the fact that heís 6-6. Heís more of a big body than anything else. He really hasnít developed yet as a hockey player. He will turn pro this year. McDonald is another big guy who uses his size to his advantage. He has put up lousy numbers in the QMJHL, but he is just 19-years old and he has plenty of time to develop. The fact that Arnold put up just 38 points in 61 games in his first AHL season was a disappointment. He played four years of collegiate hockey at Boston College and I thought he was a more mature player than those numbers suggested. He is probably just a depth option at this point. Morrison has decent size and just enough offensive ability to get by. He was a good addition for the Flames considering he was never drafted. Sieloff has been limited to just 50 AHL games over the past two seasons due to injuries. He has no offensive ability and he is often caught out of position. I expected more from him.

Edmonton Oilers

1. Connor McDavid - F (1)
2. Darnell Nurse - D (9)
3. Griffin Reinhart - D (50)
4. Greg Chase - F
5. Anton Slepyshev - F
6. Joey LaLeggia - D
7. Laurent Brossoit - G
8. Bogdan Yakimov - F
9. Kyle Platzer - F
10. Martin Gernat - D

I like Chase more than most. He has good vision and a nose for the net. Iím interested to see how he will do in his first AHL season. Slepyshev is an enigma. The former first overall pick in the KHL draft (2011) continues to battle inconsistency. Still, the Oilers did a nice job of convincing him to come to North America for this coming season. LaLeggia certainly has the offensive ability to produce at the NHL level, but he is so small (5-9, 185 pounds) that Iím not convinced he will able to take a shift at even strength. Brossoit has certainly developed better than I expected, but he is still probably just a long-term backup. Yakimovís size (6-5, 230 pounds) will always give him a chance to play in the NHL. He may be a fourth-liner, but there just arenít many forwards who are as big as he is. Platzer scored in bunches in juniors and I think he has a chance to develop into an NHL regular, but it will take time. He will turn pro this fall. The Oilers have handled Gernat poorly and he hasnít seemed to recover. If he doesnít take a huge step forward this year, he probably never will.

Los Angeles Kings

1. Valentin Zykov - F (97)
2. Adrian Kempe - F
3. Jordan Weal - F
4. Alex Dergachev - F
5. Erik Cernak - D
6. Derek Forbort - D
7. Michael Mersch - F
8. Kevin Gravel - D
9. Alex Lintuniemi - D
10. Nick Ebert - D

Kempe came over to North America late last year and he had eight goals in 17 playoffs games for Manchester (AHL). I still think he is a hard working third-liner, but he may be able to chip in 15 goals a season. Weal has spent three full seasons in the AHL, but he still hasnít made his NHL debut. He has real offensive ability, but the Kings seem to think he is too small to contribute consistently. Dergachev is a big, strong forward. He seems committed to playing hockey in North America. Cernak will play this season in Erie (OHL), his first in North America. He has the skill set to take a substantial step forward in the rankings. Forbort has been a colossal disappointment since being selected 15th overall in 2010. He seemed to have all the tools to be a dominant defender, but he has been plagued by inconsistency. He is yet to make his NHL debut. Mersch scored 22 goals in his first AHL season last year. He will probably see spot duty with the Kings this year. Gravel is big (6-4, 190 pounds) and he has enough offensive ability to get by. This will be a big season for him in the AHL. Lintuniemi is your typical all-around, steady Finnish defenseman. He will move up to the AHL this year. Ebert went from being a potential first-round prospect to the very last pick (out of all the teams) in the 2012 draft. He was overhyped to begin with, but he still has a chance to develop into a fringe NHL defenseman.

San Jose Sharks

1. Timo Meier - F (27)
2. Nikolay Goldobin - F (56)
3. Danny O'Regan - F (75)
4. Jeremy Roy - D
5. Rourke Chartier - F
6. Julius Bergman - D
7. Noah Rod - F
8. Joonas Donskoi - F
9. Michael Brodzinski - D
10. Dylan Sadowy - F

Roy was San Joseís second round pick this past June. He doesnít have a ton of upside, but he should be a steady contributor at the NHL level. Chartier, a fourth-round pick in 2012, scored 48 goals for Kelowna (WHL) last year. If will be interesting to see if he can follow it up with another strong season. Bergman had a good season for London (OHL), but a rough tournament for Sweden at the World Juniors. He will turn pro this season. Rod burst out of nowhere to become a second round pick in 2014. Still playing in his native Switzerland, he is more of an agitator and hard worker than a point producer. Donskoi has had back-to-back stellar seasons playing in Finland. He signed with San Jose this summer and he is going to have a legitimate shot to make their roster out of training camp. Brodzinski will be entering his junior season at the University of Minnesota. He is undersized and isnít much of a point producer. Sadowy scored 42 goals in just 65 games for Saginaw (OHL) last season. He will return for one final season of junior hockey.

Vancouver Canucks

1. Jake Virtanen - F (36)
2. Thatcher Demko - G (80)
3. Brock Boeser - F
4. Hunter Shinkaruk - F
5. Cole Cassels - F
6. Jared McCann - F
7. Brendan Gaunce - F
8. Jordan Subban - D
9. Nikita Tryamkin - D
10. Anton Cederholm - D

Boeser, the 23rd overall pick in 2015, has a chance to fly up the rankings by this time next year. The only concern is that he hasnít faced elite competition yet. He will be a freshman at North Dakota this fall. Shinkaruk had a fair first pro season in the AHL. The tools are there, but the consistency isnít. I think Cassels is going to have a ten-year NHL career as a third-line center. He will begin next season in the AHL, but he is such a smart player that I expect him to make his NHL debut at some point this coming year. Iím not the biggest McCann fan in the world. He works hard, but he only has average size and I expect him to struggle to score as a pro. Gaunce was probably overrated in his draft year and his game hasnít developed a ton since then. Heís a big kid and if he can eventually turn into a third-liner who can win battles along the boards, the Canucks would probably be thrilled. Subban moves well and has offensive ability (he scored 25 goals in juniors last season), but heís small and thereís no changing that. He will turn pro this season. Tryamkin is 6-8, 255 pounds. The likelihood is that he never develops and/or never leaves Russia, but his size alone makes him intriguing. Cederholm is a tough, rugged stay-at-home defender. He has little offensive ability and is a below average skater, but his positioning in his own end is solid.