As NHL training camps prepare to open for the 2022-23 season, it is time to highlight the most interesting prospect to follow for each NHL team.
This list is not meant to simply outline every team’s top prospect, but instead identify the player whose progress will be the most fascinating to follow this fall, mostly with an eye toward players who could help their clubs soon.
Anaheim Ducks — Jacob Perreault, RW: Perreault has already played two pro seasons before the age of 20. He was very good in 2020-21 in the AHL and good but not as productive this prior season. Perreault is viewed as a highly talented scorer, but scouts would like him to be more consistent and have more pace dating back to his junior days. He’s now not a junior-aged player anymore, and I will be curious if he can show he can be an effective player versus an NHL defenseman, particularly at even strength.
Arizona Coyotes — Victor Soderstrom, RHD: Soderstrom has been solid versus men for several years, but for a guy viewed as a dynamic offensive player — which is why he was selected with the No. 11 pick — he has yet to light it up versus AHL players. He’s 21 years old, and now is his time to show he can drive play and make things happen at the highest level. On a thin Coyotes team, Soderstrom should be showing some signs of breaking through into an everyday player.
Boston Bruins — John Beecher, C: The Bruins have a light farm system, but one of the bright moments for the team prospect-wise was how well Beecher played when he turned pro at the end of the 2021 season after a tough junior season at Michigan. If he can even show some offense at camp, to go with the great speed and size he has, that could show promise of a guy who can play NHL games soon, and maybe someone who was just buried in a deep Michigan lineup.
Buffalo Sabres — John-Jason Peterka, LW: Buffalo has a lot of young talent coming up, and potential high picks such as Owen Power and Jack Quinn will be front and center at camp and likely on the big club. The camp of second-round pick JJ Peterka, who had a marvelous 19-year-old season in the AHL and outperformed Quinn in the playoffs, will be highly intriguing. This is a guy who is on a sharp upward development curve and could conceivably outplay some higher-profile names at camp.
Calgary Flames — Jakob Pelletier, LW: Pelletier had a great rookie AHL season and is the most likely player in the Flames system to break through at camp into an NHL role. He’s never been the biggest or fastest, so how well he handles the NHL pace will be a good test at camp, but he’s super smart and competitive.
Carolina Hurricanes — Jack Drury, C: Drury has been a big part of an SHL and AHL championship run over the last two seasons and seems primed to make the Hurricanes roster. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t an opening day guy for them, but he still needs to prove it at camp, especially given he’s not the quickest skater. I think, because of how hard he works, he’ll be an easy guy for the coaching staff to like and keep.
Chicago Blackhawks — Lukas Reichel, LW: Reichel will be front and center at Chicago camp after a big year in the AHL and a lot of opportunities available on their roster. He’s a well-rounded forward who plays a pro-style game and I can see him having immediate success with Chicago.
Colorado Avalanche — Martin Kaut, RW: Kaut’s name has gotten buried a little on a deep Colorado depth chart, but there’s some opportunity on the wings this season for him to break through, he will just need to seize the opportunity. I still like his game; he’s a big winger who can skate, has some skill and plays both ways so I can see him having a big camp.
Columbus Blue Jackets — Kirill Marchenko, RW: Marchenko took some time to sign with Columbus, but now that he’s in Ohio he is right up there in short-term intrigue for an organization that also has a lot of high picks in recent years coming to camp. Marchenko has a lot of NHL tools between his size, speed and skill, and in a new environment, it will be interesting to see if he can flourish.
Dallas Stars — Ty Dellandrea, C: Dellandrea was a top-15 pick by the Stars in 2018 and has yet to break through as a full-time regular. His pure scoring may never be great, but he has a lot of pro elements in his game. This is a big camp for him, as he’s a year out from needing waivers. The Stars lineup could use a little more talent up front and it would be ideal if Dellandrea could break through.