Blackhawks News

Sunday Morning Power Rankings-NHL Central Division Top Prospects

By Sean Fitzgerald
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Sep 15, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) makes a save during the third period against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. The Blues defeated the Stars 6-5 in the shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With football starting up today, people should not forget that hockey won’t be far behind. The twitter faithful are posting the famous Green Day Lyrics, “wake me up when September ends”. As football starts everyone is looking at their team’s draft picks. I decided to look at prospects (draft picks) in the Central division, specifically the cream of the crop. This week’s Sunday Morning Power Rankings, we are looking at the Top Prospects in the Central Division.

Here are the rankings:

7. Colorado Avalanche: Conner Bleackley Center- Bleackley was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NHL draft. Beackley is a nice blend of size, speed, and skill. He is also known for his quick hands. Beackley played in the WHL last season recording 29 goals and 39 assists for 68 points. In his WHL career Beackley has recorded 40 goals and 48 assists in 153 games. In addition to playing in the WHL, Beackley played on the Canada’s World Junior team. Canada took third place in the tournament. He had one goal and two assists in 7 games. Beackley just turned 18 years old and probably needs to spend some more time in the WHL. NHL scouts project that Bleackley will reach the NHL in 2016-17 season.

6. Winnipeg Jets: Joshua Morrissey Defenseman-Morrissey was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NHL draft. He was the 13th overall pick. Morrissey spent last season with in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders, where he set career highs in goals, assists, and points. After setting career highs with the Price Albert Raiders, Morrissey was called up to the St. Johns Ice Caps. In the AHL playoffs, Morrissey recorded 2 goals and 4 assists in 10 games. Scouts say that when Morrissey reaches the NHL, he will be a top five defensive prospect. People project Morrissey in the NHL by 2015-16.

5. Mathew Dumba-Minnesota Wild Defenseman- Dumba was drafted in the first round of 2012 NHL draft. He was the 7th overall pick in that draft. Dumba is known for his unique blend of offensive skills, speed, and a strong physical game. Dumba made the Wild out of training camp last season, but could not crack the lineup consistently. He spent the majority of last season with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. He had 8 goals and 16 assists in 26 regular season games. In the WHL playoffs, Dumba had 8 goals and 18 assists in 21 games. The Wild are hoping Dumba can crack the starting lineup this season.

4. Brett Ritchie-Dallas Stars Right Wing- Ritchie was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 NHL draft. Ritchie has been a goal scorer his entire life. In his OHL career, he had 99 goals and 92 assists in 220 games. Last season with the Texas Stars of the AHL, Ritchie scored 22 goals and had 26 assists. Ritchie is projected to join the Dallas Stars this coming season. The Stars lineup could get even better with Ritchie in it.

3. Nashville Predators-Filip Forsberg Center- Forsberg was acquired by the Nashville Predators from the Washington Capitals in April of 2013. Forsberg had a cup of coffee with the Predators last season but had trouble adapting to the North American style of play. Forsberg righted the ship with Sweden’s 2014 World Junior team. Forsberg lead all players with 12 points in seven games and was given the tournament’s most valuable player award. Sweden won the silver medal. With the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, Forsberg had 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 total points. Forsberg is known for his great stick handling and great hockey sense. The Predators faithful could be seeing Forsberg this coming season.

2. Chicago Blackhawks-Teuvo Teravainen Center- Teravainen was drafted in the first round of 2012 NHL draft with the 18th pick. Many view Teravainen as steal for the Blackhawks at the 18th pick. Teravainen has been viewed a solid scorer with very good play making ability. Last season Teravainven played in a lot of hockey. He played in Liiga with Jokerit for 49 games; he appeared in 3 games with the Blackhawks and then 5 games with the Rockford Icehogs. He also appeared in 27 games with Finland’s U20, EHT, and international team. Teravainen’s recorded 9 goals and 35 assists with Jokerit last season. The Blackhawks are hoping that Teravainen can make the team out of training camp. He is viewed as the second line center of the future.

1. Jake Allen-St. Louis Blues Goal Tender-Allen was a second round pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft. Allen has spent the last four years in the Blues system. Last season was his best with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. Allen won the AHL Best Goaltender: Baz Bastien Memorial Award”. He had the best goals against average in the AHL at 2.03. His save percentage was .928 last season. The Blues feel that Allen is ready for a transition to the NHL. Now the Blues are not going to hand the starting goalie position to Allen. Instead the Blues are going to have Allen be the backup to Brian Elliot next season. Allen looks to be the elite goalie of the future for the Blues.

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