It’s well into November and we’ve finished revealing our annual top 20 prospect rankings! Now all that’s left to do is to unveil our ballots, break down the rankings, and ponder the ways our list will look silly when players break out over the next year.
The top 20
We operated with a pretty simple system: our panel was asked to rank the 33 eligible prospects from 1 to 20, with first place votes worth 20 points and 20th place worth 1 point. We tallied up the points to provide a ranking of the organization’s top youngsters.
Nine players – Lucas Feuk, Rory Kerins, Justin Kirkland, Demetrios Koumontzis, Carl-Johan Lerby, Mitchell Mattson, Josh Nodler, Ilya Solovyov and Artyom Zagidulin – all failed to make any of our top 20 lists.
Four players received votes but were just shy of the cut-off for the top 20: Daniil Chechelev (1 point), Jake Boltmann (1 point), Filip Sveningsson (5 points) and Colton Poolman (5 points).
Here’s how the Top 20 shook out:
|Rank||Prospect||Points||Change from 2019
|T4||Dustin Wolf||83*||Up from 14|
|6||Emilio Pettersen||73||Down from 5|
|8||Glenn Gawdin||62||Up from NR|
|9||Matthew Phillips||61||Down from 4|
|11||Adam Ruzicka||52||Down from 8|
|13||Ilya Nikolayev||32||Down from 11|
|15||Eetu Tuulola||29^||Up from 13|
|16||Luke Philp||27||Up from NR|
|17||Martin Pospisil||25||Down from 10|
|19||Alexander Yelesin||15||Down from 9|
|20||Tyler Parsons||8||Down from 12|
* – Wolf and Mackey were in a perfect tie, with the same number of points and on the same number of ballots
^ – Kinnvall and Tuulola were tied in points, but Kinnvall was on more ballots than Tuulola to win the tiebreaker
Check out the big leaps up the list by Wolf, Gawdin and Philp! Check out the tumbles down the list by Pospisil, Yelesin and Parsons!
Six newly-acquired prospects made the list – two free agent signings and four draft picks. In terms of nationalities, the 20 players break down as follows: seven Canadians, four Russians, three Americans, two Finns, two Slovaks, one Norwegian and one Swede. In terms of positions, it’s two goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards.
Five of us voted on lists this year. We all came up with preliminary lists immediately before the 2020 NHL Draft, then revised for our finalists to include any newly-drafted Flames.
Everybody had Valimaki at the top spot, a repeat from 2019’s list. Four of the five voters had Zary second (and he was third on the other ballot).
The top three had a strong consensus, followed by Wolf/Mackey, Pettersen, Zavgorodniy, and Gawdin/Phillips in a cluster. Things spread out from there, with a lot of variation between our lists.
Who did we have too high? Who did we have too low? Will we all look like utter fools – besides Mike Gould – for not having Chechelev on our lists? Sound off in the comments!