What are the prospects for the NHL that has seen its stock soar in the first half of the season?

On the heels of our mid-season update for Top NHL players and prospects under the age of 23 This week, today I thought I’d highlight the young players who’ve seen their potential stock rise the most in the first half among the higher-level names.

Alexander Nikishin, Doctor of Human Sciences, Carolina

Calling Nikishin a riser would be an understatement. After being a third round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, he looks like a top five pick this season in the KHL. He was arguably the best defenseman in the KHL as a 21-year-old. His skate, body, and size made him very interesting as a NHL A possibility, but it added a lot more offense than I thought. Nikishin plays tough games with the puck now on a consistent basis to go with his bomb from the point. Now he has all the tools you want in an NHL player. The issue is his contract. After SKA traded for him this summer, they extended him until the end of the 2024-25 KHL season (this is according to SKA General Director Roman Rotenberg). So, this could be another Evgeny Kuznetsov/Kirill Kaprizov The situation – waiting for a large Russian prospect.

Tyler Boucher, RW, Ottawa

It’s a bit strange to finally profile a 10th overall who I think he’s delivering as a mid-six winger, but after how difficult the 2021-22 season has been, it wasn’t clear that that would be his expectation. He’s looking much better between his OHL and World Junior play this season. The most important thing I’ve seen in addition to some offensive touches is that his game has more speed to go along with his regular body. This combination of traits should translate into a good professional, assuming he can stay healthy.

Philip Bistedt, C., San Jose

Bystedt has looked solid against the men this season and with the Swedish U20 team in various tournaments throughout the year including the World Youth. His toolkit has always been very attractive, but the consistency wasn’t always there. This part of his game is still not perfect, but he has been better this season. Now you have a tall, fast and skilful center who can score and appear more often; It makes him potentially a sexy pro.

Ryan Green, C, Chicago

Green was a difficult player to be considered draft-eligible. I saw in the USHL the talent he had. He was a good skater with legitimate skill, playmaking and finishing ability, and he killed penalties for his rookie team. However, in his draft season, he was 30th in league scoring and well below a point/game. I still like him because of the talent but I wasn’t thrilled with him. This season we’ve seen that talent again as a freshman at Boston University, but on display more consistently. Greene did excellent in college and came very close to making the Canada U20 team.

Things have been going really well for Watt Johnston and the Dallas Stars lately. After being the OHL’s MVP last season, Johnston made Dallas a teen and never looked out of place on one of the best offenses in the league. He has been on a steep upward trajectory since his big growth spurt a few years ago to go with his skills, vision and competitiveness. His lack of top speed has been a knock on him, but given those strengths and weaknesses, I spoke to NHL scouts this season who compared his game to David Krejci. So far he has shown that his weaknesses do not prevent him from falling behind in the major tournaments.

Jerry Kulich, LW, buffalo

Kulich was very good in the AHL for an 18-year-old, and played an important role for Rochester. Kulich has the skill and can score goals. This was evident in how he scored against men and juniors historically, but it was his style of play that really attracted scouts. He’s a competitor who puts in an honest effort every night, goes to high traffic areas, and has good pace in his game. I wouldn’t call him a dynamic player, but he does many things very well and continues to produce, also coming out of the world’s youngest.

Carter Mazur, RW, Detroit

Mazur’s significant upward development trend over the past few years continued into this season, as he was one of the best players in college hockey. His level of skating and competition have always been positives to his game, but the level of offense he’s showing now is very important compared to the past few seasons. Mazur can shoot the puck, has good hands and an offensive feel to go with his speed and direct style of play. He looks like someone who could be one of the six best wingers in the NHL someday.

Parssinen has to be one of the best anticipated stories of the season and one of the most uplifting overall. After being a seventh-round pick in 2019, Parssinen has often lined out as Nashville’s first-line center this season. While I don’t think he’s an actual 1C, more than 2/3 for me, this is a massive addition to the organization from one of the last picks of his draft class. Parssinen’s skating still isn’t great, but he has shown a great deal of skill and a natural playmaking ability in the years since his draft. I’ve seen flashes of skill when he was younger, but I’ve never seen this level of puck game coming. He combines that with a good-sized tire and a willingness to attack the inside with this one. This pro-style mentality that goes along with his creativity has been and will continue to bring him a lot of success.

Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, St. Louis

Snuggerud has been great this season, being the leading scorer in college and then in World Youth. Snuggerud was on top with the USNTDP his draft season but he was never *the*guy* on that team. In fact, four other strikers on that team were picked ahead of him. Snuggerud was always seen as a skilled, hard-working marksman but there were questions about his pace of footing and his attacking dynamism. This season he has shown that he has another level of offense while still being one of the hardest workers on the ice. Snuggerud is on his way to being a solid top six player.

William Wallender, LHD, Detroit

Wallinder has been excellent in the SHL this season, with the 20-year-old being one of Rogle’s best players. As a 6-foot-4 defenseman who can skate well for his size and shows plenty of offense this season, one day you can imagine Wallinder in one of the top four spots in the NHL. His defense and physique could need some improvement, but he’s not lacking as a defender. Tools that set him apart as a professional, especially with the level of skill and playmaking he now displays.

(Photo by Carter Mazur: Lawrence Scott/Getty Images)

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