Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 1st round pick in the 2013 draft (#21 overall) rookie center Frederik Gauthier(23) is another young player getting his chance with the big squad in a non-playoff berth season.
The huge 6’5″ 238 lbs. power forward has appeared in 7 games scoring his first NHL point, an assist while skating a lot of minutes short-handed time, delivering crushing hits and breaking up plays.
He’s having a good first year with league leading affiliate Toronto Marlies scoring 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 54 AHL contests with a +17 rating in a mostly checking line role.
This comes after three years of junior hockey with Rimouski Oceanic, where he was virtually a point-per-game player and won the 2015 QMJHL Championship.
The soon-to-be 21-year old, signed through 2017/2018 on an entry level deal, will compete hard at the upcoming training camp for a full-time roster spot but may just win the minor league’s highest award, the Calder Cup first.
Veteran right wing Ashton Rome(44) lasted just five ECHL games with Greenville in 2012/2013 before jumping ship for Dusseldorfer EG of DEL.
He would spend two seasons with the team, then jump allegiances to Schwenninger Wild Wings for his next two campaigns, reaching almost point-per-game totals in 2015/2016 scoring 17 goals and 15 assists in 39 contests.
The 11th year pro switches it up once again but stays for a 5th run in the German league joining Iserlohn Roosters.
He did briefly return on a pto with Norfolk Admirals but was released after only a couple of AHL appearances and returned overseas to resume his career.
The 30-year old he still seems to have plenty left in the tank and seems to be simply enjoying the ride.
Columbus Blue Jackets‘ 1st round pick in the 2014 draft (#26 overall) rookie left wing Sonny Milano(22) is having a pretty decent first year with affiliate Lake Erie Monsters.
The only 19-year old forward has 12 goals and 15 assists in 48 AHL games with a +10 rating on a league leading squad.
Taking a bit of a unique path before turning pro at such a young age, he played two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program in the USHL as a point-per-game performer, while also playing for the under 17 and 18 of the USDP recording even better numbers.
As a highly touted player, he would leave to skate the next season with Plymouth Whalers, once again exploding on the score sheet with 22 goals and 46 assists for 68 points in 50 OHL games.
He would sign his three-year entry level deal at the conclusion of that campaign and be reassigned to join then minor league team Springfield Falcons for the remainder of the calendar getting five assists in 10 games.
His impressive play and possibly that the parent club is out of the postseason picture, earns him a first recall.
In two games, utilized for an average 12 minutes of ice time, he recorded his first NHL point, an assist with 1 shot, 3 hits, 2 breakups and 1 giveaway with a +1 rating.
He’s easily impressed and if he comes into 2016 training camp in good shape, should get a serious look to start the season in the show.
Toronto Maple Leafs‘ rookie center Zach Hyman(11) plays a hard checking, offensive-minded style of game that’s giving the deep selection a longer, early look from the parent club.
He was originally a Florida Panthers‘ 5th round pick in the 2010 draft (#123 overall) but traded in the off season for an older prospect.
The speedy 6’1″ 205 lbs. forward put up exceptional numbers in junior A with Hamilton Red Wings, including 102 points in his final year before joining the ranks at University Of Michigan.
In his senior year, serving as assistant captain he popped for 22 goals and 32 assists in 37 games earning him a 2014/2015 Hobey Baker Finalist nod.
A late cut from training camp, he connected immediately with the scoring sheet on reassignment to affiliate Toronto Marlies.
In 54 AHL games in his first season he has a tidy 13 goals and 20 assists with a +28 rating and 121 shots on net.
The 23-year old’s hard play has earned him an NHL recall.
In his debut he skated a whopping 22 shifts for 15:58 of ice time with two shots, 1 hit and :32 of short-handed play.
He may be on a short leash between the big league and the farm club but before too long it’s almost an easy bet he’ll be permanently up in the show.
St. Louis Blues‘ 5th year center Pat Cannone(12) continues to elevate his play with age.
The 29-year old forward has been a story of chip-chip chip away at it and it will start to come loose.
After two seasons in Ottawa Senators‘ farm system playing for Binghamton Senators, his sophomore campaign didn’t go quite as well on the score sheet as his rookie year did, but he turned a -7 into a tied for 2nd +21 rating.
It wasn’t enough to keep him around for the final year of his contract as he was traded in the off season to St. Louis for future considerations (bag of rocks).
Impressive in his first run with affiliate Chicago Wolves scoring 16 goals and 18 assists and he had a team leading +24 plus/minus.
That was good enough for the parent club to sign him up to a one-year extension and he became an assist captain for the minor league club. He set new personal highs for assists (33 – 1st), points (47 – 2nd) and his +11 was also good enough for 2nd on the squad.
It was in the postseason that he really started setting his current pace though, as he notched 6 assists in 5 Calder Cup Playoffs games.
Given another 1-year contract, he was named captain for 2015/2016 and is on pace to record new best marks in all categories.
In 41 games he has 16 goals, 21 assists with a +14 and he also looks to be shooting the puck on net with way more frequency at 87.
He recently was named MVP for the Central Division in the 2016 AHL All-Star Game getting 3 goals and an assist with a +2 in the victory.
Although he has yet to earn an NHL recall and there are maybe younger prospects ahead of him, he has put in the effort to see what he can do up in the big league.
Philadelphia Flyers‘ 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft (#45 overall) gargantuan 6’6″ 232 lbs. goaltender Anthony Stolarz(41) is starting to grow into his game.
Taking a somewhat crazy but cool path through juniors first with Corpus Christi Ice Rays of the NAHL, followed by a year at University Of Nebraska-Omaha before settling in for a couple of seasons with London Knights, where he won the 2013 OHL Champinship and had a league best SV% at .926 in 2013/2014.
Reassigned to be the starting goalie with affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms, his workload looks to almost double from his rookie season, when he played in 31 AHL games.
He’s already tended the cage for 29 appearances in the current campaign giving his just over .500 team a chance to win every contest with a 15-10-3 record, 2.45 GAA and .915 SV%.
The just turned 22-year old has been recalled on numerous occasions without making his NHL debut but that moment can’t be too far off at this point.
Vancouver Canucks‘ 3rd year center Mike Zalewski(40) must have been a little nervous signing his most recent contract, the one-year minor league variety with his team of a couple seasons, Utica Comets.
Previous to this campaign though, the undrafted 6’2″ 205 forward was playing in the AHL on a two-year entry level deal with the ‘Nucks after only a pair of decent campaigns at Rensselaer Polytech Institute.
The first year of his deal was actually a couple of NHL games after leaving college that counted toward his term.
His official rookie year was 2014/2015. He skated 55 games scoring 3 goals and 9 assists with a -3 rating and then added another 23 contests heading all the way to the Calder Cup Finals and notched another tally and 2 helpers.
The still young 23-year old is off to a hot start this season, already matching his 9 assists mark and almost tripling his goal output with 8 in just 35 games.
It’s caught the attention of the parent club once again as they have inked him to a one-year two-way deal and immediately recalled him for a couple of appearances.
He played an average of 17 shifts for 12 minutes of ice time and got another assist, with two penalty minutes, 1 shot, 5 hits, 1 giveaway, was 50% in the face off circle and was reassigned back to the minor leagues with a +1 rating.
New York Rangers‘ 1st round pick in the 2012 draft (#28 overall) defenseman Brady Skjei(6) received his first recall from minor league affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack just over a couple months into his rookie season.
The fairly large 6’3″ 207 lbs. blue liner decided to turn pro after three years at University Of Minnesota and previously two campaigns of juniors in the USHL with the US National Development Team Program.
He joined the farm team on an ato late last season and skated in all 15 Calder Cup Playoff games scoring his first AHL goal and adding 2 assists.
Upon being reassigned, he’s appeared in 28 contests, affecting the score sheet unlike he’s ever done with 2 goals and 11 assists.
In his 2 NHL games he skated an average of 22 shifts for roughly 15 minutes of ice time with 2 shots on net, 2 hits, 4 break ups, 1 giveaway, 3 takeaways, 2 penalty minutes and 4:21 in short-handed situations.
The team went 1-1 while he was up.
The 21-year old is signed to a three year entry level contract and could spend the remainder 2015/2016 in Connecticut to continue his progress but he’s definitely being given a good look to see how he reacts, when given the opportunity with the big club.
New York Islanders‘ 3rd round pick in the 2012 draft (#65 overall) 2nd year defenseman Adam Pelech(50) has been consistently putting in the hard work to get noticed since he arrived on the pro scene with affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
On the second worst team in the AHL last season he managed to record 11 assists and owned only a -3 rating, while landing at least one shot on net in each contest.
This season the unassumingly large 6’3″ 210 lbs. blue liner already has his first two goals and a pair of assists in 11 games with a team defense leading +9 plus/minus.
In his NHL debut he skated 17 shifts for 13:19 of ice time and left the 4-1 win with a +1, 1 shot, 2 hits, 1 breakup and :13 on the power play.
There’s no reason to believe he won’t be able to put up some offensive numbers, especially helpers like he did in four campaigns with Erie Otters of the OHL.
The recently just turned 21-year old was a healthy scratch for his second game but there’s very little doubt with the current news surrounding the Isles‘ defensive core he’ll work his way into the lineup and may even never look back.
Washington Capitals‘ 3rd round pick in the 2012 draft (#77 overall) center Chandler Stephenson(18) played his first NHL game in just his second pro season.
He skated 9 shifts for 8:43 total ice time and was a great 83% in the face off dot with one takeaway and one giveaway in an impressive 4-1 victory.
In four years of junior hockey with Regina Pats he posted 30 goals and 59 assists with a +27 rating in 69 WHL games in his final campaign.
On reassignment to farm club Hershey Bears for his rookie season he played a tenacious style but seemed to be getting situated with 7 goals and 7 assists in 54 AHL contests but really came to life in 10 Calder Cup Playoff games getting 1 goal and 4 assists with a +4 rating through two rounds before exiting.
Heading into his sophomore season he had a strong training camp and was one of the last cuts before 2015/2016 started.
The super-young 21-year old may not stay with the parent club unless they keep winning but he’s off on a good skate to begin his time in the big league.