Prospect Tuesdays: 11-15 Prospect Christmas Rankings

He's the other Finn we have.

Now it starts to get interesting!

Last week, we took a look at the 16-20 ranking that consisted of Nate Prosser, Kristopher Foucault, David McIntyre, Chay Genoway and Stephen Michalek. When two of your prospects at the bottom of the rankings appeared with the Wild and did not look out of place, you know the organization is doing something right with their developmental system.

And the World Junior Championships is JUST around the corner! Team Canada made its cuts today and the Wild's Brett Bulmer is still in the race.

Earlier in the year, we did a readers poll on our top prospects. What has changed over the course of the last few months? Take the jump and find out!

Here were the results from the Readers Poll:


Rank Name Team League
1
Mikael Granlund
HIFK
SM-Liiga
2
Charlie Coyle
Boston University
Hockey East
3
Jason Zucker
Denver
WCHA
4
Marco Scandella
Minnesota Wild
NHL
5
Jonas Brodin
Farjestad
SEL
6
Zack Phillips
Saint John
QMJHL
7
Matt Hackett
Houston Aeros
AHL
8
Jared Spurgeon
Minnesota Wild
NHL
9
Johan Larsson
Brynas
SEL
10
Casey Wellman
Houston Aeros
AHL
11
Colton Gillies
Minnesota Wild
NHL
12
Darcy Kuemper
Houston Aeros
AHL
13
Justin Falk
Minnesota Wild
NHL
14
Tyler Cuma
Houston Aeros
AHL
15
Brett Bulmer
Kelowna Rockets
WHL
16
Nate Prosser
Houston Aeros
AHL
17
Mario Lucia
Penticton
BCHL
18
Cody Almond
Houston Aeros
AHL
19
Erik Haula
U. of Minnesota
WCHA
20
Chay Genoway
Houston Aeros
AHL

15. LW Erik Haula (U. of Minnesota) 5-10 187lbs

Grant Erickson (Scout.com) - Link

Haula plays a great style of hockey that his centered around his speed and playmaking ability. At 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, Haula will not be the biggest guy on the ice. What he lacks in ideal size he makes up for with his passing.

There isn't more you could ask for from your 7th round selection. Haula is 2nd in team scoring with a solid 25 points in 20 games.

He isn't the biggest player or the most physical, but he makes up with a solid toolbox of well-rounded offensive abilities. He has vision, playmaking ability and quickness. More impressively, Haula has produced points at every level he has played in, including the World Junior Championships, scoring 4 goals and 3 assists in only 6 games.

Haula is still considered a raw project but has continuously proven himself as an offensive producer.

14. C Cody Almond (Houston Aeros) 6-2 217lbs

The Third Intermission - Link

I liked his game from the start, but I found myself wondering: What is this guy's role? Is he a checker, a scorer, an agitator? What he's developing into is a hard-nosed power forward with a strong defensive mind-set and, just in general, a fun guy to watch play hockey.

With his excellent attention to his own end of the ice and fearless physical play (in spite of a couple of injuries that threatened to set him back), and his offensive upside and sharp hockey sense, Almond impressed coach Kevin Constantine and the bosses with the Wild enough to earn 7 games in the show last season.

This quote is written a year ago and now it seems more evident that Almond has become a checker who is a hard-nose forward with a strong defensive mind-set.

He is currently up with the Minnesota Wild and has not looked out of place on the fourth line. He has size, decent skating and works the Yeo's style forecheck quite well. He isn't going to score many points but you need guys on your energy lines to tire the opposition and keep the puck in the offensive zone.

Some may be wondering what I have him over guys like Haula. Main reason? He's looking good in his fourth line duties and has a good chance of becoming an NHLer, even though his upside may not be as high as others.

13 - F Mario Lucia (Penticton) 6-3 195lbs

The Baltimore Sun - Link

An offensive-minded forward, Lucia is a talented playmaker with strong finishing skills. He is deceptively quick and strong on his skates and has proven to be tough in front of the nets and good in the corners. He has poise with the puck and has excellent hockey instincts.

How's the new Minnesotan pick from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft doing? Great!

He is tied at second in league scoring with 55 points in 28 gqames, but leads the league with 2.0 points per game. Pretty good for a kid that is considered very raw but full of potential. This season shows that he is well on his way putting all his impressive tools together.

He will be heading to Notre Dame next season as a freshman. Lucia is an intriguing prospect. Tons of offensive upside and a huge 6'3" frame that he could add 15lbs of muscle to. Can't wait to see what he can do at 6-4 220lbs.

12 - D Sean Lorenz (Notre Dame) 6-1 207lbs

UND.com - Link

quiet, mature player who does things the right way ... will look to raise his level of play again this season ... strong, stay-at-home defenseman who makes good decisions with the puck ... has good size and brings a physical presence to the lineup ... strong on his skates ... continues to improve all aspects of his game

Easily one of the most underrated and under-appreciated prospect in the Wild prospect pool. Sean who you say?

Lets list some of the things he has quietly achieved

  • Named CCHA's top defensive defenseman.
  • Winner of Notre Dame's William Donal Nyrop Awar as the team's top defenseman,
  • Led the CCHA last season with a +33 rating
  • Serves as co-captain for Notre Dame this season
  • Oversees the team's community service efforts this season
  • The team's liason with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
  • Enters senior year with a 3.412 GPA, and was selected to Dean's List in Spring 2011 with a 3.8 GPA

So not only is he one of the team's top players on the ice, he is extremely involved off the ice. He also finds time for his studies with a ridiculously good GPA considering how busy he is.

Now I know that NOTHING to do with performance on the ice, but it says tons about his character, and this commitment to his studies is something I truly respect, especially when it comes from student-athletes who can easily not care and just brisk by. Props!

And his on-ice performance is nothing to scoff at either. While his plus/minus rating isn't great this season, he is still considered one of the better defensive defensemen in the league. He should see some nice development time with Houston next season.

11 - G Darcy Kuemper (Houston Aeros) 6-4 195lbs

The Third Intermission - Link

Which leads me to the star of the night, Darcy Kuemper, who stopped 33 shots for his first pro shutout (he came DARN close in his last ECHL game). The kid just never gives up, has great visual attachment to the puck, tracks it through traffic, through bounces around the crease, and always finds a way to get in front of it.

The goaltending battles continues within the Wild organization.

Years ago, it was Dwayne Roloson and Manny Fernandez. Then it was Fernandez and Backstrom. Then it was Backstrom and Theodore. Now its Backstrom and Harding.

It doesn't stop there. Within the pipepline, its Matt Hackett vs. Darcy Kuemper vs. Johan Gustafsson. Kuemper finds himself at #11.

Remember when won CHL Goalie of the Year and WHL Player of the Year Award? He hasn't slowed down, being named ECHL Goalie of the Week of Nov. 21-27, then being named AHL Player of the Week. With the Aeros, he boasts a ridiculous 0.944% and a 1.79 GAA.

Here is the updated rankings:


Rank Name Team League Change
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10



11
Darcy Kuemper
Houston Aeros
AHL
+1
12
Sean Lorenz Notre Dame CCHA New
13
Mario Lucia Penticton BCHL +4
14
Cody Almond Minnesota Wild
NHL +4
15
Erik Haula U. of Minnesota WCHA +4
16
Nate Prosser
Houston Aeros
AHL
0
17
Kristopher Foucault
Houston Aeros
AHL
New
18
David McIntyre
Houston Aeros
AHL
New
19
Chay Genoway
Houston Aeros
AHL
+1
20
Stephen Michalek
Harvard ECAC
New

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