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      NHL Prospect Roundup: Philadelphia Flyers’ Matvei Michkov is special

      Plus: Matt Coronato, Calum Ritchie, Conor Geekie and more are in the spotlight this week.

      Published -

      What Matvei Michkov did with HK Sochi this year was spectacular.

      The team’s regular season ended over the weekend, and they won’t be participating in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. It was a huge step forward compared to their nine-win season last year, but with a 19-38-4-7 record, there still wasn’t much to get excited about.

      Except for Michkov’s play, of course.

      With 19 goals and 41 points in 48 games, Michkov fell just one point behind Kirill Kaprizov’s effort with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in 2016-17 for the best production by a U-20 player in KHL history. And he did it despite dealing with pneumonia, getting scratched and even changing teams at the start of the year after SKA St. Petersburg loaned him out. Not to mention Ufa was miles better in 2016-17 than Sochi was this year – Michkov had to do so much of the heavy lifting.

      I kept bouncing Michkov around second and third in my draft rankings last year, but ultimately gave Adam Fantilli the edge. But what Michkov is doing is truly remarkable, and he’s only just getting started. There’s a reason very few European players shine against men, but Michkov has done it so consistently over the past two years that you can’t help but be excited for his (hopeful) NHL arrival in 2026.

      The Philadelphia Flyers have a special one here. It’ll take time, and the roster could look significantly different by then. But Michkov is on track to become the team’s next top star, and they can’t let that go to waste.

      KHL

      – Everyone knows how hard it is for youngsters to score in the KHL, but 20-year-old Dmitri Buchelnikov closed out the regular season in style. Taken 52nd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 2022, Buchelnikov has 13 goals and 29 points in 54 games as a KHL rookie, highlighted by seven points over his past 10 games with Admiral Vladivostok. Offensively, there’s a lot to like there. He’s skilled, has quick hands and can get creative. Defensively, though, that’s where he falls down a few pegs. As a project player, I like what the Red Wings have here. With another year on his contract, I’d love to see what he can do with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2025-26 in an attempt to make an NHL run the following year.

      AHL

      – Matt Coronato struggled during his 15 games of NHL duty with the Calgary Flames, but his time with the Wranglers has been a different story. Coronato has 15 goals and 41 points in 38 games, highlighted by 13 multi-point efforts. Among players with at least 15 games played, only Texas’ Logan Stankoven (1.21) and Mavrik Bourque (1.16) have better point-per-game numbers among U-22 forwards than Coronato’s 1.08. He’s small, and he’s not a high-end defensive forward, so calling him up and limiting his ice time never made sense. But Coronato has the talent to challenge for a top-six spot with the Flames next year, and this year is all about just continuing to get comfortable against pro competition.

      WHL

      – Few WHLers have been as proficient in February as Arizona Coyotes prospect Conor Geekie, whom the Swift Current Broncos acquired after the World Junior Championship. He immediately made an impact with five points in his first two games, but consistency was an issue. But with the team sitting with a 10-1-1 record since Feb. 2, Geekie has played incredibly with eight goals and 19 points in 11 games. His four-assist effort on Feb. 19 was one of the best performances of his career.

      – Speaking of the Broncos, how about goaltender Reid Dyck? The Boston Bruins draft pick hasn’t lost a regulation game since Jan. 19 and is currently riding an eight-game winning streak. You expect big things from a 20-year-old, but Dyck has played some of his best hockey since the WHL Trade Deadline. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits into Boston’s pipeline next year once he turns pro. He has great size at 6-foot-4, is athletic and has gotten better positionally over the past two years.

      OHL

      Calum Ritchie doesn’t get enough love for what he’s doing this season. After missing well over a month after off-season shoulder injury, Ritchie set a new career-high in scoring with 61 points in just 39 games. Last year was all about building out his overall two-way game, but he’s Oshawa’s primary scoring threat every single night. Taken 27th overall by the Colorado Avalanche last year, Ritchie looks like he never missed a beat with five games with at least four points or more.

      – When the Anaheim Ducks nabbed Rodwin Dionicio with the 129th pick in 2023 – his second year eligible – it seemed like a good gamble. Dionicio had his defensive problems, but as a late-round pick, it looked smart. But my oh my, what a season he’s having. Dionicio was one of the best defensemen at the World Junior Championship and has registered a career-best 60 points in 49 games between Windsor and Saginaw. The offensive potential is there, but he has continued to clean up his defensive game, too. He’s set to join Biel-Bienne in the top league in Switzerland next year, but Dionicio is yet another high-quality defenseman in an already jam-packed Ducks system.

      QMJHL

      – No New York Islanders fan will mistake their pipeline for being anything other than one of the worst in the league. But will Justin Gill – drafted 145th last year as an overage player – end up becoming something notable? After scoring 44 goals and 93 points last year with Sherbrooke, the 21-year-old is on pace for around 100 points in his fifth QMJHL season. That’s expected from a player of his age, but he has shown good hands, an excellent shot release and good pace. He’ll likely head to Bridgeport next year and get a few years of AHL experience, but I can see him becoming a decent call-up scorer one day.

      NCAA

      – It isn’t easy trying to replace Devon Levi as Northeastern’s starter, but Vegas Golden Knights pick Cameron Whitehead has been a workhorse this season. In the past 10 games alone, he’s 8-2-0, with two shutouts in his past three games. Whitehead has a 3-1-2 record when he faces at least 40 shots, with his 42-save shutout over UMass-Lowell on Feb. 17 being one of the best performances of his freshman college season. The 20-year-old has good size at 6-foot-3 and tracks pucks well, although he still finds himself out of position too often. Still, it’s a good start for the 2020 fourth-rounder.

      – Sticking with Northeastern, I wonder what’s next for Gunnarwolfe Fontaine. A seventh-round pick by the Nashville Predators in 2020, there’s no question Fontaine has one of the best names in hockey. He has also been a solid producer, scoring 27 points in 31 games – including 13 over the past 10 games since Jan. 26. Nothing mindblowing by any means, but he’s been consistent throughout his college career. The biggest issue is Fontaine’s 5-foot-8 frame, but I could see him having a solid AHL career given how hard he works, his shot and his offensive awareness.


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