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UFHL Scouting Auction Preview: 280 Top Prospects Available in August

UFHL Scouting Auction Preview: 280 Top Prospects Available in August

Scouting for the UFHL is about to get real! UFF Sports and the Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League are revealing the prospects that will be available in the upcoming auctions — Futures, from Aug. 15-21 for scouts only, and Already Drafted, from Aug. 22-28 for scouts and franchise owners. The Entry Auction, for owners only and featuring the top 62 prospects from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, is scheduled for October 10. The two August auctions will feature 20 prospects per day over two weeks for a total of 280. The Futures Auction is loaded with talent from the next three NHL draft classes — including 95 prospects from 2021, 25 from 2022 and 20 from 2023. The Already Drafted Auction is comprised of top prospects from recent NHL draft classes — including 80 forwards, 40 defencemen and 20 goaltenders, many of whom were first-round picks. Following those auctions, scouts will be able to register individual prospects on the open market for a flat rate starting September 1st. That rate is 1,000 score tokens (SCO), which is equivalent to $20 USD. RELATED: Scouting Launch FAQ — Answering Questions on Fantasy Scouting For the three upcoming auctions (Futures, Already Drafted and Entry), bidding will start at $20 USD (1,000 SCO) with $5 increments. The Futures and Already Drafted will likely take place in a silent auction format over a 24-hour period on the Air Auctioneer website, while the Entry Auction will be a live event and somewhat similar to the recent UFHL Redraft as well as the upcoming UFHL Playoff Draft on August 10. Those plans are subject to change, with the potential to make the Futures and Already Drafted more interactive too. Regardless, the prospect lists will remain the same. So, without further ado, here is a look at the 20 prospects that will be available for each of those dates.

Opening day is highlighted by Aatu Raty and Shane Wright as the projected first overall picks for 2021 and 2022, respectively. The perceived favourites, anyway. Raty has long been the frontrunner for 2021 and Wright has a leg up for 2022 after living up to his exceptional player status with a dominant debut in the OHL. The other name that jumps out is Jack Hughes — no, that isn’t a typo, there is a second coming for 2022. Hughes 2.0 may not be as touted as the first overall pick from 2019, but he is still looking like a legitimate first-round talent. Imagine if the Devils drafted him too?!?! For the record, they are not related — at least not to my knowledge. There are, however, some interesting bloodlines among this batch of prospects. Ryder Korczak is the younger brother of Vegas defence prospect Kaedan Korczak, while Kalan Lind is the younger brother of Vancouver forward prospect Kole Lind. Their elder siblings were both second-rounders in recent years, but these two could go even higher with Kalan outscoring Kole at every level thus far, while Ryder is a much different player than Kaedan as a forward and a real offensive catalyst for WHL Moose Jaw. The QMJHL is well represented with Zach L’Heureux and Isaac Belliveau as potential top-20 picks for 2021. Scott Morrow is another stellar defender who could go ahead of Belliveau. Fyodor Svechkov could be coming to the QMJHL for his draft year — the rich would be getting richer if he reports to Saint John — but the scoring forward might be staying in Russia, at least for now. Svechkov is no Andrei Svechnikov as much as their names sound alike, but Svechkov could become a bigger name for 2021. Ben Gaudreau is getting decent hype as one of the top goaltenders for 2021 — drawing some comparisons to Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko and Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray — while Artyom Grushnikov is arguably Russia’s top defenceman for 2021 as a rugged rearguard. Yusaku Ando is a neat story as the hottest prospect to come out of Japan. Ironically, he developed in Kelowna at the Pursuit of Excellence academy before impressing as a USHL rookie, while Trevor Wong, who is of Chinese descent, is coming off an underachieving rookie season for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets with the potential to explode as a sophomore in his draft year. Both these Asian prospects are small in stature but big in skill. Slovakia is expected to enjoy a resurgence in the coming years and 2023 eligible Ondrej Molnar is among the promising prospects on the rise for that nation. David Jiricek, who doesn’t turn 17 until November and thus is 2022 eligible, is already getting auditions at the under-20 level for the Czech Republic. Brett Harrison and Jack Matier could make waves in the OHL during their draft year, while Slovakian import Oleksii Myklukha will be trying to make more noise in his first full season with QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda. Dylan Duke is destined for NCAA Michigan and should continue to light it up for The Program during his draft year as one of the more talented American forwards for 2021. Russian defender Mikhail Gulyayev also comes highly regarded for 2023 but isn’t well known in North American scouting circles as of yet.

Day 2 has impressive forwards from all three draft classes but none more so than Matvei Michkov, who is a serious contender for first overall in 2023 as of today. He is a Russian scoring machine — reminiscent of Ilya Kovalchuk in his draft year. Some are even comparing Michkov to Alex Ovechkin as the next big thing to come out of Russia. Kent Johnson is in the mix to be No. 1 in 2021 after torching tier-II junior in Canada with plenty of momentum heading into Michigan as an NCAA freshman for his draft year. Johnson is a better prospect than Dylan Holloway was when he departed for Wisconsin as a potential top-10 pick for 2020. Rutger McGroarty has a wicked name and a wicked game to go with it, racking up 82 goals and 160 points in 63 games last season. That would normally put a prospect in the No. 1 conversation, but 2022 is not a normal draft year by any means. It is a special class, but McGroarty has certainly emerged as a top-five contender. Conor Geekie is no slouch for that draft class either — despite being overshadowed by his WHL Winnipeg teammate Matthew Savoie since they went 1-2 in last year’s bantam draft. Geekie, the younger brother of Carolina Hurricanes late-bloomer Morgan Geekie, is developing ahead of the curve and has to be considered a top-10 candidate for 2022. Nick Pierre in 2022 and Dominik Petr in 2023 are two more high-upside forwards that could play their way into the top 10 for their respective drafts. Pierre, in particular, is fun to watch — though I admittedly haven’t seen as much of Petr. The QMJHL has a ton of talent for 2021, with Zach Bolduc and James Malatesta among the first-round candidates from that league. Look out for the Belarusian Danila Klimovich as a sleeper should he report to Rouyn-Noranda. Samu Tuomaala is one of Finland’s top prospects for 2021 and Oskar Olausson showed flashes as an underager for Sweden at last year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Tuomaala is often in the top 20 among preseason rankings for 2021. So is Aidan Hreschuk as a flashy puck-moving defender from The Program, which has plenty of stud prospects for 2021. Jeremy Wilmer might be flying a bit under the radar there too. Chase Stillman is the son of former NHLer Cory Stillman and much like his dad, Chase is more effective than flashy but consistently shows up on the scoresheet for OHL Sudbury. Stillman seems to be underrated for 2021 and could play his way into the first round. Conner Roulette already had a prominent role for WHL Seattle as a 16-year-old and is the best prospect to come out of there since Matt Barzal. Roulette can dazzle offensively and should also be in the mix for the first round in 2021. Tristan Lennox emerged as Canada’s starter as an underager at last year’s Hlinka tournament, playing ahead of 2020 eligible Dylan Garand. Lennox is a top-five goaltending prospect for 2021. Martin Rysavy is a power forward from the Czech Republic who is committed to WHL Moose Jaw as an import for next season. He’ll be an intriguing prospect to follow for 2021 since his playing style appears better suited to North America. Nolan Allan was the third overall pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft and could take a step similar to Prince Albert teammate Kaiden Guhle during his draft year. Guhle was the first overall pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft and offers a bit more offence, but Allan is a well-rounded defender that projects as a quality pro in the years to come. Last but not necessarily least are two Russian defenders, with 2021 eligible Kirill Kirsanov more offensive-minded than the aforementioned Grushnikov — thus potentially more of a fantasy contributor — while 2022 eligible Pavel Mintyukov will look to showcase his skill with OHL Saginaw next season.

Day 3 is very deep and balanced — even if it lacks the real big name as a signature prospect. In saying that, Owen Power has a lot of Chris Pronger in his game and could make an immediate impact for NCAA Michigan after dominating with USHL Chicago for the past two seasons. Raty might be the frontrunner for 2021 but Power is among at least a handful of prospects that could challenge for first overall. Jimi Suomi, aka Jimmy Finland, will be trying to fill some of that void on USHL Chicago’s blue line as another promising defence prospect for 2021. If the Finn fits in and thrives there, he could climb into the first round. Looking ahead to 2022 and 2023, Ivan Miroshnichenko and Brayden Yager are both just behind the Big Three forwards for those outstanding draft classes. Miroshnichenko is coming over to star for USHL Muskegon, following in the footsteps of fellow Russian Andrei Svechnikov. There are also some similarities in their playing styles and Miroshnichenko could still force his way into the top three for 2022 — or turn that into a Big Four — over the next couple seasons. If the aforementioned Michkov is the next big thing to come out of Russia, Miroshnichenko is a fairly close second. Yager applied for exceptional player status in the WHL and though not granted, he was selected third overall by Moose Jaw in 2020 and would have likely went first overall in other years. He is a high-end offensive driver that may rank top five overall for 2023 as of today. Maddox Fleming might be in the top-five conversation for 2022 as well — certainly in the top 10. He is another gifted forward with plenty of flair in his game. Matt Beniers is weighing his options and may be decommitting from Harvard after leading The Program in goal scoring as an underager. That team was offensively challenged — a down year for The Program in 2020 — but Beniers stepped up and should be a top-20 pick for 2021, with the potential to crack the top 10 with a strong showing wherever he winds up. Prokhor Poltapov is one of the top Russians for 2021, another forward with flash and finish. Francesco Pinelli has also proven capable of filling the net for OHL Kitchener and should be a first-rounder for 2021 providing he builds on that 18-goal rookie campaign. The two high school Lukes are highly touted as well, with Luke Levandowski a scoring forward and Luke Mittelstadt an all-around defenceman. Mittelstadt is the younger brother of Buffalo first-rounder and forward Casey Mittelstadt. Sebastian Cossa is a stud goaltender for WHL Edmonton and could challenge Jesper Wallstedt as the top netminder for 2021. Both of them could be first-rounders. Yes, there is potential for two goalies to be taken in the first round in 2021, which has been unheard of in recent years. There is another handful of quality forwards from the CHL in 2021 eligibles Xavier Bourgault (QMJHL Shawinigan), Connor Lockhart (OHL Erie), Colton Dach (WHL Saskatoon) and Sean Tschigerl (WHL Calgary), plus 2022 eligible Paul Ludwinski (OHL Kingston). The QMJHL also has a couple more defencemen of note on Day 3 in 2021 eligible Oscar Plandowski, a righty from Charlottetown, and 2023 eligible Etienne Morin, who hails from Quebec and projects as a top pick in next year’s QMJHL draft. Worth noting, the WHL drafts their prospects one year younger than the QMJHL and the OHL. That leaves a couple European forwards in Sweden’s Liam Dower Nilsson for 2021 and 2023 eligible Slovakian Daniel Alexander Jencko, whose surname reminds me of the movie Django Unchained. Both are talented enough to warrant taking in this auction.

Day 4’s biggest name is Brad Lambert, who sounds Canadian but has grown up in Finland for the most part and could give Finland consecutive first overall picks in 2022 if Raty does indeed go first overall in 2021. Lambert is Shane Wright’s biggest challenger in the present, with WHLer Matthew Savoie rounding out that Big Three. Lambert was selected by WHL Saskatoon in last month’s CHL Import Draft but is expected to continue developing in Finland’s top pro league (Liiga). Speaking of this year’s CHL Import Draft, Matvei Petrov was the first overall pick for OHL North Bay as a dynamic right-winger from Russia. He is also available on Day 4. Brandt Clarke is another big-time prospect for 2021 — another potential challenger to Raty for first overall as a slick right-handed defender from OHL Barrie. Logan Stankoven might also enter that conversation — or certainly the top-10 convo for 2021 — as a scoring forward from WHL Kamloops who plays a lot like 2020 eligible Marco Rossi. Both have been compared to Sidney Crosby in terms of their playing style and workmanlike approach to producing offence. Riley Heidt is also a hard-worker first and foremost as the second overall pick for Prince George in this year’s WHL Bantam Draft — ahead of his aforementioned teammate Brayden Yager, who brings more finesse. Like Yager, Heidt applied for exceptional status and was denied but should be considered a top-10 overall prospect for 2023. Those two will continue to be a dynamic duo for the Saskatoon Contacts in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League, with Kalan Lind slated to join them next season. What a trio that will be — making the Contacts favourites for the Telus Cup! Simon Nemec is a workhorse defenceman for Slovakia, who will be logging big minutes for his country at the under-18 and potentially under-20 levels as a 16-year-old. Not eligible until 2022, Nemec will be a household name internationally long before his draft. Czech defender Stanislav Svozil is no secret in the scouting community as a potential top-20 pick for 2021. He is a bit more offensive-minded than Nemec thus far. Svozil was drafted by WHL Regina and it’ll be interesting to see whether he reports for a chance to shine in North America during his NHL draft year, though he already has a full pro season under his belt back home. Sasha Pastujov and Justin Janicke are two more of the many names to watch for The Program this coming season. They should rack up their share of points as forwards for the under-18 squad. Simon Robertsson is another Swedish forward getting some top-20 love for 2021, while Viljami Marjala is a Finnish forward who plays with an edge and could enjoy success in North America as an import for QMJHL Quebec. Joshua Roy is going to be a big part of that Saint John juggernaut. That team, the Sea Dogs, are going to light it up next season and for years to come! Justin Robidas, with QMJHL Val-d’Or, and Zacharie Giroux, with OHL Flint, round out the CHL forwards on Day 4. Don’t sleep on either of them! Graham Sward is primed for a starring role with WHL Spokane next season after learning the ropes from Ty Smith in getting his feet wet as a 16-year-old rookie. Sward is one of the youngest prospects for that 2021 draft class, with a Sept. 12 birthdate, but he is already 6-foot-2 and growing into a pretty special defender. Zakary Kennett led the entire Minnesota high school league in scoring as an underager — with a whopping 98 points, including 42 goals, in just 25 games — but it should be noted that he played against inferior competition for the most part, thus inflating his stat-line. Still, any prospect averaging close to four points per game should get your attention! Ty Gallagher is a toolsy right-handed defenceman for The Program that might be under the radar right now for 2021, while Jack Devine flirted with point-per-game status as a forward for The Program’s under-17 team (44 points in 49 games) and will have a fairly prominent role for the under-18 team this season. Devine isn’t eligible until 2022 as a late birthday (October 2003). Looking further ahead to 2023, Quentin Musty and Calum Ritchie are two forwards already turning heads as potential first-rounders for that draft year. Taking a swing on one or both of them could be quite rewarding in the long run if they continue to trend up.

Day 5 has a little bit of everything — a little something for everyone. Adam Fantilli is the most prominent name as one of the Big Three for 2023. Fantilli is going the USHL route but would have been the first overall pick in this year’s OHL draft and perhaps granted exceptional status into that league for next season. Fantilli isn’t quite on Shane Wright’s level of phenom, but he’s not far off and is already 6-foot-2 at 15 years old. Some scouts see shades of John Tavares in both Wright and Fantilli, who is sure to make an impact for Ryan Hardy’s powerhouse program in Chicago. Day 5 also features a couple top-10 candidates for 2022 in right-handed defenceman Tristan Luneau, the first overall pick in this year’s QMJHL draft for Gatineau, and Slovakian forward Juraj Slafkovsky, who made the cut for their under-20 national team as a 16-year-old this summer. Both those prospects are trending towards the top 10 for 2022 thanks to their recent feats and accolades. Frank Nazar is another name to watch for 2022. His stat-line from last season has the “wow” factor — with 127 points, including 49 goals, over 55 games — and Nazar will now be trying to translate that production to The Program as one of the top American forwards in that draft class. Dylan Guenther is a top-10 contender for 2021 and in contention to be the top WHL forward, along with the aforementioned Stankoven. Guenther outshone potential 2020 first-rounder Jake Neighbours as linemates on a lot of nights this past season. Guenther is the more dynamic offensive force between those two. Fabian Lysell might land in the WHL for his draft year too — a talented Swede taken by the Vancouver Giants, to some surprise, in last month’s CHL Import Draft. Lysell may have seen the limited role for 2020 top prospect Lucas Raymond as a sign that he should explore playing overseas to raise his profile for 2021 rather than toiling with Frolunda like Raymond. Sean Behrens, Corson Ceulemans and Anton Olsson are skilled defenders with a legit shot at cracking the top 20 for 2021. Some even have Behrens in the top 10 or as high as the top five, though that seems like a stretch in the present. Those three do have the potential to trend up during their draft year. Daniil Lazutin is one of Russia’s top forwards for 2021 — another first-round candidate with good fantasy potential — and Maxim Motorygin is the top Russian goaltender for next year’s draft. Russia has been producing a steady stream of stellar netminders, though Motorygin isn’t as touted as 2020 eligible Yaroslav Askarov, who could be a top-10 pick, or the likes of Ilya Samsonov and Andrei Vasilevskiy, who were both first-rounders. But Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin were mid-round picks, so don’t sleep on Motorygin. Finland’s Jeremi Tammela and Verner Miettinen both have big upside as offensive forwards. Miettinen is the younger brother of high-scoring 2020 eligible Veeti Miettinen. Verner put up nice numbers on the same team and is already taller than Veeti, who led that junior league in scoring and is planning to play for NCAA St. Cloud State this season. It’ll be interesting to see if Verner also goes the college route. Matthew Samoskevich is yet another Michigan commit coming from USHL Chicago, having been teammates with the aforementioned Owen Power and with potential 2020 first-rounder Brendan Brisson — both of whom are also bound for Michigan. That is an all-time recruiting class, with Samoskevich getting overshadowed among his peers there, but he could rise into the first round for 2021 with a successful start to his collegiate career. Peter Reynolds was a standout for BCHL Chilliwack this past season but changed course from the college path by returning to the Maritimes and joining that stacked Saint John squad. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of role Reynolds is able to carve out there in his draft year, but he could also play his way into the first round for 2021. Marcus Almquist is a tiny Dane destined for WHL Victoria — listed at 5-foot-5 and 154 pounds — but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in skill and determination. Almquist has impressive drive — almost reminiscent of former Victoria star Matthew Phillips — and thus shouldn’t be written off as too small to make the big league. Almquist already has his legion of fans — it’s fun and easy to root for the little guy — but he’ll win over a lot more people once he transitions to North America. Koehn Ziemmer will also be a WHL rookie in the B.C. Division with Prince George, becoming a big part of that franchise’s future as a potential first-rounder for 2023. Ziemmer has produced at every level thus far and should provide a spark for P.G.’s forward group as a 16-year-old. Noah Meier is one of the better defenders to come out of Switzerland in recent years. He’s no Roman Josi or Mark Streit, but he could certainly be a Luca Sbisa or Jonas Siegenthaler type of blueliner. That could be worth a second-round pick in 2021. Alexander Lazarev could be a quality addition for QMJHL Rimouski as a first-round pick from this year’s CHL Import Draft. Lazarev is a high-scoring Russian forward and a late-2003 birthdate that isn’t eligible until 2022. Rounding out Day 5 is 2023 forward Cam Squires, the pride of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, who put up 85 points, including 40 goals, in 26 games as a 14-year-old this past season to put himself on the radar for NHL scouts.

Day 6 is highlighted by Matthew Savoie as the third member of that Big Three for 2022, along with the aforementioned Shane Wright and Brad Lambert. Savoie didn’t take the WHL by storm the way Wright did in the OHL — Savoie only registered seven assists, without any goals, over 22 games and suffered a bad concussion on a big hit — but getting that experience at 15 and 16 years old should bode well for his first full WHL season. Savoie was denied exceptional status despite many feeling he was worthy but expect him to look exceptional in the years to come. Luke Hughes is the younger brother of Calder finalist Quinn and first overall Jack. Luke is a defender like Quinn and plays much the same game, so don’t expect him to last long in the 2021 draft. Based on bloodlines alone, Luke Hughes could be a lock for the top 10, but he is a good bet to go that high based strictly on skill and he might merit going in the top five. Guess where he is going after The Program? Michigan in 2021. Jesper Wallstedt is still the consensus top goaltender for 2021 — ahead of Cossa, Gaudreau, Lennox and Motorygin among the top five. Wallstedt has been hyped for years as the next star netminder from Sweden — getting his name mentioned in the same breath as Yaroslav Askarov, who could crack the top 10 in 2020, and Spencer Knight, who was selected 13th overall by Florida in 2019. If Wallstedt performs well in his draft year, he might warrant a top-15 pick too. Cole Sillinger, the son of former NHLer Mike Sillinger, is more of a natural goal-scorer than his father and a real finisher for WHL Medicine Hat. Sillinger isn’t far behind Guenther and Stankoven among the top WHL forwards for 2021. Mason McTavish, the son of Dale McTavish who got into nine games for the Calgary Flames in the mid-90s but no relation to former Oiler Craig MacTavish (note the spelling discrepancy), is another 2021 eligible with a nose for the net. McTavish knows how to score and there is always value in goals — both in real life and in fantasy. McTavish lit the lamp 29 times as a rookie for OHL Peterborough. Lorenzo Canonica has been shining in summer showcases for Switzerland — yes, there is already live hockey being played overseas — and he could become quite the sensation for QMJHL Shawinigan. He is committed to crossing the pond and Canonica is gaining momentum towards becoming a first-rounder in 2021. Nikita Chibrikov was also selected in this year’s CHL Import Draft — taken by WHL Lethbridge — but he won’t be reporting, with no plans of leaving Russia. That is Lethbridge’s loss because Chibrikov could have been a home-run pick as a slick and speedy forward. Some would say he possesses first-round skill for 2021. Daniil Chayka is a defenceman for OHL Guelph who has been progressing nicely since arriving in North America back in 2017. The Russian import has settled in much the same as Dmitri Samorukov, who also developed in Guelph en route to becoming a third-rounder for the Edmonton Oilers. There are similarities between Chayka and Samorukov in terms of playing style. It probably goes without saying, but Chayka is not related to John Chayka, the now former Arizona general manager who hails from Ontario and likely doesn’t speak a lick of Russian. Sweden’s Isak Rosen and Finland’s Samu Salminen both produced near a point-per-game pace at the under-20 level as 16 year olds this past season. That has the Nordic forwards garnering first-round consideration for 2021. Shifting the focus to 2023, Jayson Shaugabay was already a standout at the Minnesota state championships — one of the absolute best American high-schoolers in his age group — while Nate Danielson also projects as an impact forward down the road as the fifth overall pick in this year’s WHL Bantam Draft for Brandon. Seamus Casey, as a right-handed defenceman, and Brady Berard, as the younger-but-bigger brother of 2020 eligible Brett Berard, should make strong cases to be first-rounders in 2022 by continuing to shine at their respective positions upon joining The Program. Berard being a forward that frequently shows up on the scoresheet like his littler-but-older brother did for The Program during his draft year. Casey is the bigger name between them and another Michigan commit. David Goyette is a top prospect for OHL Sudbury and another potential first-round pick for 2022 — fresh off a 153-point season that included 49 goals in 65 games for the Selects Academy. Those numbers speak to his fantasy upside as a high-scoring forward. Circling back to 2021, that draft class has no shortage of cool names, including a couple from QMJHL Halifax in defenceman Cam Whynot and forward Robert Orr. Yes, there is another Bobby Orr making his way up the ranks. Red Savage is the son of former NHLer Brian Savage and his game is as good as his name — a chip off the old block by all accounts. Red was more of a playmaker for The Program this past season but will be hoping to turn on the red light with more regularity during his draft year. Zack Stringer is a budding power forward who should take another step for WHL Lethbridge. Lastly, Luke Misa is another intriguing forward from the Greater Toronto Area for 2023. His name should start making the rounds this coming season as a top prospect for next year’s OHL draft.