AHL Farm Rankings: #11 Puck Warfare

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AHL Farm Rankings: #11 Puck Warfare

Post by Cheapthief » Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:12 pm

#11 Puck Warfare

There were a lot of factors that went into evaluating a players value in the AHL, including age of the prospect, salary, and progression. A younger prospect is given more leeway in terms of production than an older player who has yet to produce at the pro level. The level of competition was also factored.

We broke down the teams into 5 tiers:

Tier 1: PPG potential for a $3.00 forward, 50 point potential for a dman. This group will also have some players with lower base salaries that have high upside, but they aren’t held to quite that standard. For a $1.00 3rd rd pick he needs to have 60+ point upside to be in this elite tier. Most every top prospect drafted in 2020 is given serious consideration of being in this tier.

Tier 2: This is where you will find the very good prospects, some $3.00 players who have regressed a little, and some cheaper players on the uptick production wise.

Tier 3: With the players in this group, their trajectory could go either way and the jury is still out. Typically there is potential at reaching tier 2, but just as likely to fall to the bottom.

Tier 4: They are still considered prospects, but their days are numbers and they don’t have a lot of time left to break out.

Tier 5: These are the duds. The only reason any of them should be on a farm is because there is extra space. There is no upside.

In ranking the farms, the entire farm depth was looked at, with extra weight given to high end talents, especially those already producing at the NHL level.

For each report we will cover the average age of the group, number of players drafted by round, and finally, the number of players on in the NHL now. Within the summary write up for every team, we will also include what their draft pick status for the next 3 seasons.


Puck Warfare are contenders now, and based on the roster they have put together they will likely be the favorite to win the AHL West for the foreseeable future. This team is unique and built like no other in the league, and I will explain why.

You have standout rookie Ty Smith on the blue line and usable for the playoffs for another two seasons without paying him. Already posting top end numbers as a rookie dman, and will be a huge boost to the playoff lineup. There isn’t a ton of depth on the farm past standout Ty Smith, so what exactly makes this a team that will contend for the next few years at least?

The core. A core like no other in the league:

Seth Jones 26 $7.25 -locked in for one more year
Aaron Ekblad 25 $5 FA -about to get a pay increase
Travis Sanheim 25 $2.50 $2.50 -locked in for 2 prime years
Damon Severson 26 $1.50 -feels like he has been around 100 years, but still just $1.50
Neal Pionk 25 $0.75 -breakout player since move to the Jets
Leon Draisaitl 25 $5.25 FA -a lock to get a 3 year deal
Matthew Tkachuk 23 $6.00 -getting expensive in a hurry
David Pasternak 24 $5.25 $6.00 -locked in two more years at good value
Timo Meier 24 $5.25 -locked in next season
Clayton Keller 22 $3.75 -last year after his first 3 year deal
Alex DeBrincat 23 $2.50 $2.50 -locked in for two more
Victor Olofsson 25 $2.50 -one of few bright spots on the Sabres
Tom Wilson 27 $0.75 -cheap for this rugged suspendable player
Carter Verhaeghe 25 $0.25 FA -a waiver wire pick up that's found a home

That’s 14, count em’, 14 core players 27 or younger on fair or good contracts. There are some pricey ones, with Pasternak, Tkachuk, and Draisatl, but they are all worth what they are being paid. Draisatl is a top player in this league and well worth the pay jump and a 3 year deal. Aaron Ekblad is a pricey free agent at $5, and Seth Jones is on the high side for a dman already locked in at $7.25. But guess what? Because this core is so deep and boasts many cheap contracts, it can not only afford to keep this core intact, but it can add to it via free agency which is a scary thought.

So, we are looking at a win now candidate with a solid core and a mediocre farm with a standout dman at the top. What is available as far as picks and cap space go? No picks. None for this season or next season. Normally this would be a huge problem, but picks can wait since the core is so strong and already producing on the main roster. In 23-24 they can restock the farm with all of their own picks. One concern for any team in win now mode is cap space. Owners will splurge on high priced free agents, but Puck Warfare may have to rely heavily on the depth of this core. They have just $57 to sign the team this season, then a drop inn 22-23 with only $51 available. You won’t be able to keep the entirety of this core without additional cap space, which, could be something he trades for by further mortgaging future draft picks. You can’t expect a player like Seth Jones to be resigned in 22-23, and there won’t be any room to replenish via free agency. The good news? He has Ty Smith waiting in the wings.

Kudos to management for really building a winner through the draft and now reaping the benefits with a formidable lineup that will be a threat to raise the cup for the next couple years at least. GM Bogosyan could learn a thing or two… but he won’t. Ever.

Average Age: 22.5

Currently in the NHL: 3

1st rd picks: 2

2nd rd picks: 3

3rd rd picks: 4

4th rd picks: 6

Tier 1:

Ty Smith 21 D NJ $2.00 NHL 44 2-19=21
-Made the jump directly from the W to the NHL and is having a rockstar rookie season that puts him in the rookie of the year race, outstanding numbers
Evan Bouchard 21 D EDM $2.50 NHL 12 1-3=4
-He could be a good one, producing where ever he goes, OHL, AHL, Swe-1, and now in the NHL

Tier 2:

Morgan Frost 21 F PHI $1.50 NHL 2 0-0=0
-Career trajectory is on track, put up solid rookie AHL numbers before getting the call up and didn't look out of place in the NHL
Timothy Liljegren 21 D TOR $3.00 AHL 14 2-7=9
-There are high hopes for this prospect offensively and he is delivering at the AHL level and should see more NHL action next year
Veeti Miettinen 19 F TOR $0.50 NCHC 31 11-13=24
-A late Leafs pick, a small skilled forward having an excellent debut at St. Cloud State

Tier 3:

Kasper Simontaival 19 F LAK $1.00 SML 30 3-4=7
-Still young and putting up numbers in Mestis, but a long term prospect that needs several years of development

Tier 4:

Aleksi Saarela 24 F FLA $1.00 SML 43 23-14=37
-Several good AHL seasons got him a 9 game look in Florida and he put up some points and continues to pile them up in the SML
Jack Studnicka 22 F BOS $0.50 AHL 5 0-2=2
-19 NHL games this season with just 3 points after putting up decent numbers in the AHL

Tier 5:

Ivan Lodnia 21 F MIN $1.00 KHL 27 1-6=7
-Played 5 OHL seasons, 6 AHL games, and spent this year in the KHL not producing a whole lot with one goal in 27 games
Nikolai Prokhorkin 27 F LAK $1.00 KHL 45 12-14=26
-Was a hot commodity coming with lots of hype after a PPG KHL season, performed decently in an NHL season, but is struggling to keep it up in the KHL this year
Ostap Safin 22 F EDM $0.50 AHL 13 4-1=5
-Bounced around the ECHL and AHL but not wowing in either spot
Brady Keeper 24 D FLA $0.50 AHL 10 2-1=3
-At 24, there has got to be more production to have any potential fantasy value and we have never really seen it
Kyle Wood 24 D DET $0.50 DEL-2 32 5-16=21
-Did put up numbers in the AHL but each season we saw those numbers dropping which is a recipe for a career in the DEL-2
Roland McKeown 25 D CAR $1.50 SweHL 24 4-5=9
-Has been decent at the AHL but has now moved on to struggle mightily in the SweHL
Nick Ebert 26 D NYR $0.50 SweHL 19 4-7=11
-Was adequate in the AHL but has moved on to the SweHL where he is likely to stay

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