AHL Farm Rankings: #6 Steelheads

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AHL Farm Rankings: #6 Steelheads

Post by Cheapthief » Wed May 05, 2021 12:47 pm

#6 Steelheads

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.


Let us not forget, it was not too long ago (2015-16) that Steelheads raised the AHL cup over their heads meaning every team in the AHL East has won the coveted trophy… except the Mustangs. When you look at the approach to team building, you see that the Steelheads embrace tanking, embrace the value of 1st round picks, and typically acquire these assets via selling high priced free agents they pick up in the free agent draft with no intention of keeping to make a run. The owner is either stockpiling first round picks, or going for gold. The current iteration of the Steelheads is all about stockpiling and they have complied an impressive group of prospects and assets at the expense of a core that can make them relevant this coming season.

There is some stuff here, nothing on defense worth looking at, but a decent group of forwards, some at a worthwhile price tag. The core is, and has been led by Jack Eichel 24 $7.50 on a 6 year deal, and there are some decent young players past that with:

Filip Chytil 21 $2.00 FA

Christian Dvorak 25 $1.00 $1.00
Miles Wood 25 $1.00 FA

Warren Foegele 25 $1.00 FA
Andrew Copp 26 $0.50 FA
Nick Merkley 23 $0.50 FA

Expect Copp to get a big pay raise, but he has earned it. So we have a little core, but its neither deep enough nor good enough to build around, so we will need to see some new recruits come up from the farm at some point. The good news, is that this farm boasts a deep group of both tier 1 and tier 2 prospects with virtually no duds, just two by my count.

As far as picks go, Steelheads are addicted to first round picks (10 farm players chosen in first round) and they have added three over the next two years in addition to their own the next three seasons. As far as 1st round picks go, though, you can’t do much worse than Broadway, Shortstackers, and Big M’s in terms of where those picks will land. For the next 3 years he owns all his picks except a 21-22 3rd, and a 22-23 2nd. So we see there are loads of assets in terms of picks. Most importantly, the Steelheads officially won the lottery and get the 1st overall pick this season. Normally that's a relatively easy choice, but with Covid causing havoc its still very unclear who the top player is from this draft, so GM Tessaro will have a tough decision to make.

What about cash? Somehow this team has stockpiled a boatload for this coming season with $75, while maintaining their $60 the following years. What exactly is the plan for this cash? Well, if history holds true, expect Steelheads to be bidding on all the biggest, high priced free agents with the intention of flipping them to contending teams at the deadline, further stocking up on a 1st round heavy farm.

Average Age: 20.8

Currently in the NHL: 4 

1st rd picks: 10

2nd rd picks: 4

3rd rd picks: 3

4th rd picks: 0

Tier 1:

Marco Rossi 19 F MIN $3.00 Swiss-A 1 0-1=1
-Hasn't played this season, but he posted an astounding 120 pts in 56 OHL games. A tiny, offensively gifted player
Tyson Foerster 19 F PHI $2.50 AHL 13 6-5=11
-A PPG 19 year old AHL rookie is fast tracking his way to the pros
Connor Zary 19 F CAL $2.50 WHL 8 3-13=16
-Got a look in the AHL and brought it, with 7 points in 9 games and is now posting 2 PPG in the W, stock is on the rise
Bowen Byram 19 D COL $3.00 NHL 19 0-2=2
-Seeing sheltered minutes on a deep Colorado team, high expectations but the slow start offensively isn't a concern for a 19 year old

Tier 2:

Jesse Ylonen 21 F MTL $1.00 AHL 20 7-6=13
-Crossed the pond from the SML to the AHL and is performing in his rookie season with Laval
Vitali Kravtsov 21 F NYR $3.00 NHL 8 0-1=1
-Came over after a successful KHL season looking to translate that confidence to a young Rangers squad
Rasmus Kupari 21 F LAK $2.50 AHL 25 5-13=18
-All you can ask of a prospect is progression, and we have seen that in his second AHL season more than doubling his point total in 2 fewer games
Jacob Perreault 19 F ANA $2.00 AHL 18 3-8=11
-Good start to his rookie AHL season after making the jump from the Sarnia sting after just two seasons
Joe Veleno 21 F DET $2.00 SweHL 46 11-9=20
-After a solid opening season in the AHL, he elected to go overseas and is performing reasonably well in the SweHL
Jay O'Brien 21 F PHI $2.50 H-East 16 8-8=16
-Having a great year at Boston U posting a PPG, and half of those being goals
Kale Clague 22 D LAK $2.00 NHL 18 0-6=6
-Good offensive pedigree from his years in the W, starting to make his way in his rookie NHL season and holding his own
Connor McMichael 20 F WSH $2.50 AHL 22 8-5=13
-Posted a 100 pt season in junior, but so far in the AHL the production has been mediocre in his rookie season

Tier 3:

Jared Bernard-Docker 20 D OTT $1.00 NHL 1 0-0=0
-Decent production in college got his first taste of NHL action this year, but is several years from a regular job on an NHL team... even Ottawa
Philip Broberg 19 D EDM $2.50 SweHL 44 3-10=13
-A top 10 pick seeing a modest increase in his second SweHL season and is still several years away from being NHL ready

Tier 4:

Simon Holmstrom 19 F NYI $2.50 AHL 18 3-2=5
-Struggling to gain traction at the AHL level

Tier 5:

Slater Koekkoek 27 D EDM $2.00 NHL 17 1-0=1
-His last year on the farm and likely won't even get a Toews rule call up, nor should he
Jordan Schmaltz 27 D ARI $1.00 AHL 21 1-3=4
-His NHL career was short lived at just 42 games over 3 seasons and he is now floundering forever in the minors

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