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NHL: BELL – 2024 Trade Deadline – Insight into Each NHL Team’s New Prospects

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 08: Anaheim Ducks right wing Jacob Perreault (64) on the ice making his NHL debut during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers played on January 8, 2022 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)

The 2024 NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone. Some teams bolstered their lineup with the hopes of a deep playoff run (I’m looking at you, Vegas Golden Knights), and others sold off help now for potential later (Calgary Flames). 

While the focus of the trade deadline is always the big NHL names that move teams - the Jake Guentzals, the Noah Hanafins, the Tomas Hertls - quite often there are names attached to these big moves that fly under the radar. Sure, some of the top prospects might get a mention or two, but the unsigned guys, the guys that likely need a fresh start, and some of the forgotten names get, well, forgotten.

If your team acquired a new prospect within the two weeks leading up to the deadline, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a brief scouting report on every prospect moved over the 14 days leading up to the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline.

Zakhar Bardakov, F, Colorado Avalanche

Zakhar Bardakov embodies the classic power forward archetype, standing at an imposing 6-foot-2, 198 pounds. His prowess lies in net-front presence, excelling in board battles, and tip-ins. While possessing a powerful and accurate shot, Bardakov's offensive awareness and overall skill is a work in progress. Though not the fastest skater, his adequate skating is complemented by a strong penalty-killing ability and relentless forechecking. Expect Bardakov to evolve into a bottom-six winger, contributing on special teams and wearing down opponents.

Cole Brady, G, Dallas Stars

Cole Brady displays promise with good reflexes and occasional moments of brilliance. However, consistency remains a challenge for him. With continued development, the 6-foot-5 netminder has the potential to get a look in the NHL, but that role very much remains to be determined. Fine-tuning his technique and enhancing consistency are crucial steps for reaching his full potential and continuing to climb the ladder.

Riley Damiani, C, Calgary Flames

Despite standing at 5-foot-10, Riley Damiani's speed and strong work ethic make him a valuable prospect in the pipeline. Known for defensive play initially, Damiani has showcased offensive potential, particularly on the power play, with a good shot and adept plays in tight spaces. However, enhancing his offensive consistency is a priority. Damiani is projected to be a reliable two-way center contributing at the NHL level, likely in the bottom six.

David Edstrom, C, San Jose Sharks

David Edstrom, a raw, yet talented center with a 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame, exhibits effective skating, decent acceleration, and balance. While not flashy, he uses his size and strength for puck protection and board battles. Edstrom demonstrates offensive potential with a strong shot and glimpses of playmaking ability. Despite solid defensive efforts, his awareness can be inconsistent. With added muscle and refined defensive skills, Edstrom has the potential to be a top-six center excelling on both ends of the ice. More likely, expect him to fit into the middle six.

Artyom Grushnikov, D, Calgary Flames

Artyom Grushnikov may lack offensive flair, but his exceptional skating and hockey IQ make him a coveted asset in any farm system. Known for shutting down plays in the neutral zone and maintaining tight gap control, Grushnikov reads the game well. He’s not going to appear often on the scoreboard, but he occasionally contributes with his skating ability. Expect Grushnikov to develop into a reliable, shutdown defenseman excelling in his own zone.

Jeremy Hanzel, D, Nashville Predators

Jeremy Hanzel could be a hidden gem for the Nashville Predators. The defender combines modern offensive skills with intelligence. Hanzel, a deceptive puck handler, creates space and finds teammates with slick moves. While his defensive game is under development, Hanzel's offensive potential is evident. Refining defensive awareness and positioning is crucial for him to become a well-rounded defenseman.

Ville Koivunen, F, Pittsburgh Penguins

Selected likely too low in the 2021 NHL Draft (51st overall), Ville Koivunen may not be a guaranteed star, but he does have the potential to develop into just that. Skilled, with a nose for the net, Koivunen's shifty puck handling and high hockey IQ make him a very promising player. While his defensive awareness could stand to improve, Koivunen's overall game is strong. With added strength, he could become a top-six winger, and be a key returning piece in the Jake Guentzal trade.

Cruz Lucius, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins

Cruz Lucius, a right-wing prospect, boasts an impressive offensive skill set thanks to his ability as a playmaker. Standing at 6-foot, 179 pounds, Lucius’ key contributions come in his own end though through his retrievals and support in the defensive end. He lacks the shot that his brother, Chaz, has, but don’t underestimate it. The biggest opportunity for Lucius is to add a level of consistent pace to his play, which will be a determining factor in his future success.

Jan Mysak, F, Anaheim Ducks

Jan Mysak brings a well-rounded skill set to the Anaheim Ducks, with strong hockey IQ and vision. His above-average skating aids offensive transitions, and his versatility allows him to play center and wing. Mysak's scoring threat is enhanced by a strong shot and the ability to find open ice. Mysak was on a strong path forward in his development, and it will be interesting to see how he does with the change of scenery. A personal favourite since the NHL Draft, I believe Mysak could develop into a top-six winger still.

Dmitri Ovchinnikov, F, Minnesota Wild

Dmitri Ovchinnikov possesses good hands and a knack for scoring in tight spaces. Playing a smart, offensive game with a strong compete level, Ovchinnikov plays a very fast game and utilizes his agility effectively. While not the biggest player at 5-foot-10, he plays a bigger game and consistently pushes the pace of play. Continued development and added strength could see Ovchinnikov as a reliable middle-six forward with an intriguing offensive upside.

Jacob Perreault, W, Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens fans have reason to be excited about Jacob Perreault, a right-handed winger with a strong skating stride and elite shot. He seems to have taken a bit of a step back in his development, but a move to a new organization in his home province could be just what he needs to get back on track. His play off the puck will be one of the biggest question marks moving forward, as he’s been quite inconsistent. If the Habs development team can get him on track, Perreault could still become a dangerous NHL sniper.

Mathias Emilio Pettersen, W, Dallas Stars

You never truly know how a prospect is going to develop, and Mathias Emilio Pettersen is an example of that. Drafted 167th overall in 2018, he’s progressed very well and has become a very reliable asset in the AHL. His vision and ability to set up teammates are top-notch, accompanied by a powerful and accurate shot. Questions about his size and strength linger, but if he continues on the path he’s on, Pettersen has the potential to be a bottom-six, contributing forward.

Vasili Ponomaryov, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins fans can anticipate excitement with Vasili Ponomaryov, a tenacious two-way center excelling in puck pursuit and offensive spark. His stickhandling and creativity make him a threat in transition, and relentless forechecking creates turnovers. Ponomarev's balance and lower-body strength contribute to his competitiveness. With tightened defensive play and improved positioning, Ponomarev could evolve into a reliable middle-six pivot. He’s been another favourite of mine since his draft year.

Calle Själin, D, Buffalo Sabres

Calle Själin, a 24-year-old lefty, is a reliable puck-moving defender who makes smart decisions in his own zone. While not a physical force, his effective defending stems from skating and positioning. His offensive upside does appear to be quite limited, he tends to be a safer, more passive player which will always limit the excitement he brings to the ice. But Själin's reliability and intelligence could be enough to earn him a look in the future, maybe even carve out a spot on a bottom-pairing line.

Kirill Slepets, W, Toronto Maple Leafs

Kirill Slepets is a winger who brings tremendous speed, and solid skill and creativity. Slepets' ability to navigate defenders and create scoring chances is impressive, particularly on the power play. He’s on the smaller size at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, but his skating might just be enough to make up for that. With his KHL contract ending, the Russian forward could be an intriguing option for the Maple Leafs next season if he decides to sign.

Graham Sward, D, Colorado Avalanche

Graham Sward, a two-way defenseman, demonstrates solid positioning and awareness. Standing at 6-foot-3, 192 pounds, his high on-ice intelligence compensates for some much-needed skating improvements. His movement of the puck is strong, especially in transition. Sward's ability to read plays and make smart decisions positions him as a potential reliable bottom-pair defenseman, but his movement does need some improvements to reach that potential.

Ty Taylor, G, Edmonton Oilers

The future is uncertain for Ty Taylor, drafted by Tampa Bay back in 2018. With an uninspiring NCAA career and mixed performance in professional leagues, including playing in Scotland, Taylor's pro aspirations may be quickly fading. He has good size at 6-foot-4, 201 pounds, and has had glimpses of technically sound play (especially back in his BCHL days), but he has yet to take significant steps forward since his draft year. Granted - goalies are weird.

Jack Thompson, D, San Jose Sharks

Jack Thompson is a well-rounded defenseman who can contribute offensively and excels in his own zone. Thompson's major asset is his skating, allowing him to thrive in all three zones. Not afraid to join the rush, he possesses a booming slapshot and efficient breakout passes. Defensively, Thompson is positionally sound and reads the play well. While not the biggest defender, his mobility allows him to shut down plays effectively. With continued development, Thompson has the potential to be a top-four force contributing on both ends.

Luke Toporowski, C, Minnesota Wild

Luke Toporowski is a centreman with a high motor and relentless work ethic. His speed creates scoring chances, and his well-rounded two-way game is evident. He did seem to be stalling in his development this season, but a move to the Minnesota pipeline could be just what he needs to get on the right track. Toporowski's good defensive awareness and positioning suggest he could become a valuable two-way center with continued development.

Cade Webber, D, Toronto Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs fans can anticipate the imposing presence of Cade Webber on the blue line, standing at an impressive 6-foot-6. Known for his physicality that challenges opponents, his zone exits are a strength. Don’t expect him to be on the scoresheet too often though, as his offensive talent is not what attracts scouts to his game. Instead, Webber has the potential to become a shutdown defenseman, contributing effectively on the penalty kill. He could be a piece that the Maple Leafs have long been searching for.