The NHL trade deadline is on February 24th at 3 PM ET with the first salvos fired this weekend in several deals completed Sunday and Monday; providing early indicators of the prices to be realized in this year’s trade market. Early returns show a strong seller’s market with rental Tyler Toffoli fetching a good package from Vancouver, including prospect Tyler Madden profiled below by Ryan Wagman.
Blake Coleman also retrieved a first-round pick in this year’s draft along with a first-round pick from last year’s draft (27th – 2019) in Nolan Foote. Earlier in the week Minnesota turned Jason Zucker into Alex Galchenyuk, promising defender Calen Addison and a first-round pick. Whether this trend continues remains to be seen, but there seems to be a feeling that the playoffs could be wide open with many teams thinking they have a shot at making some noise.
The McKeen’s team are assembling to provide profiles of all prospects that are dealt in next week’s column, which happens to fall on the following day. We will be profiling players as they are traded all week at www.mckeenshockey.com in a feature which we will be updating as trades happen. Definitely check back here next week for detailed looks at the new soon-to-be NHL’er on your favorite team.
Marco Bombino reports in from Finland with a look at Nashville Predators seventh-round pick Juuso Parsinnen, who is adjusting well to the pro game in his home country. A well-rounded dependable prospect with offensive skill and proficiency on the penalty kill that Music City fans can start to get excited about seeing in an NHL uniform someday.
We continue our journey toward the NHL Draft in Montreal in June with profiles of a couple of mobile, skilled defensemen. Mike Sanderson profiles Quebec native, Jérémie Poirier; the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield native, just down the St. Lawrence river from Montreal on Grand Ile, should hear his name called on the first night in his hometown province. The puck controlling, highly skilled defenseman is ranked at #23 on our mid-season NHL rankings found on our site here.
Marco also brings us up to speed on defenseman Joni Jurmo, fresh off an impressive performance at the U19 Five Nations Tournament in Berlin, Germany and rising up draft boards. Speed being the operative word when talking about the powerful skater who was an honorable mention in our ranking; indicating a likely third or fourth round pick. His work in Berlin could push him into the second round.
We have listed all the 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospects we have already introduced to the readers of this column at the end of this article with links for easy access. If you want to dive deeper, the team are scouting, analyzing and writing about prospects all season at www.mckeenshockey.com
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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues Tuesday with a clash between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here!
2020 NHL DRAFT PROSPECT
Jérémie Poirier, D, 6’0”, 196 lbs
2019-20 Stats: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) - 56GP-18G-29A-47PTS
By Michael Sanderson, Senior QMJHL Prospect Analyst
While much of the attention among defensemen in the Quebec league has been focused on Halifax blueliner Justin Barron, Poirier’s risk-taking puck control from the back end has drawn a lot of attention this season for Saint John and has been a major factor in the Sea Dogs success.
Poirier has seen his point totals more than double from his rookie season with the Sea Dogs, and his 18 goals leads the Quebec circuit among defenders. His 18 markers are also a team record among rearguards, which is perhaps a surprising stat when you consider that Saint John’s alumni is littered with former first round pick defenders Thomas Chabot, Jakub Zboril, Nathan Beaulieu and Simon Després.
Confidence is the lifeblood of Poirier’s game, and why his point totals have climbed; he is a strong puckhandler and loves to have the puck on his stick as the ice general. He is a rusher on offense and uses his speed and hockey sense to find the holes in the defense. When he is on the ice, it’s not uncommon for Poirier to have the puck for three-quarters of possession outside of the offensive zone. He loves to control the play and has the skills to do so.
When his confidence is high entering the offensive zone and his skills are on display, his high point totals have followed. Poirier can run an offense from the blueline-in and move the puck effectively from his point position.
When his confidence is low, or when he is forcing the puck into space, he can turn into a riverboat gambler and cause turnovers.
Without the puck, Poirier’s size at 6’0” and 196 pounds is an asset at the junior level. He can steer away attacks well on the rush and has an effective stick as a wide-body defender. However, his aggressiveness can get the better of him and allow for chances the other way. He has a lot of potential as a two-way rearguard, but he is thinking attack-attack-attack a lot this season.
When attack-attack-attack has led to such success, it’s hard not to rely on those instincts to move the needle. Poirier must find the right balance between attacking and sitting back, but the positives outweigh the negatives, and his ice time proves that.
Poirier is already the number one blueliner on his team, and consistently plays in the final minute of tight games. Not every prospect receives the school-of-hard-knocks treatment, but Poirier has proven to be the most trusted defender in that situation on the team. That will only help his development as a strong top-four defensive candidate at the professional level.
PROSPECTS IN THE NEWS
2019 -20 Stats: TPS (Liiga) - 25Gp-4G-5A-9PTS, TPS U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga) - 20GP-7G-14A-21PTS
2019-20 Stats: Jokerit (Jr. A SM-liiga) – 37GP-5G-21A-26PTS
By Marco Bombino, Senior Finland Prospect Analyst
TPS center Juuso Parssinen has elevated his game as the Liiga season in Finland has progressed. He was promoted to the first line for TPS' most recent game and he has five points in his last four games. However, his impact goes far beyond the point totals.
Parssinen plays a dependable game without the puck, he can play up and down the lineup and be relied upon in any situation. He has added situational toughness lately. He is a good penalty killer, effective at intercepting passes and clogging lanes by using his long reach. Offensively, he is a strong shooter with very good vision and playmaking skills. He can maneuver with the puck in tight spaces and execute highly skilled passes. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he's a solid, rounded skater with good balance.
TPS has struggled quite a bit this season, however, Parssinen is putting together a fine season and has made the most of his opportunities. The Nashville Predators seventh round pick has rapidly emerged as a strong Liiga player as his versatility has helped him acclimate to the pro level. I think Parssinen is a prospect that Predators fans should definitely be excited about.
2020 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Joni Jurmo recently impressed at the U19 Five Nations tournament in Berlin, Germany. Despite being the youngest player on the Finnish team as a 2002, Jurmo managed very well and collected six points in four games.
In the Finnish U20 league, the Jokerit U20 blueliner has clearly been one of the top defensemen in the entire league this season. Given how well played in the U18 league last season, his success has not been a surprise to me. However, he has improved significantly in some aspects of the game from the past season.
Jurmo is a very powerful skater who can skate like the wind. He frequently carries the puck up the ice and does so with relative ease. He has very good acceleration mechanics and can reach top speed quickly. He is an excellent distributor of the puck; he makes firm passes in all three zones and he sees the ice very well. He is calm under pressure and remains unrattled, which I like a lot. Moreover, he has a hard slap shot from the point with a good wind up, and a quick wrist shot as well.
Jurmo has made the biggest improvements in his defensive coverage. Last season at the U18's, I thought he was often quite passive without the puck and did not keep his gaps tight, giving forwards extra room to operate. However, this season he has been much more alert and assertive in his own end, as well as in the neutral zone. He has done a much better job of keeping opponents to the perimeter, actively using his long reach to apply stick pressure.
The 17-year-old defenseman offers a very intriguing package which makes him an appealing prospect. He is a modern defenseman with the skating, puck skills and hockey sense that NHL teams look for. Considering how much Jurmo has developed in the last two seasons, I think he has only started to scratch the surface of his potential. He should be one of the key defensemen for the Finns at the U18 World Championships in April. Before that, he will continue to play big minutes for Jokerit U20 team as they are looking to finish the season strong and go far in the playoffs.
NHL TRADE DEADLINE – PROSPECTS ON THE MOVE
February 10th, 2020
Pittsburgh Acquired: Jason Zucker
Minnesota Acquired: Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison, 1st-round pick (2020)
Prospect: Calen Addison
2019-20 Stats: Lethbridge (WHL) – 42GP-10G-36A-46PTS
I haven’t always trusted Addison to be a driver of play from the back end but call me a convert over the last 10 months. His performance at the World Junior’s coupled with another strong season with a substantially weaker Lethbridge team have shown that he can drive play offensively. His two most stand out traits are his skating ability, which is excellent in any direction, and his playmaking ability. Addison is a great defender for exiting his own zone as he comes around the net with purpose, forcing opponents to make quick decisions and either skates past them or moves the puck through the neutral zone and beyond them. He keeps his pace after moving the puck which means he is often the 3rd man entering the zone.
He is able to walk the offensive blueline with poise and confidence, with excellent distribution from the wall or the middle of the ice. He is even more dangerous with the extra ice on a powerplay because he is willing to carry the puck down below the dots. His actual passing skill is just as impressive as his ability to read the offensive zone, he has a deft touch on both his forehand and backhand that enables him to distribute to both sides of the ice. He can see the lanes opening as the defense rotates to cover him and makes crisp, on the tape, passes. He sets up a teammates one-timer as well as anyone; getting the puck into a spot so they can make good contact.
Defensively he is still a bit overmatched physically but in his own zone it is less of a fire drill than even just one season ago. His quick stick enables him to loosen pucks from the wall and make quick outlets, and he is making smarter decisions in his own zone when there isn’t a play. At the World Juniors this past year he outperformed everyone else on Canada’s back end offensively and looked to be the most dynamic defender with the puck on his stick. – Vince Gibbons, Senior WHL Prospect Analyst
February 16th, 2020
Tampa Bay Acquired: Blake Coleman
New Jersey Acquired: Nolan Foote, 2020 1st-round pick
Prospect: Nolan Foote
2019-20 Stats: Kelowna Rockets (WHL) – 27GP-15G-18A-33PTS
He is one of the most intriguing pieces to be moved at the NHL trade deadline to date. He is a power forward with an impressive frame. He uses it well on the fore check, separating defenders from the puck, forcing rushed decisions and creating turnover opportunities for his line. He uses his size to protect the puck and establish the cycle game, creating positive shifts in the offensive zone even if they don’t score. Foote is a player that can help tilt the ice in his teams favor with a strong possession shift. He plays in traffic well and is always looking to drive the net.
He has a lethal shot, one of the best in his draft year, where he can beat top-end goalies from distance. The release is impressive as is the velocity. There has been growth in two key areas since his draft year, the first is his skating where he didn’t have a great initial burst, nor a high-end top speed. Both of those have improved from weaknesses to serviceable at the next level. The second layer that has developed is his ability to read the play. He still has a shoot first mentality; however, he now recognizes when his shot is taken away and how to move the puck as the defense rotates over to cover his attempt. At the World Juniors he solidified himself in the top six providing some grit and physical play that helped Canada win Gold. - Vince Gibbons, Senior WHL Prospect Analyst
February 16th, 2020
New York Islanders Acquired: Andy Greene
New Jersey Devils Acquired: David Quenneville, 2021 2nd-round pick
Prospect: David Quenneville
2019 Stats: Bridgeport (AHL) – 18GP-1G-5A-6PTS
After finding success in major junior with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, David Quenneville has struggled to make any real impact in the professional ranks. Coming up on four years since being drafted to the New York Islanders, the time is now to see if he can pick up his play enough to make it in any sort of permanent role after being traded to the New Jersey Devils. As of now, Quenneville has played more games in the ECHL than with Bridgeport in the AHL. With his shot and offensive ability as a defenseman, it is not as though he is lacking the skill to skate at a higher level but perhaps the motivation and jump in his step that would have him competing harder to keep a spot in an AHL lineup.
To say that size is a concern is merited due to the paucity of defensemen 5-10” and under in either the AHL or NHL (Quenneville is listed at 5-8”) but it is not entirely implausible for Quenneville to make it, either. He reads and adapts to plays well but he will have to be much quicker in the AHL when he makes his debut with the Binghamton Devils. Binghamton may be looking for a change seeing as they currently sit sixth in the North Division. For now, all he can do is work on keeping plays simple; from zone entries to breakouts and limiting how deep he gets on offensive plays to lessen the number of turnovers. Good things await, and for a skilled playmaker like Quenneville sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery. – Shaiyena Cote, AHL Prospect Analyst
February 17th, 2020
Vancouver Acquired: Tyler Toffoli
Los Angeles Acquired: Tim Schaller, Tyler Madden, 2nd-round pick (2020), Conditional 4th-round pick (2022)
Prospect: Tyler Madden
2019-20 Stats: Northeastern University (NCAA) – 27GP-19G-18A-37PTS
In many respects, Tyler Madden, the centerpiece prospect returning to Los Angeles in the Tyler Toffoli trade, is the same player he was when the Canucks selected him early in the third round of the 2018 draft. The son of long-time New Jersey Devil John Madden, Tyler is a chip off the old block. He is small and very lean but reads the game like a Nobel Laureate and can be an absolute pain to play against.
He was more of a defensive forward in his USHL days, with only moderate production with Central Illinois and Tri-City. Once he reached the college ranks with Northeastern, he began to play with more skilled players and the skills he had underlying his game came to the fore with greater regularity. Despite his fantastic numbers as a sophomore this year, the Kings should not expect more than good middle six production at the highest level. He has good hands and puck skills and demonstrates goal scoring instincts, but the minutes he gets for NE (often more than 25 per game) will not be there as a pro and the skills don't portend to first power play duties either, where he has picked up 16 of his 37 points thus far. – Ryan Wagman, Editor in Chief McKeen’s, Senior USA Prospect Analyst
PAST ROTOWORLD MCKEEN’S 2020 NHL DRAFT PROSPECT REPORTS – In our weekly columns we cover an NHL Draft prospect. Check out what we have written to date here listed by our most recent ranking.
#1 Alexis Lafreniere (October 15th, 2019)
#2 Quinton Byfield (October 8th, 2019)
#3 Tim Stutzle (January 21st, 2020)
#4 Lucas Raymond (October 8th, 2019)
#5 Alexander Holtz (October 15th, 2019)
#6 Jamie Drysdale (October 29th, 2019)
#7 Marco Rossi (November 19th, 2019)
#8 Cole Perfetti (October 22nd, 2019)
#9 Connor Zary (November 5th, 2019)
#10 Jake Sanderson (January 28th, 2020)
#11 Anton Lundell (October 22nd, 2019)
#12 Yaroslav Askarov (November 5th, 2019)
#13 Rodion Amarov (February 4th, 2020)
#14 Noel Gunler (January 14th, 2020)
#15 Dawson Mercer (January 7th, 2020)
#16 Jack Quinn (December 17th, 2019):
#17 Dylan Holloway (November 12th, 2019)
#18 Kaiden Guhle + #19 Braden Schneider (February 4th, 2020)
#21 Jacob Perreault (February 11th, 2020) -
#23 Jérémie Poirier (February 18th, 2020) - Today
#27 Ty Smilanic (January 28th, 2020)
#29 Emil Andrae (November 26th, 2019)
#32 Hendrix Lapierre (December 3rd, 2019)
#57 Michael Benning (December 10th, 2019)