#48 Grant Besse
LW - 5'10" - 178 lbs - Shoots L - 20 Years Old - Wisconsin (Big Ten) - Drafted 5th round (147th) in 2013
In his freshman season with the University of Wisconsin Badgers Grant Besse tallied 14 points (8+6=14) in 36 games played, making him the leader in both points and goals among freshmen that year. In his sophomore season Besse only appeared in 30 contests with the Badgers, however his offensive production increased to 22 points (11+11=22), including a points per game average spike from 0.39 points per game to an average of 0.73 points per game. His smaller stature is a strike against him when attempting to break into the NHL, however his scoring prowess and strength as a skater could prove enough for at least a legitimate look from the coaching staff.
#50 Nicolas Kerdiles
LW - 6'2" - 191 - L - 21 - Norfolk (AHL) - 2nd Rd (36th) '12
After splitting the 2013-14 season between the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Norfolk Admirals in the AHL, Nicolas Kerdiles spent the entire 2014-15 season with the Admirals and finished the season ranked fourth on the team with 26 points (9+17=26) in 51 games played. Kerdiles often is the recipient of praise centering on his smart, responsible and mature play style, excelling both when backchecking as well as when puckhandling and creating offensive opportunities. His talents as a two-way forward coupled with his more NHL-ready physical stature makes Kerdiles a candidate that should be readily visible on everyone's radars.
#57 Kenton Helgesen
LW - 6'3" - 186 - L - 21 - Calgary (WHL) - 7th Rd (187th) '12
Kenton Helgesen has a very intriguing story; starting as a shutdown defender who excelled in the physical aspects of the game, Helgesen eventually transitioned into a puckmoving forward, playing exclusively as a wing. In the minor leagues his 6'3, 186 lb stature sets him apart as a bruiser-style offensive player, however when it comes to playing with the big boys up in the NHL I'm really not sure how well he would transition. Realistically his physical play style is pretty commonplace and expected in the NHL, however he could very well continue to grow and develop into a promising contributing factor, centering his game on his grit, strength, passing and playmaking abilities.
#59 Nick Sorensen
RW - 6'1" - 185 - R - 20 - Skelleftea (Sweden) - 2nd Rd (45th) '13
After three statistically-solid seasons with the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL), Nick Sorensen was sent to Skelleftea in Sweden as a loan for the 14-15 season. In each of his three seasons with Quebec, Sorensen averaged more than one point per game played. However after getting sidelined with surgery for the first chunk of the 14-15 season, his offensive production never truly excelled in Sweden. Sorensen is often praised for being an active backcheking forward, known largely for his skating abilities, his heart and his strong work-ethic. He is still a young, developing playmaker, however his spotty injury history could work against him when aiming for the NHL.
#63 Kevin Roy
C - 5'10" - 170 - L - 22 - Northeastern (Hockey East) - 4th Rd (97th) '12
In his second and third seasons with Northeastern, Kevin Roy has led the team in scoring with 46 points (19+27=46) in 37 games played in the 13-14 season and a follow-up performance of 44 points (19+25=44) in 35 games played in the 14-15 season. Roy has been turning heads since a highlight clip surfaced showcasing his surreal puckhandling abilities at just 13 years old, check it out on YouTube here. With the stickhandling and puck control that Roy demonstrates it is not surprising that in three seasons with Northeastern and one season with the Lincoln Stars (USHL) dating back to the 11-12 season he has averaged over a point for each game played each season. I can safely say I am excited to see what Roy can do, however his smaller frame could be a factor working against him in his quest to make it to the NHL level. Then again, there are successful forwards in the NHL who measure smaller than Roy.
#64 Stefan Noesen
RW - 6'2" - 205 - R - 22 - Norfolk (AHL), Anaheim (NHL) - Ottawa's 1st Rd (21st) '11
Stefan Noesen is the only player on this list to have already made his NHL debut with one game played with theAnaheim Ducks in the 14-15 season. Unfortunately Noesen has been limited due to injuries, however the promising wing exhibits a high-energy play style, which when coupled with his size, skating abilities, and his determination proves he is ready to do whatever it takes to get to the next level. We all saw Noesen when he played in his debut with the Anaheim Ducks when they hosted the Colorado Avalanche back on April 3, 2015. He did not post any points however was trusted with just shy of 7 minutes of ice time. These upcoming prospect camps will be a great way to see if any injuries are lingering, or if Noesen has continued his developmental progress toward being an NHL-ready forward.
#53 Shea Theodore
D - 6'2" - 183 - L - 19 - Norfolk (AHL), Seattle (WHL) - 1st Rd (26th) '13
Shea Theodore split the 14-15 season between the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), and the Norfolk Admirals (AHL). Despite the transition, he averaged more than a point per game with each club, including 48 points (13+35=48) in 43 games with Seattle, and 11 points (4+7=11) in just 9 games with Norfolk. Theodore is another defender with an impressive skill set offensively including an accurate and hard shot from the point making him a lethal weapon on powerplay units. Couple his strong shot with a smart approach to the game and strong skating abilities and he could realistically be an NHL-caliber blue liner in the near future if he isn't already ready for the big leagues.
#54 Andrew O'Brien
D - 6'4" - 208 - L - 22 - Norfolk (AHL) - 4th Rd (108th) '12
After his debut with, and subsequent lackluster 4-game stint with the Norfolk Admirals in 13-14, Andrew O'Brien spent the full season with the Ads in 14-15 and vastly improved his contributions. This past season he ranked second amongst the defenders with 14 points (4+10=14) in 62 games played. His 118 penalty minutes are a testament to his never-back-down mentality, and alongside that grit he does present a bit of an offensive upside despite his weaker skating abilities.
#56 Brian Cooper
D - 5'10" - 187 - L - 21 - Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC) - 5th Rd (127th) '12
In the 2014-15 season with University of Nebraska-Omaha, Brian Cooper co-lead the team's defense in goals with 5 and was ranked second of the blue liners with 16 points (5+11=16). Despite being one of the smaller defensive prospects on Anaheim's scrimmage roster, Cooper does not shy away from the physical aspect of playing defense. Cooper plays hard on both ends of the ice, often using his skating and puck handling abilities to generate offensive opportunities, making him another Murray-type defender to keep an eye on.
#66 Keaton Thompson
D - 6'1" - 190 - L - 19 - North Dakota (NCHC) - 3rd Rd (87th) '13
After focusing so much on Shea Theodore's offensive prowess and discussing Jaycob Megna's defense-centered play style, Keaton Thompson tends to fall in between those two ends of the spectrum. Playing a reliable game on both ends of the ice, Thompson does not post huge offensive numbers but is rarely caught out of position and tends to make smart decisions. This makes him a dependable, however not flashy or over the top player. At 19 years old Thompson is set to enter his third year with the University of North Dakota, and while he may not be the focus of the same praise as other offensively-minded blue liners, Thompson is a steady presence with an admirable work ethic.
#73 Andy Welinski
D - 6'2" - 192 - R - 22 - Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC) - 3rd Rd (83rd) '11
Andy Welinski is set to start his senior year with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the 15-16 season, however in his previous three seasons with the club he has gradually shouldered more and more of the responsibilities for the blue line. Even though his stat sheet may not be the most impressive, Welinski has continued to grow and prove that he has not yet reached his full potential. He is a strong skater with a hard shot who isn't afraid to play the gritty, more physical pieces of the game, often found battling for pucks along the boards. He does work to keep options open offensively, however his main upside is his defensive strength and impressive skating abilities.
#75 Jaycob Megna
D - 6'4" - 202 - L - 22 - Norfolk (AHL) - 7th Rd (210th) '12
Defensive prospect, Jaycob Megna is one of the largest youngsters present for the scrimmages this weekend. With his big stature, Megna is often noticed as a dependable stay-at-home blue liner who uses his strength and size to keep the opponent's scoring chances to a minimum. While many of the other defensemen on this list tend to also bring an offensive upside to the game, Megna is regarded as a strictly defensive blue liner with more limited skating and scoring abilities.
We chronicled how the 2014 draft class performed in their first season since being selected HERE.