Ranking the top AHL prospects

Nikita Kucherov is tied for the AHL lead in goals and second in overall scoring so far this season. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Hockey season around the globe is well underway, and over the last few weeks I've been on the road taking in AHL action. The AHL can sometimes get lost in the limelight of the CHL and even college hockey, but as the NHL's primary minor league, I was able to get a lot of scouting notes on some of the game's top prospects. The following are my observations from the past few weeks.

The Standout

Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (Syracuse)

Kucherov has looked great early on in his first AHL season, co-leading the AHL in goals and second in overall scoring, displaying dynamic offensive abilities. He's shown very high-end puck-possession skills while playing in tight spots, and the offensive hockey sense to create scoring chances with consistency. Kucherov adds good speed and finishing skill, which makes him a dangerous all-around offensive weapon.