With the World Junior Championship behind us, it's time for my midseason update of the top 50 NHL prospect rankings.
I often point out that young players change significantly in a short period of time. If you compare draft rankings from September to May, you will notice this significant shift. This trend continues after the draft, as the 2016 NHL draft class looks a lot different now than it did 12 months ago, and the first round probably would have some significant changes.
Because of the midseason nature of these rankings, creating criteria for player eligibility is difficult. I use my standard definition of 25 NHL games in a single season or 50 career to graduate, but due to games still being played I also do not include any players currently in the NHL, regardless of total games played. So for this edition, Dylan Strome and Kyle Connor are eligible, but Jesse Puljujarvi, Kevin Fiala and Shea Theodore are not. All statistics and eligibility determinations are as of Jan. 18, 2017.
The following is based on my diligent tracking and observation of these prospects over the course of the season and past years as well. Live scouting, statistical analysis, video scouting and discussions with scouts and executives across the industry are all incorporated into this process.