The third installment of Second City Hockey’s Top 25 Under 25 series focuses on Nos. 6-10, which includes three forwards and two defensemen that were unanimous selections at their ranking.
The rankings are calculated on a composite score based on votes from four Second City Hockey writers.
No. 10 — Evan Barratt
Birth date: Feb. 18, 1999 (20)
Acquired via: 2017 NHL draft — third round (No. 90)
Team: Penn State (NCAA)
Stats: 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 26 games
Size: 5-foot-11, 190 pounds
Rankings: 9 (Shepard); 11 (Dave, Matt)
Last T25U25 ranking: 25. Up 15 spots. (we know he was undervalued last time)
Barratt, who underwent hip surgery last spring, is again one of the Big Ten’s top offensive players on a high-octane team with Penn State. He has 28 points in 26 games compared to 43 points in 32 games during his sophomore season. His time rehabbing and conditioning helped improved his speed and gave him time to work on his first few steps with the puck, he recently told The Chicago Sun-Times.
Barratt is expected to sign with the Blackhawks once No. 8 Penn State’s season ends in the spring. The Nittany Lions are projected to be a NCAA tournament team, which starts with the regional round March 27. The Rockford IceHogs have five games after the regional round.
#Blackhawks prospect Evan Barratt scored his sixth goal this season tonight for No. 6 Penn State. He has 21 points in 17 games during his junior season. #NCAAHockey #HockeyValley pic.twitter.com/b2LJTC7yKJ— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) December 8, 2019
#NTDP Alumni Update. Evan Barratt gets the pass and picks a corner to tally on the PP in Penn State's 4-2 win over Notre Dame on Friday night.— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) December 18, 2019
Barratt now has recorded 7 's and 15 's in 19 games this season. #HockeyValley #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/zrtShuP1oV
No. 9 — Alex Nylander
Birth date: March 2, 1998 (21)
Acquired via: Trade with Buffalo in 2019
Stats: 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 47 games
Size: 6’1”, 192 pounds
Contract: 2 years, $863,333
Rankings: 8 (Brandon, Dave, Matt); 16 (Shepard)
Last T25U25 ranking: 10. Up 1 spot.
In his first full NHL season, Nylander has shown why the Blackhawks traded for him and other times he’s left people scratching their heads at his inconsistent play. He’s been up and down the lineup from playing with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, to being on the fourth line and even a healthy scratch. Nylander now looks to be a fixture in a bottom-six role.
When Nylander is playing his best, his speed, ability to read plays and takeaway the puck from the opposition is evident.
“I think it’s a mixed performance,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said of Nylander on Jan. 7. “I thought he’s had some great games this year and I think with younger players, we’ve seen it with some of our other young guys is trying to get it consistently out of them. So I think Alex had flashes where he was really effective and I think sometimes he needs to just gain more reliability both ways but still encouraged by what he’s shown and I think if we can get his best game can really impact us in a positive way. So if we can bring that out on a regular basis that will help the team.”
No. 8 — Philipp Kurashev
Birth date: Oct. 12, 1999 (20)
Acquired via: 2018 draft — fourth round (No. 120)
Team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Stats: 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 29 games
Size: 6’0”, 190 pounds
Contract: 3 years, $842,500
Rankings: 8 (Shepard); 12 (Brandon)
Last T25U25 ranking: 7. Down 1 spot.
After three QMJHL seasons, Kurashev has made a smooth transition to the AHL. He had two assists in his first three games then cooled down a bit before things really started to click at the end of November and into mid-December when he tallied six points (two goals, six assists). Kurashev, however, has been out for a month with what is being called an upper-body injury. At the time of his injury, he was tied with Brandon Hagel for the team lead in scoring among rookies.
See it. Watch it. Love it.— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) November 6, 2019
Philipp Kurashev with his first AHL goal.
Makes it 2-1 Piggies pic.twitter.com/RR3INg84wv
Shortly after the Stars tied the game, Philipp Kurashev's 5th goal of the season gave the IceHogs a 2-1 lead late in the 1st period. pic.twitter.com/ugCNVL69Be— Greg Boysen ❄️ (@GregBoysen) December 21, 2019
Not a great view, but here is the hit from Ryan White that ended Philipp Kurashev's day. White received a five-minute major for elbowing and a match penalty, so he will be suspended for at least one game. #RFDvsMB pic.twitter.com/ALzk5O2eWc— Greg Boysen ❄️ (@GregBoysen) December 30, 2019
No. 7 — Nicolas Beaudin
Birth date: Oct. 7, 1999 (20)
Acquired via: 2018 draft — first round (No. 27)
Team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Stats: 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 41 games
Size: 5’10”, 178 pounds
Contract: 3 years, $894,167
Rankings: 7 (unanimous)
Last T25U25 ranking: 6. Down 1 spot.
Like Kurashev, Beaudin is in his first pro season after playing in the QMJHL and his coming into his own as he learns how to play against men. He knows he’s not the biggest guy on the ice and will have to add some muscle to his frame like many of his teammates, but in the mean time he’s utilizing his hockey sense and maintaining good positioning to allow him to compete against bigger players. Once he started to be more comfortable defending in the AHL, the natural offensive side of his game came to life as he played with more confidence and showed he can be a complete player.
Beaudin needs to work on his pace and accelerating in his first few strides, but his vision and passing ability is already near NHL-caliber. He could use another AHL season to physically develop and grow more confident in his play.
What an assist by #39 you call this Vision https://t.co/sMb0fZGxdN— STEPHANE BEAUDIN (@STEPHANEBEAUDI1) January 25, 2020
No. 6 — Ian Mitchell
Birth date: Jan. 18, 1999 (21)
Acquired via: 2017 draft — second round (No. 57)
Team: Denver (NCAA)
Stats: 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 26 games
Size: 5’11”, 179 pounds
Rankings: 6 (unanimous)
Last T25U25 ranking: 5. Down 1 spot.
Mitchell plans to sign with the Blackhawks once his junior season with No. 4 Denver ends, which like Barratt could come in the regional round of the NCAA tournament or at the Frozen Four in Detroit (April 9 and 11). Mitchell is focused on avenging DU’s semifinal overtime loss last season and has a goal of the winning the Hobey Baker Award as the country’s best player.
Mitchell started the season with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) on a seven-game point streak before he cooled off with only two assists in his next 11 games. After winning the Spengler Cup with Canada, he’s put up nine points (three goals, six assists) in eight games with the Pioneers. Defensively, he’s improved his gap control and plays with a more active stick than his sophomore season.
Like Barratt, he could join the IceHogs in the spring, but it won’t be too surprising to see the Blackhawks give him shot at the NHL level either.
#Blackhawks defenseman prospect Ian Mitchell ended his 14-game goal drought with a shorthanded goal and had two assists for No. 5 Denver. He has 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 21 games during his junior season. #NCAAHockey #NCHCHockey #PioneerTogether pic.twitter.com/6jRGcoKLXj— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) January 11, 2020