Each season, AHL grads flock to NHL training camps, often securing jobs on their journey to making a short-term impact in the NHL.
Among the top 10 rookie scorers in the NHL this season, seven were at the AHL level.
Here’s a look at 10 top AHL prospects from the 2021-22 season, each of which could have an impact on the NHL next season.
Dustin Wolf, Stockton (Calgary Flames)
The 21-year-old Wolf was a seventh-round pick (#214) by the Flames in the 2019 NHL Draft.
In a distinguished career with Everett of the Western Hockey League, he was named the Canadian Hockey League’s 2019 Best Goalie and was a back-to-back WHL Goalie of the Year.
He made a smooth transition to the AHL this season. In 47 games, he was 33-9-5 with a 2.35 clean sheet average and a .924 save percentage. In the Calder Cup playoffs, he went 8-5 in 13 games with a 2.23 GAA and a .929 save percentage. He won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Award for the AHL’s top goalie and was named to the AHL First All-Star Team and the AHL All-Rookie Team.
Pyotr Kochetkov, Chicago (Carolina Hurricanes)
The 23-year-old goaltender quickly made an impression after signing from Continental Hockey League’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in mid-February.
Selected by Carolina in the second round (#36) in the 2019 draft, he began his AHL career going 13-1-1 in 15 games with a 2.09 GAA and a .921 save rate. He was named AHL Rookie of the Month in March before being promoted to the Hurricanes. After playing in three regular season games and four Stanley Cup playoff games, he returned to Chicago after the Hurricanes lost to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference second round. In six AHL playoff games, he was in Chicago’s 5-1 streak to the title with 1.65 GAA (second to AHL goalies), .950 percent (also runner-up) and two shutouts.
Johnathan Kovacevic, Manitoba (Winnipeg Jets)
Kovacevic was a No. 74 third-round pick for the Jets in the 2017 NHL Draft. The 24-year-old defenseman put on a steady, composed game that earned praise as part of a strong group of Manitoba defensemen. He had 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 62 regular-season games. He was plus-1 in four games with the Jets.
Daniil Miromanov, Henderson (Vegas Golden Knights)
Miromanov, a 24-year-old defenseman who was not called up, signed a two-year contract with the Golden Knights on June 21 after leading Henderson’s defensemen with 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 53 regular-season games. He also played his first 11 NHL games with one assist. He had two assists in five AHL playoff games.
Off the ice, Henderson’s coaching staff praised Miranov for his efforts in helping his Russian teammates make the transition to North America.
Jordan SpenceOntario (Kings of Los Angeles)
Spence, a 21-year-old defenseman, was selected by the Kings in the fourth round (#95) of the 2019 draft.
He plays intelligent, stable play and has 42 points (four goals, 38 assists) in 46 regular-season games. He was named to the AHL First All-Star Team and the AHL All-Rookie Team. In 24 games with the Kings, he had eight points (two goals, six assists) and played in three playoff games.
Jonathan Berggren, Grand Rapids (Detroit Red Wings)
The 2018 NHL Draft winner (#33) forward came to North America with top-flight professional experience with Skelleftea from the Swedish Hockey League.
Still, the Red Wings aren’t rushing the prospects and kept the 21-year-old at Grand Rapids to develop their all-around game. He finished second in the AHL rookie rankings with 64 points (21 goals, 43 assists) in 70 regular-season games. His 43 assists ranked first among rookies.
Jack Drury, Chicago (Carolina Hurricanes)
In addition to his Calder Cup championship, the 22-year-old forward won the 2020-21 SHL championship with Vaxjo. Carolina selected Drury, son of former NHL forward Ted Drury, in the second round (#42) of the 2018 draft.
He had 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists) in 68 regular-season games but flourished in the Calder Cup Playoffs. His 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 18 games earned him third place in the playoff standings and first place among rookies. He also played two regular season games with the Hurricanes and had two goals.
Jacob Pelletier, Stockton (Calgary Flames)
The forward was selected by the Flames in the first round (#26) of the 2019 draft and was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team.
The 21-year-old ranked third in the AHL rookie rankings and finished second among rookies with 62 points (27 goals, 35 assists) in 66 regular-season games. He had seven points (four goals, three assists) in seven playoff games.
JJ Peterka, Rochester (Buffalo Saber)
Selected in the second round (#32) of the 2020 NHL Draft, the 20-year-old forward made his North American debut with Rochester. He led AHL rookies with 68 points (28 goals, 40 assists) in 70 regular-season games and was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team; his 28 goals also ranked first among rookies. In 10 playoff games, he had 12 points (five goals, seven assists). He had no points in two games with the Sabers.
Jack Quinn, Rochester (Buffalo Saber)
The 20-year-old forward was the Sabers’ eighth pick of the 2020 draft.
In an injury-hit season, he had 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 44 regular-season games to rank third among AHL rookies. His 26 goals ranked third for AHL rookies. He played 10 playoff games (two assists). He played his first two NHL games for Buffalo (one goal, one assist). He was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team.