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Evan’s NHL Daily: Former GM Raves About Ritchie, MacKinnon Snubbed



Avalanche Ritchie NHL Draft trade

It’s been a while since the Colorado Avalanche had a highly rated prospect in their system. Craig Button, a former scout and general manager in the NHL, released his top 50 prospect list on Thursday, and he makes it clear that he thinks quite highly of Colorado’s first round pick from the 2023 NHL Draft, Calum Ritchie.

Meanwhile, Greg Wyshynski released ESPN’s list of the top 10 centers in the NHL, based off the rankings they get from players and executives, and Nathan MacKinnon finished really high, as you could imagine. However, one player doesn’t think highly of him at all, it would appear.

All that and more in this Friday edition of Evan’s Daily.

Colorado Hockey Now

The Avalanche got a real strong performance from Justus Annunen, but it wasn’t enough, as they blew a lead in the third period and fell in overtime.

Ritchie Ranked High

We’ve spoken highly of Calum Ritchie here at CHN. Heck, we even talked to him a few weeks ago. On Thursday, former NHL GM Craig Button released his list of the top 50 draft NHL prospects right now, and he had Calum rated high. Very high.

According to Button, Ritchie is the 6th best prospect in the world. Yes, higher than a lot of the guys drafted before him. Here’s exactly what he had to say about Ritchie.

“Elite hockey sense,” said Button of Ritchie. “High-end skill and flexibility in his game. He can make plays; he can score goals. He can use his size to gain advantages. He can play a quick and fast game.”

That’s pretty high praise for Ritchie, who currently has 60 points in 37 games with the Oshawa Generals this season. Could he see time in the NHL next year? We’ll find out more about that in camp, but right now, there’s plenty of reasons to be excited about him.

MacKinnon Snubbed

Nathan MacKinnon is one of the best players in the world, and a surefire top 5 center for everyone.

Or so you’d think.

On Thursday, ESPN released their top 10 rankings of the best centers in the league, as voted on by players and executives. MacKinnon was ranked second just behind Connor McDavid, but it should be noted that four players had him ranked above McDavid.

It should also be noted that one player doesn’t believe MacKinnon is even a top 10 center in the NHL. That player is described as a veteran in the Western Conference, so it doesn’t really narrow it down, but still crazy to hear. These are all done anonymously, so no one has to defend their choices if they don’t want to, but just fascinating to hear this stuff.

MacKinnon wasn’t the only one left off a ballot. Auston Matthews, who already has 52 goals in 55 games, was left off two ballots entirely. Strange stuff.

National Hockey Now

The Penguins made a relatively minor trade with the Blue Jackets on Thursday.

New Jersey needs a goalie, but it doesn’t sound like they’re willing to move Dawson Mercer to get one.

Why might the Predators deal Juuse Saros? Because Yaroslav Askarov is looking like a really good young goaltender.

Nick Seeler would be a very popular player for teams to look at prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, but the Flyers might be looking to re-sign him.

Looking at some potential returns for Chris Tanev.

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