This article is part of our Prospects Analysis series.
The first entry in a four-part series, this piece breaks down the prospect pools of each franchise in the Metropolitan Division, including the teams and leagues for which they played in 2015-16. The bolded numbers next to players' names represent their rank among the NHL's top 100 prospects, if applicable.
(Note: Players with 25 games or more of NHL regular-season experience are not eligible.)
1. Sebastian Aho, F, Karpat [Liiga] 23
2. Jake Bean, D, Calgary [WHL] 50
3. Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer [WHL] 59
4. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Niagara/Flint [OHL] 93
5. Julien Gauthier, F, Val-d'Or [QMJHL]
6. Aleksi Saarela, F, Assat [Liiga]
7. Janne Kuokkanen, F, Karpat U20 [Liiga Jr.]
8. Valentin Zykov, F, Charlotte/Ontario [AHL]
9. Sergey Tolchinsky, F, Carolina [NHL]/Charlotte [AHL]
10. Nicolas Roy, F, Chicoutimi [QMJHL]
Sleeper: Warren Foegele, F, Kingston [OHL]
Overview: Knowing full well that no elite free agents plan on signing in Carolina, the Hurricanes are smartly drafting and acquiring players with high ceilings. Gauthier and Kuokkanen have extremely low floors, but are potential stars if everything breaks correctly.
Gauthier is an elite, goal-scoring power forward who's a terrible playmaker and has questionable hockey sense. His ceiling is through the roof, as is the bust potential here. Getting Saarela in the Eric Staal deal was quite a coup for the 'Canes. A talented forward with great hockey sense, he signed his entry-level deal with Carolina this summer. Carolina's