AHL notebook: 1st-round draft picks set to make debut

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AHL notebook: 1st-round draft picks set to make debut


A deep group of first round prospects will play in the American Hockey League to start this season. The NHL's top developmental league begins its 88th season Friday and will feature its standard array of elite young talent. Forward Shane Wright, the No. 4 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft by the Seattle Kraken, had a brief AHL conditioning stint with Coachella Valley last season. The 19 year old then returned to Coachella Valley for their run to the Calder Cup Final against Hershey Washington Capitals , where they lost in seven games Chris Driedger Jersey. Wright is back in the AHL this season. Defensemen Simon Nemec and David Jiricek, each 19, are also back in the AHL. Nemec, the second pick in the 2022 draft by the New Jersey Devils, will return to Utica. Jiricek, the No. 6 pick in 2022 by the Columbus Blue Jackets, is back with Cleveland. Here is a look at some top prospects making their AHL debuts this season:Tyler Boucher, Belleville Ottawa Senators The 20 year old forward, selected No. 10 by the Senators in the 2021 NHL Draft, will try to rebound from a 2022 23 season disrupted by injury. Boucher, who played part of the 2021 22 season at Boston University, is turning pro after parts of two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with Ottawa. Last season, Boucher had 17 points 10 goals, seven assists in 21 OHL games, but his season ended when he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in March. Brandt Clarke, Ontario Los Angeles Kings For the past several seasons the Kings have built a deep pool of top tier prospects. Clarke is their next young talent after choosing the defenseman No. 8 in the 2021 draft. The 20 year old spent the early part of last season with the Kings, where he had two assists in nine games, and Ontario, where he had a goal and an assist in a five AHL games. He then won a gold medal with Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship and finished his season in the OHL with Barrie, where he had 61 points 23 goals, 38 assists in 31 games. He was named to the OHL First All Star Team as well as the Canadian Hockey League First All Star Team Jaden Schwartz Jersey. Clarke finsihed his season with 23 points seven goals, 16 assists in 12 OHL playoff games. Dylan Guenther, Tucson Arizona Coyotes Picked in between Clarke and Boucher in the 2021 draft was Guenther, who went to Arizona with the No. 9 pick. The rebuilding Coyotes have amassed a strong collection of prospects and are giving the 20 year old forward time to develop in the AHL. Guenther played 33 games with Arizona last season and had 15 points six goals, nine assists before he was assigned to Seattle of the Western Hockey League, where he had 29 points 13 goals, 16 assists in 20 games. Like Clarke, Guenther won a gold medal for Canada at the WJC. He then finished fourth in WHL playoff scoring with 28 points league high 16 goals, 12 assists in 19 games to help Seattle reach the Memorial Cup tournament. Chaz Lucius, Manitoba Winnipeg Jets Lucius, a 20 year old forward, is working his way back after shoulder surgery ended his season. The No. 18 pick in the 2021 draft, Lucius started last season with Manitoba and had five points two goals, three assists in 12 games Philipp Grubauer Jersey. After representing the United States at the WJC, he went to Portland of the WHL and had 15 points five goals, 10 assists in six games. Brennan Othmann, Hartford New York Rangers The 20 year old forward, chosen 16th in the 2021 draft by the Rangers, competed against Guenther for the Memorial Cup with Peterborough last season. Othmann finished his OHL career with Peterborough following a trade from Flint. He had 67 points 29 goals, 38 assists in 56 OHL games last season and tied for third in playoff scoring with 25 points eight goals, 17 assists in 23 games. His season also included a gold medal with Canada at the WJC.