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June 7, 2023


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League has announced the inaugural AHL Top Prospects Team, determined by the league’s hockey department in conjunction with AHL general managers as the three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender expected to be the best future NHL players. Utica Comets defenseman, Simon Nemec, was named as part of the team.

To be eligible for the AHL Top Prospects Team, skaters must be 22 or younger on the first day of the regular season and have played at least 36 regular season games in the AHL and no more than 30 regular season games in the AHL. the National Hockey League in 2022-23. Goaltenders must be 23 years old or younger on opening night and have played at least 25 AHL games and no more than 20 NHL games during the regular season.

2022-23 AHL Top Prospects Team
Goalkeeper Jesper Wallstedt, Iowa Wild
Defenseman David Jiricek, Cleveland Monsters
Defender Simon Nemec, Utica Comets
Forward Tyson Foerster, Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Forward Jiri Kulich, Rochester Americans
Forward Lukas Reichel, Rockford IceHogs

Jesper Wallstedt, goaltender (Iowa Wild/Minnesota Wild):
Jesper Wallstedt had a memorable season in 2022-23, his first season in North America after playing in his native Sweden. The rookie was named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Month for January and went on to represent the Wild organization at the AHL All-Star Classic. He posted an 18–15–5 record with a 2.68 goals against average and a .908 save percentage in 38 appearances with Iowa, highlighted by a November 12 start in Chicago where he made 37 saves to win his first AHL victory while also scoring an empty net goal. Wallstedt was a first-round pick (20th overall) by Minnesota in the 2021 NHL Draft.

David Jiricek, defender (Cleveland Monsters/Columbus Blue Jackets):
David Jiricek, a 19-year-old native of Klatovy, Czech Republic, was one of many bright young talents in the AHL in 2022-23, with six goals and 32 assists in 55 Cleveland Blue Line games. Jiricek also led all AHL rookies with 20 power play assists and earned AHL Rookie of the Month honors after totaling 12 points in nine games in December. Columbus’ sixth overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Jiricek made his debut with the Blue Jackets on October 28 and went on to appear in four NHL games. He also earned a silver medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship where he was named the tournament’s top defenseman.

Simon Nemec, defenseman (Utica Comets/New Jersey Devils):
Selected by New Jersey with the second overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, 19-year-old Simon Nemec began his North American career with the Utica Comets this season, racking up 34 points and a plus-13 rating in 65 games, while also an AHL record for goals by a teenage defenseman (12). Nemec, who also scored four points in six games during the Calder Cup Playoffs, skated for his native Slovakia in the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship less than a year after helping the country win bronze – the first ever Olympic ice hockey medal – at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.

Tyson Foerster, forward (Lehigh Valley Phantoms/Philadelphia Flyers):
After playing parts of the previous two seasons in the AHL, Tyson Foerster has excelled in his first full pro campaign in 2022-23. He led Lehigh Valley with 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 66 games and represented the Phantoms at the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic. Philadelphia’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old native of Alliston, Ont., made his NHL debut on March 9 and went on to collect three goals and four assists in eight games with the Flyers.

Jiri Kulich, forward (Rochester Americans/Buffalo Sabers):
Rochester’s Jiri Kulich delivered one of the most productive seasons ever by an 18-year-old skater in 2022/23, recording 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points in 62 regular season games with the Americans. Kulich, who turned 19 on April 14, went on to score 11 points in 12 Calder Cup Playoff games—including a goal in each of his first six postseason games—to help the Amerks reach the Eastern Conference Finals. A first-round pick (28th overall) by Buffalo in the 2022 NHL Draft, Kulich won a silver medal with the Czech Republic at the 2023 World Junior Championship.

Lukas Reichel, forward (Rockford IceHogs/Chicago Blackhawks):
Lukas Reichel followed up a strong rookie season with another impressive showing in 2022-23, recording 20 goals and 31 assists in 55 AHL games for Rockford and a trip to the AHL All-Star Classic. The German-born forward also skated in 23 games in the NHL with the Blackhawks, scoring seven goals and eight assists for 15 points, scoring his first career NHL goal as part of a three-point night vs. Calgary on January 8. Reichel, who turned 21 last month, was picked by Chicago with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.




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