With the hockey world on pause due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL general managers have additional time to evaluate their American Hockey League prospects.
The top developmental league in hockey has another strong crop of young talent. NHL.com will evaluate some of them as part of a series that breaks down each of the four divisions in the AHL.
The series has featured looks at the Atlantic Division, North Division, and Central Division. To round out the four-part series, here is a look at six top Pacific Division prospects who could make an impact in the NHL as soon as next season:
Calvin Petersen, Ontario (Los Angeles Kings)
The 25-year-old goalie (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) had already started to solidify his hold on an NHL job for next season before the League paused play March 12.
His play with Ontario in his third pro season earned him a spot at the AHL All-Star Classic in January and later prompted a promotion to the Kings. With a young Ontario team still rounding out its defensive play, he was 17-15-4 with a 3.43 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in 37 games.
Los Angeles traded goalie Jack Campbell to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 5, which cleared a spot for Petersen in a tandem with Jonathan Quick. Petersen quickly adjusted to his NHL role and appeared in eight of the Kings’ next 16 games. That run included 42-save performance in a 4-1 road win against the Vegas Golden Knights on March 1. He went 5-3-0 with a 2.64 GAA and a .922 save percentage after his recall.
The Buffalo Sabres chose him in the fifth round (No. 129) of the 2013 NHL Draft; however, after four seasons with the University of Notre Dame, he signed with the Kings as an NCAA free agent July 1, 2017.
Video: PIT@LAK: Petersen preserves win for Kings
Jordan Gross, Tucson (Arizona Coyotes)
Another Notre Dame product, the defenseman attracted attention after an excellent 2017-18 season when he was named to the Big Ten First All-Star Team. He had 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games to help Notre Dame to a Big Ten championship.
Arizona signed him to a two-year, entry-level contract April 12, 2018 and has allowed the 24-year-old (5-10, 190) to develop slowly with Tucson. He had a solid AHL rookie season in 2018-19, with 25 points (five goals, 20 assists) in 61 games.
Tucson jumped out to a hot start in 2019-20, and Gross helped that push. He has 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 56 games and earned his first two NHL games with Arizona in December (one assist).
Brayden Burke, Tucson
Like Gross, Burke has been another impressive undrafted find for the Coyotes.
Arizona signed him as a free agent March 1, 2018 after he wrapped up a standout Western Hockey League career with Lethbridge and Moose Jaw. In 2017-18 he finished fourth in the WHL with 113 points (31 goals, 82 assists) in 61 games with Moose Jaw. He had 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in 67 games for Tucson last season, finishing first among team rookies in games, goals and points.
The 23-year-old (5-10, 165) broke out in his second pro season and is seventh in AHL scoring with 52 points (21 goals, 31 assists) in 51 games.
Max Comtois, San Diego (Anaheim Ducks)
The 21-year-old forward (6-2, 215) has already become a familiar name to Anaheim and San Diego fans as a rookie.
Anaheim chose him in the second round (No. 50) of the 2017 NHL Draft, and he divided part of last season between Anaheim and San Diego before returning to Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He also captained Canada at the World Junior Championship last season.
After his season with Drummondville ended, he returned to San Diego as the team advanced to the Western Conference Final. He finished with nine points (five goals, four assists) in 12 playoff games.
Comtois has split the 2019-20 season between the NHL and AHL. With San Diego, where he has spent the second half of the season, he has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 31 games. He has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 29 games with Anaheim.
Gabriel Vilardi, Ontario
That Vilardi was playing, let alone excelling, as an AHL rookie is a testament to his persistence.
Los Angeles took the forward (6-3, 201) at No. 11 in the 2017 draft, but a long road followed. A back injury limited him to 32 games with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League in 2017-18 and four games with Ontario last season.
He did not return until Nov. 22, 2019 with Ontario, but he quickly compensated for lost time with eight points (four goals, four assists) in his first eight games. He went on to have 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 32 AHL games. The 20-year-old has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his first 10 NHL games.
Video: FLA@LAK: Vilardi scores opening goal in NHL debut