After eight games in the ECHL, it has been determined that Luke Prokop might not be quite ready for professional hockey. The Nashville Predators have sent the defensive prospect back to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL after his rights were traded a few weeks ago. The Edmonton Oil Kings, who had traded for Prokop last season, sent his rights to Seattle in exchange for a first and two third-round picks in the WHL draft.
All three picks were conditional on him being loaned back, which suggested that this was the plan for a while. The 2020 third-round pick still has this year left in his junior eligibility and can try to help Seattle win a league championship.
Selected 73rd overall in 2020, the 6’6″ Prokop was a force for Edmonton last season, scoring 33 points in 55 games during the regular season and only increasing that production in the playoffs. That helped take the Oil Kings to a title, though they would eventually fall in the Memorial Cup. It was the Thunderbirds that the Oil Kings defeated in the WHL final, and Seattle is poised to get back to the dance this year.
It will be interesting to see if the massive Prokop pairs with someone like Kevin Korchinski, Seattle’s star defenseman and a Chicago Blackhawks top prospect, or if he’s played on a different pairing to balance out the defense.
Despite going back to junior, his entry-level contract will kick in this season as he is now 20. That means Prokop will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2025.
Just in time for Seattle to play the Blazers… Greaaaat…