Rossy’s Prospect Ramblings



Friday, August 3rd, 2012


Weeeeelp….it’s official, the 2012-13 DobberHockey Fantasy Guide is the BEST EVER. And that is certainly not an understatement. The work that the crew did using advanced statistics is simply brilliant whether you are a believer or not. More than ever, this year’s edition features a wide variance of opinions and tactics from an intelligent and experienced fantasy hockey crew that gives the readers the BEST information to base their decisions around. Simply put, Dobber’s 2012-13 Fantasy Guide is the most up-to-date fantasy hockey resource out there and destroys the competition – especially those made-in-July magazines that sit on the dusty shelves in variety stores around the world. The price is a steal too.  Get it now and check back often to get the updated information. Slow clap for Mr. Darryl Dobb’s and the rest of the writing crew for this fantastic release…….



If you aren’t following me on twitter then you could be missing out on some prospect worthy news…



Yesterday, I answered plenty of questions on twitter about up-and-coming prospects. Today, I invited my followers on twitter to request a prospect that I would speak about in the ramblings and after a quick response I received five very interesting demands…



From @ChefBeegs …


Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs) – I spoke about Morgan Rielly in depth in the guide (another reason to purchase it as there are over 30+ 2012 prospects profiled with ETA’s, upsides, etc.) but I will quickly give my prognosis.  At the draft, Brian Burke stated that Toronto selected their top-rated player when they choose Morgan Rielly 5th overall. The media ripped Burke’s comment as it seemed to be an absurd statement but there may be some truth to his claim.  In my opinion, Morgan Rielly has as much upside as any other defenseman drafted and since there is so much development left to be had, there certainly could be an argument that Rielly rivals Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk as well. Presently, I would not draft Rielly ahead of either Sarnia Sting forward but in 3, 4 or 5 years, Burke’s comment might just prove to be true.



Let me get back to Rielly’s more immediate projection. Since the smooth skating defenseman missed most of the 2011-12 WHL season, I think many people were more comfortable in projecting Rielly to be a long-term investment. However, to the surprise of many (even the Maple Leafs’ braintrust), Rielly showed impressively at the Leafs’ recent development camp and at times simply dominated. He will be playing for Team Canada in the upcoming Canada-Russia Anniversary Summit Series and everyone will be watching to see how he performs.  At the draft, I would have placed a 0-5% chance that Rielly made the 2012-13 Maple Leafs’ roster but I’m getting the sense that his chances are going to improve dramatically (think 30%) especially with a strong showing in August and at main camp.  The CBA and potential lockout could squash his NHL hopes this year depending on what unfolds but I think it’s safe to say that Rielly is closer to NHL action than most believe. If the NHL season starts as planned (doubtful), we could see Rielly get a nine-game stint. If not, he will be sent back to Moose Jaw to lead the Warriors and play a significant role on Team Canada’s 2013 WJC team.



From @edwyer11 …



Mika Zibanejad (Ottawa Senators) – The importance of gaining NHL experience early in your career cannot be understated. Last season, Zibanejad stuck around the nation’s capital for a nine-game stint recording a measly one point and minus-2 rating; however, offensive production wasn’t the end-all-be-all as Mika has plenty of time to do that. Skating alongside experienced NHLer’s like Alfredsson, Spezza, Neil, etc. is invaluable and entering the 2012-13 camp, Zibanejad will be better prepared as a result of those experiences.  Zibanejad performed well last season in Djurgarden netting 13 points in 26 games and showed well for Sweden scoring four goals in six WJC contests.



As his NHL career progresses, I expect Zibanejad to fill the tough roles in the NHL and thrive doing so. We should see Mika endorse a leadership role, earn valuable ice time on special teams and as a result, become a vital piece to the Ottawa Senators’ future success. His upside is good (70-75+) but his true value will be from contributions other than strictly offense. Developmentally, I see Zibanejad progressing somewhat slowly from an offensive standpoint but his chances of reaching his upside improve drastically from this approach. Since Zibanejad already shows a good attention to both sides of the puck, his chances of cracking the 2012-13 Senators roster AND sticking remains high. I would expect him to slot into the 3rd line centre role and post around 10 goals and 25-30 points – not bad for a rookie.




From @PateWhite …



Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks) – As a Sarnia Sting writer, I got to see Brandon Saad in plenty of OHL action including his utter playoff dominance during Saginaw’s upset of the Sarnia Sting. Besides defenseman Dougie Hamilton, no other OHL player dominated play the way that Brandon Saad did when in action…and yes, better than Nail Yakupov. Actually, Saad posted a 1.72 point-per-game regular season pace and continued on a 1.42 pt/g pace in the post season. Those numbers bested all OHLers including Yakupov’s regular season pace of 1.64 and definitely his disappointing 0.83 pt/g pace.



Now, I am not saying that Saad will be a better NHL player than Yakupov but I do feel as though he has a better chance at posting better 2012-13 rookie numbers than the first overall pick in 2012. Chicago showed their hand to how much they value Saad’s size and skill when they recalled the Pittsburgh native to play alongside Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Saad may not earn that lottery spot immediately this season but he has certainly shown that he can handle the NHL action and enters the 2012-13 as one of my sleeper Calder picks as he has plenty of opportunity to take advantage of on a very talented Hawks’ roster.




From @DrukenBallard …



Ryan Rupert (Toronto Maple Leafs) –I am guessing that it took Brian Burke all but 8 seconds to figure out that Ryan Rupert was destined to be a Toronto Maple Leaf as he shows that bucking bronco style that Toronto desperately needs. Not surprisingly, Ryan Rupert’s twin brother, Matt, received an immediate development camp invite from Toronto after going undrafted as Burke and company continued their search some grit.



For anyone who has watched the Rupert’s play live, you will quickly learn to either love or hate their style of play depending on whether you sport a home or away jersey. Their in-your-face agitating style of play is downright frustrating to play against and when you combine Ryan’s bull-dog mentality with solid offensive skills then you are looking at a player with real NHL value. Ryan Rupert’s NHL future tops out as a third-line menace that slashes and chirps his way under the skin of his opponents. One aspect of Ryan’s game that many scouts likened was his ability to turn it up a notch when games mattered the most. He’s the perfect type of player for playoff action when Referees tend to let a few extra calls go and emotions ramp up as he has an ability to cash in on his opponents’ frustrations. Look for his development to be a slow one but Toronto could possibly turn this 6th round pick into a Max Lapierre type of player.



From @JCentifonti …



Ryan Pulock (2013 Draft Eligible) – Over the course of the next few months and into next season, I will be profiling the 2013 NHL Draft Eligible team in-depthly, including first-round potential defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). I’ve only caught a glimpse of Pulock in a few (non-live) games so take my analysis with a grain of salt but Ryan is a player with a promising future. He will be on display for Team Canada at the upcoming Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament so he has a chance to increase his draft stock substantially but after posting 60 points in 71 games he’s a player already projected to be a top 15 pick. Unlike the WHL’s Mathew Dumba, Ryan Pulock’s game isn’t flashy but he does show good poise and has the raw skills to become a top-paring defenseman at the NHL-level. Pulock’s puck movement game is what stood out the most when I watched him as he rarely misses making a pass and has a really strong accurate shot. Ryan Pulock is on my extensive list of players to watch more of so check back in for more observations as his draft season begins to unfold.



So…I am seriously contemplating flying out to Halifax to take in the Anniversary Russian-Canada Summit Series games live in action but I’m not sure I want to foot that bill (air fare mainly). Maybe Dobber can put me up.  Either way, I am excited to watch these games as the best of the best prospects from these two nations are playing. It’s going to be simply fantastic hockey. TSN and TSN2 will be airing the series.



Team Canada is currently practicing in Mississauga (if you are nearby, look into going to these). Lines for today’s practice looked like:


Huberdeau – Strome – Rattie (talk about skill)

Di Giuseppe – Scheifele – Shinkaruk

K. Roy – Jenner – Hudon

Leipsic – L. Sutter – Wilson (how about some Grit!)

Lessio – Monahan – Danault


R. Murray – Harrington (Shut Down!)

Ouellet – D. Hamilton

Reinhart – Ceci

Rielly – Dumba (ummm…offensive dynamo pairing?)

Pelech – R. Murphy


Team Canada’s defensive depth is absolutely ridiculous! RI-DI-CU-LOUS!



Looking into the future a bit here, but here is Team Sweden’s roster for WJC Camp in Lake Placid. A few notables include: Oscar Dansk (Blue Jackets), Hampus Lindholm (Ducks), Oscar Klefbom (Oilers), Mika Zibanejad (Senators), Filip Forsberg (Capitals), Pontus Aberg (Predators), and Victor Rask (Hurricanes) to name a few.



Canucks have signed 2012 second round pick (57th) Alexandre Mallet. The overage draftee had 34 goals and 81 points and 132 penalty minutes in 68 games for Rimouski. He’s a player to keep an eye on as he’s more mature than most prospects. He’s likely to make the jump to the AHL.



Yahoo’s Kelly Friesen takes a look at six 2012 drafted players who could make their 2012-13 NHL rosters. No surprises here except I don’t see Dumba as a legit threat this season.



Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2011 first round pick Vladislav Namestnikov is entering camp with much more confidence according to Director of Player Development Steve Thomas. Fantasy owners take note.



How good was Oilers’ prospect Tobias Rieder’s 2011-12 season?



One of my favourite writers/prospect guys is Kirk Luedeke and he takes an interesting look at the Bruins’ Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight and their contrasting styles of play.



Panthers’ prospect Rocco Grimaldi (2nd round, 2011) is no longer on Team USA’s WJC roster list after undergoing knee surgery last year.



The once highly-touted first round goaltender Chet Pickard (18th overall in 2008 by Nashville) has apparently signed with Djurgarden of the SEL according to his twitter. Pickard has been playing in the ECHL the past two seasons.

The Junior A franchise that developed the likes of Steven Stamkos and Adam Oates has been suspended for the 2012-13 season after ownership struggled financially. Sad to see for sure.


The newly re-branded Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL (formerly Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors) have released their new jersey. Thoughts? Toronto Maple Leafs-ish?


Mississauga Steelheads


Enjoy your long weekend! Cheers!


Thanks for reading,



Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Kevin He 5.0 4.5
Reece Newkirk 6.5 6.0
Alex Jefferies 5.5 4.0
Ruslan Iskhakov 6.5 5.0
Otto Koivula 6.5 7.0
Jaydon Dureau 2.0 1.5
McKade Webster 2.5 1.5
Lucas Edmonds 5.0 4.0
Mikhail Shalagin 4.5 2.5
Isaac Howard 8.5 8.0