Wed, May 28th
While it isn’t my first time rambling on about some topic or another, this is the first time I’ve done The Ramblings. I’ve been recently brought on to be the Associate Editor for Dobber Prospects, and I couldn’t be more excited! I have a lot of ideas for the site and Dobber Sports in general, and I can’t wait to get things rolling. I’d also like to thank Rich Dillon for doing an awesome job in this role before this annoying little thing that some people call “real life” got in the way.
I’m a Canucks fan, and while I will attempt to not let my biases get in the way, that doesn’t mean I can’t introduce you to this incredibly in-depth, analytical piece on the Canucks professional prospects over at Canucks Army. Josh does more with AHL statistics than I previously thought was possible.
I can also share this piece, and it’s followup, which has been read more times than any in that blog’s history. While it shouldn’t be taken too seriously, there are two major points to take away from the series:
1: The Canucks have been terrible (unlucky) at drafting for a long time.
2: Jim Benning’s teams have been even more incredible (lucky) for a long time.
While the results are far from certain, the Canuck’s drafting may have turned a corner. Three recent later round picks with potential:
Joseph Labate (Round 4. 2011) is a 6’4 power-forward that took the college route, and it will probably pay off for him. He is learning to use his size effectively, and while he isn’t dominating the NCAA yet, I expect him to take a massive leap forward next year.
Frank Corrado (Round 5, 2011), one of the biggest surprises of his draft, has the defense and skating to play top-four in the NHL and will play the majority of the year with the Canucks next year.
Ben Hutton (Round 5, 2012) exploded this year with 29 points in 35 games, leading all NCAA defencemen with 15 goals. He is 6’3 and very solid defensively. He should be looked at by anyone that can afford to sit on a prospect for a couple of years.
I personally don’t think readers here appreciate Brendan Ross as much as they should. You could count on your fingers the number of people in the online community that know more about undrafted and junior prospects than Brendan, and you would still have enough fingers left over to grip a stick. The fact that he translates that into fantasy relevance is just a massive bonus. As such, I will mainly focus on drafted and professional prospects, leaving Brendan to focus on what he knows and loves best.
I have written ~50 profiles so far for the Prospects Guide, and I can honestly say that it will be awesome. I’m not saying that as a writer, I’m saying that as someone who referred to the Guide all throughout last summer and into the fall.
It is a common cliché to say that youth is ever more important in the NHL, and while that may be the case it is difficult to find numbers that back it up. The average age has actually risen by a couple of years since the 1980’s, and has only fallen by half a year since the salary-cap era began.
One anecdote in favour of youth: Of the four NHL teams still standing, the two teams getting contributions from their rookies are winning their respective series. Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli have both provided the Kings with timely scoring, 11 points each, to help them on their playoff run, especially in round one where they combined for eight points and even more so now as the two have combined for nine points already! It is difficult to earn the trust of Darryl Sutter as a rookie, especially in the playoffs, but they have both done just that.
Tied for third place, after the pair of rookie-scoring Kings, is Chris Kreider with 10 points in nine games. That is impressive, even after noting that MacKinnon scored the same in seven games. Kreider has matured his game, and looks like a dominant force. Watch out though, if his value gets out of hand.
Trivia question: Has any rookie played more playoff games than Kreider’s 35 (and counting)?
I would ask the same about his 19 points, but a certain Philly rookie scored 21 points in one playoffs a few years ago. The point being, don’t get too much more hyped about Kreider than you would if he was doing this in the regular season, where he scored 37 points in 66 games. I think it is much more informative to say that he has 47 points in 75 total games than saying that he has permanently elevated his game and that has resulted in an explosion these playoffs. Draft him as a 50 point rookie, not a potential Conne Smyth candidate.
How many points have the other two teams’ rookies earned? A grand total of three points from Nathan Beaulieu (two) and Michael Bournival (one).
That’s right, Chicago has received zero points in nine games from their two rookies, Joakim Nordstrom and Jeremy Morin.
Beaulieu has been in and out of the lineup for some lumbering beast named Douglas Murray (stat-heads and regular folk alike cringe), while Bournival has only been getting 10 minutes of ice time a game. Both, especially Beaulieu, have fantasy value going forward but neither of them are doing much to help the Canadiens right now.
Nordstrom doesn’t have a tonne of upside, he projects as a bottom six player now and in the future, but it is a tad surprising that Morin has only gotten into two games, both in the first round. In 24 games this season, Morin contributed 11 points, not terrible but not that great either. He still has time, but we are nearing the Pirri-point; he is talented enough to contribute but Chicago may have to ship him out if they can’t afford to let him make mistakes in bigger NHL minutes.
If only he could do this in the NHL, Brian Gibbons would have more than 5 NHL goals at age 26:
With plays like that, I wonder if these guys just say ef this, I’m just going for it. If I have to exit the zone, so be it, I’m scoring this myself.
If you need prospect advice, think I missed something important, or want to know what brand of socks I wear*, tweet me up @austeane
Thanks for reading, feedback is always appreciated,