Olli Matta is done, but Brett Ritchie, Teemu Pulkkinen and William Nylander are just getting started.
Welcome to another ramblings. I’ll be writing these every week on Mondays, so be sure to stop on by! While you are here, make sure to check out some recent updates (click on the modified date button a couple of times to sort). Our writers are always sending in updates, with a mix of frequency and quality that is unmatched anywhere else on the web.
Has Olli Maatta had the unluckiest year of any 20 year old prospect, ever? Mumps, tumor and shoulder surgery? Come on. Yes, that run of injuries can give you some pause in terms of value, but I think he is actually an excellent buy low right now. With nine points in 20 games this year, while seeing slightly fewer offensive zone starts and better competition and getting 16 even strength minutes and 1.5 PP minutes on a stacked team… Maatta was on pace for an excellent age-20 season.
He has played 97, 85, and 85 games respectively the last three seasons, so durability really isn’t as much of a concern as it seems. If you can snatch him from someone in contention, do it.
William Nylander is coming over to North America, and for good it seems. Spoiler alert, but he was ranked very very high among his draft class in the (incredible) midseason guide… And that was before he decided to come over.
With age-adjusted numbers that are better than everyone from Peter Forsberg to the Sedins to some old guy that ditched Toronto for Vancouver in the twighlight of his career, and playing over 19 minutes a game, Forsberg should be ready for the AHL now and the NHL very soon. He didn’t have much more to play for in Sweden, with his team tied for last place.
His NHL-equivalence numbers put him at .75 NHL points per game. This doesn’t mean he would actually score at that pace, but it is our best guess. Mitigating factors include the vast differences in roles he could see: In Modo he was leaned on to score, while in Toronto they will likely shelter him with limited minutes, at least to start. I do think he is the real deal, but if there is a blue-blooded manager in your league, it wouldn’t hurt to get a feel for his value.
Brett Ritchie is playing on the Stars top line and powerplay right now, which has to be exciting for the 21 year old. Jum Nill isn’t afraid of shuffling players up and down from Texas, so this is very likely to be another short stint; eventually, the short stints will be a thing of the past and he will be up for good. He has tremendous multi-cat value long-term, as he will score, hit, shoot and spend his fair share of time in the sin bin. I give him a one in four shot at sticking on the top line for an extended period of time, which is helped by the goal he has already scored there.
Drew Shore was traded to the Calgary flames, where he should have an easier time getting called up. Shore was then called up for the first time. Nick Shore that is. Nick is the smaller of the two (though still NHL sized at 6’0, 190), but could be as skilled. He scored at a point per game for two years in college before adjusting to the AHL last year, and then scoring in bunches this year with 42 pooints in 37 AHL games. That is the ideal scoring for a college third round pick; from here will come the ever more frequent callus as we find out whether he can find a scoring niche with LA, or if he is doomed to toil in a bottom-six role for the next few years.
The recently traded brother, Drew, has his own upside as well. Make sure to listen here (stats at 17 minute, ends at 24 minutes) for an informative interview from someone that has seen him play more often than any of us, the San Antonio play-by-play guy. While the smart bet is that he ends up a third line center, there is certainly room for more.
Corban Knight, the other player, doesn’t have the upside or potential for immediate NHL impact. All you can really hope for is a third line center that can fill all the categories to some level or another.
Young gun rookie Rob Zepp started for the Flyers yesterday! At age 33, he may need another couple of years of seasoning… If he is getting lessons from Tim Thomas that is. Zep, who has played for the Berlin Polar Bears since 2007, has done very well in the AHL, comparable to his numbers in the DEL. While he isn’t really a rookie, it is possible that he goes on a run of success here. Its been eight years since he finished a season with a save percentage of less than .912. He has a great story and I hope he succeeds on that level, however unlikely it might be.
Teemu Pulkkinen of the shots, skills, goals and corsi’s, is up for the Detroit Red Wings right now. While he started on the third line, he finished with 16 minutes of ice time. He ended up with three shots on net after Babcock told him to do just that.. Shoot and shoot often. A strong showing against Buffalo could keep him up until Franzen and Tatar get back. Along with Nick Shore, he is leading the AHL in goals with 20. Hopefully he can translate that into the NHL quickly, which should happen as long as he can deal with the extra physicality. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem since he has played at least part-time in a men’s league since 2008-2009.
The USHL NHL Top Prospects game is happening today. Watch for it on Twiter, and familiarize yourself with some names here.
Given Brendan’s schedule, he won’t always be able to post at a regular time, but his ramblings are pure gold and more than worth watching for. Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow me on twitter @austeane or email me [email protected]. I’ll be posting another one of these in a week, so let me know if there is anything in particular that you want covered. I know that I have to prove my consistency to you, and I’m going to do my best each and every week.
Team USA won in overtime against Canada at the Women’s U18, in what was an incredible game in front of a surprisingly packed crowd.