March 24, 2015

Austin Wallace

2015-03-24

 

Highlights galore, the race for the OHL championship and more..

 

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It has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks since my last ramblings a couple of weeks ago, and I want to shout out Zach Hopkins for doing an excellent job filling in for me. Brendan has also been busy going to actual hockey games, but things are back on track.

A couple of quick looks into what has made for a crazy two weeks for me: I’ve been hired as a data science intern for Pebble, a smartwatch company; I’ve been playing quidditch for a top-ranked team and we are going to World Cup in April; I’ve been part of a team making both the front end and back end of an innovative hockey pool website; I’ve been hired as the COO of a quidditch magazine. Things are going pretty great, but I’m glad to be able to squeeze some time in to start writing again.

 

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As the OHL season wound down the most intriguing storyline was the race between Dylan Strome (129 points in 68 games), Mitch Marner (126 in 63) and Connor McDavid (120 in 47!) battle for first first place in the OHL scoring race. In the end, it came down to Strome’s ridiculous six point outbust in the last game of the season. It is the first time that the top three OHL scorers have all been draft eligible. Not to be outdone, Jack Eichel has 63 points and has scored more for his age than anyone in the NCAA since Paul Kariya.

 

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Victor Arvidsson was called up to the Predators and was the game’s third star in his NHL debut, putting three shots on net despite playing under 12:53. They were pretty good minutes though, playing mostly with Ribeiro and against the Sabres.

Here, he puts his full 5’9” frame into a bodycheck, takes away the puck and races down the ice. His speed and skill is almost as noticeable as the shot clock!

 

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Arvidsson put up an impressive 40 points in 50 SHL games last season before being drafted and immediately crossing the pond. In his past 30 AHL games, he has been a point per game and near 4.5 shots per game, which is insane for any league. He passes the compete-level and eye tests with flying colors too. A small late bloomer, he is a high-upside wildcard and worth a pick up in many leagues with moderately deep farm rosters.

 

 

 

Here, have another couple highlights from his first AHL season:

 

First he dangles through the crease:

 

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Then he makes Matt Dumba look silly:

 

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Joey LaLeggia is in the top 10 for Hobey Baker voting, won the NCHC player of the year, defensemen of the year and offensive defenseman of the year awards. 38 points in 34 games while leading your conference defensemen in goals, assists, points, game winning goals, powerplay goals and shots (roughly four a game) will do that for you.

At 22, he has a chance at making an impact for the Oilers fairly soon, with his 5’10” height being the biggest factor holding him back. Despite his height, his defensive game and positioning are very solid.

 

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A little note on Nail Yakupov’s turnaround: He scored at 0.34 points per game while being coached by Dallas Eakins, and has scored at a .58 points per game pace otherwise.

 

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Ville Pokka has a great shot to make the Blackhawks next season, with his excellent all around play and half point per game pace so far. The Blackhawks have cleared enough room for the young Finn, so keep an eye out on him down the stretch.

 

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There was buzz this summer that Bogdan Yakimov could make the jump directly from the KHL to the NHL. That obviously hasn’t happened, and the massive centre has had a bit of a tough time adjusting to the AHL with only 17 points in his first 44 games. Since then though, he has increased his shot rate and has 12 points in his last 13 games while cementing himself as the Baron’s second line centre. That isn’t bad for a 20 year old in his first season in North America, and he still has the potential to make an impact at the NHL level.  

 

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Patrick McNally has come back from the dead as a fantasy relevant prospect after being suspended for Harvard’s the 2012-13 season for being involved in widespread cheating on a take-home exam. This season he has 21 points in 20 games with Harvard, and has led Harvard to the NCAA tournament. This is a superb piece on McNally from a local writer.

 

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Forum member Noma has a look at some European free agents that could cross the pond next season here. Osto Rantakari looks like someone worth looking especially hard at.

 

Juuse Saros is also making the jump after posting excellent numbers in Finland. At 5’11, he is very small for an NHL goalie, but could be worth a flyer in deep leagues.  

 

Kevin Fiala dekes out Jamie Oleksiak:

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Dylan Larkin with an end-to-end beauty (make sure you click his name for a great update from senior scout Travis Watson):

 

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Kael Mouillierat isn’t a prospect any more at 27, but after including all these highlights I couldn’t leave this one out:

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Thatcher Demko with a great save:

 

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Noah Hanifin with a highlight-reel goal of his own:

 

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An epic teaser for the quidditch World Cup:

 

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Thanks for reading, and I offer a personal apology to your tired old phone.

Follow me @austeane

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