July 13th, 2015

Austin Wallace


Summer development camps, trading for Eichel and more…




Welcome back to the ramblings. After taking some time off to decompress from the draft, Brendan, Zach and I will bring you ramblings on a weekly cadence for the rest of the summer as prospect news starts to slow down.


This week is actually one of the more action-packed of the summer as development camps are going on around the league.


Connor McDavid impressed in his first scrimmage, scoring five goals. Generational player. Jack Eichel, on the other hand, drew 17,000 fans to his first public scrimmage, but didn’t even record a point as Sam Reinhart stole the show! Bust. Honestly though, the McEichel hasn’t missed a beat, post draft, and while it is hard to not talk about them, we will do our best to refrain from updating you on every nice play they pull in a non-contact practice against a seventh round pick.



While I usually refrain from talking about my own league, I acquired Eichel last week for a semi-reasonable price. This is a 14 team, 20 player, 30 prospect multi-cat cap league. I traded the fifth prospect pick (Zacha/Hanifin), the eighth UFA-draft pick (any NHL UFA or pending UFA who wasn’t signed by June 20th), and Evgeny Kuznetsov.


In my mind, there are four clear tiers of fantasy value, with large gulfs between each of them. First, you have McDavid and Eichel, the generational stars. The next tier, Strome and Marner, is a large dropoff only because of how great the first two picks are, not because they are bad for their slots. On the contrary, I think Strome and Marner would be decent second overall picks some years.


After that there is another substantial dropoff to the Hanifin/Zacha tier, players that aren’t quite as likely to make a fantasy impact, or are further away. And finally, at around 10th-12th overall there is another dropoff from the star talent in the draft to the rest of the first round. After that final tier, the value goes down gradually and continuously, rather than the discrete jumps you see at the top of the draft.


So, for me, I didn’t just jump three spots in the draft (fifth to second), I jumped from the top of tier three to the bottom of tier one. The cost of that for me is a Cody Franson-level UFA, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov has a lot of room to grow, and I love the contract he signed right after I traded him away (two years, three million a year), but I don’t see him as more than a 65 point player in that timeframe. That is pretty good, but I’ll trade him for Eichel any day. In my league, it is tough to consolidate value without hamstringing yourself cap wise, so I was happy to trade two 40 point defenseman and a 65 point forward for a cheap potential superstar in Eichel. After missing the playoffs the past few years, I’m hoping to finally contend with a core of Malkin, Eichel, Benn, Nyquist, Karlsson, Letang, Subban and Bobrovsky.


Now to trade up just one more spot for this guy: 

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Connor McDavid at his first practice with his new team today. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Oilers?src=hash”>#Oilers</a> <a href=”http://t.co/OQQ7bE7V8k”>pic.twitter.com/OQQ7bE7V8k</a></p>&mdash; Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) <a href=”https://twitter.com/HockeyWebCast/status/616708500345913345″>July 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>{/source}





Before we get to some great development camp coverage by our writers, make sure you check McKeens for a rundown of the top European free agents coming over this year. The only big ones he is missing are Jakub Nakladal and Joonas Donskoi




<div id=”imageright”><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://ap.lijit.com/www/delivery/fpi.js?z=199099&u=dobbersports&width=300&height=250″></script></div>


Here is a recap of the Devils draft by our new, enthusiastic and talented writer, Justin Nobre:


GM Ray Shero was quite busy during the draft. On the first day the Devils drafted highly touted Czech prospect Pavel Zacha. Zacha is the only prospect with any true fantasy value here. Ray Shero has stated multiple times that Pavel Zacha will have every opportunity to make the team out of training camp. The Devils roster as of now is pretty weak down the middle. Do not be surprised if Zacha does make the roster out of training camp. He already has the size to play in the NHL and he also has all the offensive tools. He just needs to show some consistency. On the second day of the draft Devils traded their 41st pick to the Ducks for right winger Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri fills in a much-needed hole for the Devils on the right wing. Palmieri will most likely play in the Devils top six as the only other right winger they have signed for next season is Jordin TooToo. Palmieri could have a break out year since he will see an increased role, playing on a Devils team lacking talent on the right side.


Shero then traded the 36th pick to Ottawa for their 42nd pick and their 2016 3rd round pick. With that pick the Devils selected Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood. Blackwood has the size and athleticism to be an elite goaltender in the NHL but like most goaltenders his development will take a while.


In the 3rd round the Devils drafted Blake Speers. Speers is a right winger who is very talented offensively, he has great vision and an accurate shot, Speers is also a very good skater. While it is possible that Speers can become a talented offensive winger in the NHL but that is not for another two or three years.


With the 97th pick in the 4th round the Devils selected Colton White a two-way defenseman. Like Speers, White also has a while to go before he can make it to the NHL but he can become a solid 3rd pairing two-way defenseman.


The Devils last pick in the draft was on Brett Seney an undersized but speedy winger playing for Merrimack College, he was passed over in last years draft but his impressive freshman year season seemed to turn some heads around. Seney, will most likely play out his college career at Merrimack before turning pro.




And now some updates from development camps around the league, with more coming at you next week.



<div id=”imageright”><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://ap.lijit.com/www/delivery/fpi.js?z=199099&u=dobbersports&width=300&height=250″></script></div>



The Avelanch, courtesy of Hayden Soboleski: (Check out his prolific work here)


Mikko Rantanen (W) – The most recent 10th overall pick is an excellent skater, very smooth stride that could use more power and technical development, but he wouldn’t be outmatched in the NHL in this regard.


Chris Bigras (D) – Very natural skater with high speed, technicality could improve but definitely not a problem for him. Has a strong and accurate shot, and can skate well with the puck; he is without a doubt the Avs most talented D prospect and has the skills to impress at any level.


Mason Geertsen (D) – Incredibly efficient and powerful skater especially considering his big size. Probably the best technical skater at camp, but not the fastest and his puckhandling while skating needs work.


Andreas Martinsen (W) – His experience compared to the rest of the prospects showed in most drills. A surprisingly good and fast skater for a big guy, a great passer and excellent goalie screener. Definitely has the mobility and strength to compete for an NHL spot next year.


Honarable mentions: Spencer Martin (G) had the best camp of the goalies despite missing one of the days, possibly still healing from knee surgery but looks like he will be in good form for next season. Sergei Boikov (D) (6th round pick this year) is a fantastic skater, technically and with speed, with and without the puck. His ability to actually defend however was not part of camp.


In terms of “disappointment”, the only guy was Conner Bleackley. His shot is excellent but his skating really, really struggled in some of the drills. His skating isn’t the reason he’s highly touted though, more of something he needs to work on to become more complete.


Neither of the undrafted camp invites (Maheux and Hamonic) stood out or looked obviously contract-worthy.





Paul Zwambag continues his excellent work with an update on the Sabres development camp:


Jack Eichel is impressing coaches, managers and scouts at camp, even though his scrimmage in front of 17,115 people he looked tired and bored. Even Bylsma stated that Eichel is far more explosive than what he showed Friday night. Eichel at times showed bursts of speed, but he limited his shifts to 25-35 seconds and didn’t get anything going offensively. He was very good in his defensive zone and he has great vision. He always looked like he was two to three steps ahead of everyone else in terms of watching plays unfold.


Eichel putting a puck through the net:

{source}<iframe src=”https://vine.co/v/evpIFEHMIde/embed/simple” width=”600″ height=”600″ frameborder=”0″></iframe><script src=”https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js”></script>{/source}



Sam Reinhart is NHL ready, he looked great at the scrimmage and was the star of the game. Two goals, one assist, he was very confident out on the ice, he shut down Eichel, Rodrigues and Baptiste all night. Sabres are going to have to find him a spot on their NHL roster, hopefully he makes the team this year, maybe playing a wing in the top-six.


Jake McCabe has put his name into the battle for one of the final spots on the Sabres back end in training camp, he looked like the veteran on the ice and was noticeable every time he was on the ice. Bylsma after the scrimmage told reporters that McCabe was one of the best three players on the ice. He didn’t say who the other two were, maybe Reinhart and Jason Kasdorf.


Jason Kasdorf didn’t allow a single goal in one and a half periods of play, he flashed his glove on a couple of saves and was solid in net.


Cal Petersen gave up two goals in his single period of play, one of them was very sloppy on his end, lost track of the puck in behind the net, went to the opposite side of the net where Justin Bailey put it top corner from his knees. Throughout training camp Petersen has impressed Sabres brass with how far along he has come since last year’s development camp.


Justin Bailey showed his physical side along with his speed and skill. He laid out a couple big hits throughout the scrimmage as well as some good hands around the net.


Andrey Makarov didn’t participate in the scrimmage or the rest of the development camp after Friday, missed last two to three days, haven’t heard why.


Ivan Chukarov stood out in the scrimmage. Great first pass, and smooth on his skates.


Brendan Guhle looked great, made a couple turnovers in his own end.


Undrafted invitee Josh Chapman looked out of place at times in the scrimmage, but won the crowd over with his first period fight against Justin Kea. During the Shootout at the end of the scrimmage game the fans started a chant of “We want Chapman”, was pretty wild to hear for a guy who was unknown to fans at the beginning of the development camp.





And finally a couple of very quick updates from Lee Rayson and Tyler Thomson on the Panthers and Oilers respectively.




The young Panthers future looks bright! Newly drafted Lawson Crouse has been very impactful leaving a strong final impression with a hat-trick on the final day scrimmage. Former first round pick and Boston College captiain Mike Matheson seems to have worked on his already smooth skating ability as he looks to push for a roster spot. Jayce Hawryluk has showed good strength winning a lot of puck battles and solid puck moving abilities during the camp.


More McDavid:


{source}<iframe src=”https://vine.co/v/enrVjzuwUdO/embed/simple” width=”600″ height=”600″ frameborder=”0″></iframe><script src=”https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js”></script>{/source}




No real surprises out of Edmonton. Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are a cut above the rest of their peers and I fully expect all three of them to make the team out of camp in the fall. Nurse was the only defensemen to consistently keep up with McDavid and Draisatl who often made their opponents look silly in drills. The other standout, for his vision and transition, was Joey LaLeggia. The hobey baker finalist got in some action with the Barons at the end of the season last year. He has the hard shot, quick feet and shifty stickwork. Player comparable would be a bigger Ryan Ellis.






Tolchinsky through the legs:


{source}<iframe src=”https://vine.co/v/enVthDYjD6W/embed/simple” width=”600″ height=”600″ frameborder=”0″></iframe><script src=”https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js”></script>{/source}



In the interest of brevity, I’m going to cut it off here. I apologize for not covering the actual news, but this is the ramblings and we still have the dog days ahead of us, so keep checking in! Another great way to get updates is to go to the DobberProspects homepage and just keep jumping pages until you find a prospect that interests you. It is all recent, all relevent and all great work by our writers. Even at the end of page 14, you are only going back 20 days.


 I left lots to talk about, including Colin Miller and the rest of the prospects who have changed hands recently, so expect a ramblings much quicker than the usual cadence.


Now go and enjoy your summer (by spending hours trying to trade for McDavid)!


Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Tristan Luneau 7.5 8.0
Zachary Nehring 4.5 5.0
Jacob Julien 5.5 5.0
Antti Tuomisto 4.5 6.0
Aku Räty 5.8 5.0
Miko Matikka 6.5 6.5
Nathan Smith 6.2 6.0
Jan Jenik 7.2 6.5
Ilya Fedotov 6.0 3.0
Noel Nordh 6.5 7.0