Who’s staying and who’s going? Robby Fabbri returns to action, Eichel hits first scoring slump and a look around the development leagues at top performers.
Almost a month into the NHL regular season and we’re starting to get an idea of who’s going to excel as first year prospects, who’s teetering on the line of being reassigned and who’s been given a fair shake at proving their worth. With the nine-game played mark looming for many prospects still in the NHL, several teams will need to make decisions on top prospects.
One of the more difficult “to-keep-or-not-to-keep” decisions lies in the hands of the Vancouver Canucks. With Jared McCann
and Jake Virtanen
playing with the big clubs and approaching their important 10th games the ‘Nucks need to make a decision. I’ve been fairly vocal of my feelings on Jake Virtanen, a player I felt was drafted higher than he should’ve, but he has proved valuable in the sense that he’s added much needed speed and physicality to the lineup. With that said, the other 2014 1st round pick selection, Jared McCann, has been much more valuable to the team and can easily carve out a more impactful role this season. He leads the team in goals (4) and plays a sound two-way game that allows the coaching staff to plug him into roles up and down the lineup. If I were a betting man, it’s McCann who has the better chance of staying the season. Thomas Drance weighs in with his thoughts on the situation as well with a good piece.
Mikko Rantanen has already been re-assigned to the AHL after struggling to provide offense out of the gates, which isn’t too surprising given that the talented winger is playing in a new country on smaller ice. I’m not too worried about Rantanen moving forward because I think he’ll eventually round out into a very good player but I think he’ll take some time. See Nichushkin’s development in Dallas (aside from the injury).
With Joonas Donskoi returning to the Sharks lineup, Nikolay Goldobin was reassigned to the Baby Sharks. He was decent in his stint with San Jose and if you own him, stay patient with him because I do think he’ll be a gem to own in fantasy circles. Look at players like Ryan Spooner and Vincent Trocheck as similar development patterns for Goldobin. Both of those players are beginning to take off.
Despite being a healthy scratch versus the Red Wings Tuesday, It’s more than likely that Noah Hanifin remains an NHLer but I don’t expect him to be overly valuable in fantasy circles this season. The 5th overall selection has two assists in eight games.
Sam Reinhart has played nine games with the Sabres and despite missing practice Wednesday, it’s expected he’ll remain with the big club. He has one goal and four points in nine games hovering around 15 minutes per game.
With Hanifin and Reinhart, they’ll be two players to keep an eye on. If their seasons start to slip (doubtful but possible), it’s the 40-game mark that we will need to keep an eye on as players can be reassigned to prevent them losing a year of restricted free agency. I don’t expect either to really be sent down but it’s something to be mindful of.
For Connor McDavid (who’s already Edmonton’s best player), Jack Eichel (who’s in a bit of a slump but nothing alarming), Dylan Larkin and Nik Ehlers, all four players should stick the entire season with their clubs so take a breath.
One of my personal favourites Robby Fabbri returned to action on Tuesday after missing time with a concussion (concerning given his size c