November 3rd, 2015

Austin Wallace

2015-11-03

Rookie NHLers, NCAA scoring leaders, three performing goalies, and more…

Virtanen and McCann, courtesy of Vancitybuzz

***

Daniel Sprong is in a bit of a confounding position. He is 18, has played eight games with one point, is getting 10 minutes a game and infrequent PP usage, and has had multiple healthy scratches. Yet he is visibly dangerous on the ice despite bottom-six linemates and being buried in the defensive zone, and Jim Rutherford said that he has done enough to stay up with the big club. I think the best thing to do by far is to send him back and let him dominate in the Q. An alarming proportion of players that have stuck early in the NHL never ended up never reaching their potential. Especially ones that didn’t produce in that first year. I think he will and should be sent down, but I’ve seen stranger things from the Penguins.

 

*

 

Two players that have been kept up are Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen. I was honestly surprised by this decision, as I always thought that at least one of the two would be sent down. Then again, Virtanen is obviously more than physically ready for the game, McCann is the Canucks’ leading scorer, and Jim Benning has bent over backwards in the past to make room for rookies who have proven themselves.

By the way, this has to be the best pre-announcement grill I've seen. So good:
{youtube}y8-Fh84Iyi8{/youtube}

I like what Linden said about development; he feels like he can better guide the rookies’ development up with the big club. From training, to practice, to nutrition and sleep, they sound like they will be putting in an above-and-beyond level of player development for these two players, and will be trying to make their player development process a year-long endeavor. Benning is really doing his best to shake off the bad rep the Canucks’ drafting and development has earned over the past decade.

 

In addition to their linked prospect profiles above, check out their line combinations, cap hits, zone start percentage and more here for McCann and Virtanen. Dobber and Eric Daoust have gotten this to the point where it is now going to be my go-to resource, where usually I’ll look at some combination of Yahoo, War-On-Ice, and some cap-hit site or another. Despite being an employee of Dobber, I didn’t really use them last year. I’ve changed my mind, and you should too before you are left in the dust.

 

*

Travis Konecny is second in the NHL in points with 23 in 14 games, and first in cross-ice-no-look-behind-the-back passes with one.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Konecny no-look behind-the-back cross-crease pass to Addison who shows his quick release. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flyers?src=hash">#Flyers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Habs?src=hash">#Habs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/67s?src=hash">#67s</a> <a href="https://t.co/mbEsrcPU0q">pic.twitter.com/mbEsrcPU0q</a></p>&mdash; Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) <a href="https://twitter.com/msconduct/status/660930901249929216">November 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> {/source}

*

 

 

As mentioned by Steve Laidlaw, St. Louis prospect Jake Walman is having himself an insane start to the season with seven goals and five assists in 12 games. Four points on the powerplay, two game-winning goals, a hattrick, plus-nine and an outrageous 4.5 shots per game. No defenceman last year approached those shot-per-game numbers, on only a couple of forwards like Jimmy Vesey and Dylan Larkin came close. He surely will not keep any of these stats up, but this is certainly enough for me to stash him away in my league. He was profiled as a raw offensive defenseman, and it is definitely starting to come together.

 

Just a point behind Walman in the NCAA race is is a former blues prospect, Maxim Letunov. In his rookie NCAA season, the 6’3 Russian is leading his team in scoring by four points. He has a much more middling 2.3 shots per game, only one of his six assists were at even strength, and his 32 shooting percentage is a full 10 points higher than Walman’s, but it is a nice start all the same.

 

The other two drafted players in the top 10 for NCAA scoring are Jake Guentzel (four goals, seven assists all at even strength, and 2.75 shots per game) and Mark Jankowski (three goals, seven assists, but only 1.57 shots per game which isn’t a good indicator for his age/level of competition).

 

*

 

Another player mentioned in the ramblings recently is Frank Vatrano. He has 10 goals in 10 games, and is putting up 3.7 shots per game. He went undrafted because of conditioning concerns, but slimmed down by 15 pounds or so. The usual “best shape of his life” story, except that it coincides with a massive goal-scoring outburst. While he is probably worth a speculative pickup, he only has two assists, and his 27% shooting percentage is nowhere near sustainable. He has a history of being a shoot-first shoot-second player, so it will be interesting if he can pull up his assist totals as his goals will inevitably drop.

 

His linemate Alexander Khokhlachev is leading the league in points with 13, and you can read more on him from our own Mike Boeckler here.

 

*

 

Ville Husso is off to a great start in SM-Liiga with a 1.67 GAA, .930 SV% and a 8-1-4 record. This has to be his last season in Europe after his third (presumably) excellent Liiga season in a row.

 

Mike Condon has rocketed up the goaltending depth charts like nobody since.. Well since the Hamburgler. Went from the ECHL one year to the AHL the next to the middle of a warehouse in Cape Cod to 4-0 with a 1.50 GAA. As usual, all the warnings apply. Hammond fell back to earth and so will Condon, but he has earned the shot to stick in the NHL, and may even have starter potential, though that isn’t a given yet.

 

Linus Ullmark has stepped up in place of Chad Johnson. At 22 years old and having played the previous two seasons in the SHL, he is about at the age where you could expect him to be close to NHL ready. With Lehner still being out for a while, and Chad Johnson being Chad Johnson, Ullmark will get playing time until the results run dry.

 

*

 

A quality, in-depth article on Michael Mersch who is impressing off and on the ice, hovering just below the point-per-game mark through eight games, and leading the AHL with 41 shots.

 

Another look around at some happenings in the AHL.

*

 

Ben Bowns might not be much of a prospect, but I had to show this save:

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Check out this save by <a href="https://twitter.com/cardiffdevils">@cardiffdevils</a> tendy <a href="https://twitter.com/bownsy21">@bownsy21</a> on repeat. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SlowMoMonday?src=hash">#SlowMoMonday</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BarDown">@BarDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/vpL4oXKEVi">pic.twitter.com/vpL4oXKEVi</a></p>&mdash; Puckstop.com (@PuckStopUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/PuckStopUK/status/661281173356814337">November 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> {/source}

 

Tic-Tac-Toe-MARNER!

{source}<iframe src="https://vine.co/v/e9Ku3rnam2a/embed/simple" width="600" height="600" frameborder="0"></iframe><script src="https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js"></script>{/source}

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Gavin Brindley 8.5 8.0
Ryan Leonard 8.5 8.5
Liam Kirk 6.8 5.8
Nathan Smith 6.2 6.0
Jonas Johansson 4.0 9.0
Antonio Stranges 8.0 8.0
Wyatt Johnston 9.5 9.0
Mavrik Bourque 8.5 9.0
Justin Ertel 5.5 6.5
Daniil Zhuravlyov 3.0 5.0

LATEST RADIO & DRAFTCASTS