Looking at action all over the hockey world in this Sunday's Ramblings…
The final series in the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL playoffs are underway and many to prospects are making their mark. Here's quick recap of the latest action:
OHL: London Knights 2 – Niagara Ice Dogs 0
Matthew Tkachuk (2016 Eligible) had himself an outstanding game two, scoring three goals, one assist, and six PIM, all while playing with apparant discomfort as he left the first period early. Christian Dvorak (ARI) didn't get under the skin of the opponents the way Tkachuk does, but would not be outdone, putting up five points of his own.
QMJHL: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 2 – Shawinigan Cataractes 0
The offensively loaded Huskies have been getting contributions from all around the lineup; regular season leader Francis Perron (OTT) hasn't slowed down in the post-season and has three points, but mid-season addition AJ Greer (COL) leads the way with three goals in two games so far after really finding his game late in the year.
WHL: Brandon Wheat Kings 2 – Seattle Thunderbirds 0
This series is closer than the bracket indicates, as both games have been low-scoring and decided by only one goal. Wheat Kings goaltender Jordan Papirny has been selected as a star of the game in both so far, and Jayce Hawryluk (FLA) leads the series with three points. Seattle's netminder has had strong showings as well – Landon Bow stopped 39-of-42 in Game 1 and 36-of-39 in Game 2.
With many teams eliminated from AHL contention and organizations planning their steps forward, the annual exodus of fringe players to Europe has begun. For the most part these players are of little fantasy value, and the real value comes in the form of catching a glimpse of a team's long-term plans. As such, Colorado Avalanche fans might be a little worried. A few weeks ago, AHLer Borna Rendulic had some disgruntled comments concerning the state of the team's development process and AHL mentality, saying there was "no real team spirit" and "so many young players lost their confidence", among other shots at the staff. Since then, the AHL affiliate has fired their coach, and players Joey Hishon (Finland), Denis Everberg (Sweden), Borna Rendulic (Croatia), Maxim Noreau (Switzerland), and Roman Will (undecided) have commited to play elsewhere rather than continue to ply their trade with the Rampage. Hopefully the organization can establish a new culture with so many new faces entering the picture next season.
NCAA hot-commodity Drake Caggiula has made his decision, signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. This was an interesting choice for the skilled winger, as although he will be surrounded by talent in Edmonton, he will also have to fight for quality ice time with the big boys. Needless to say, his fantasy relevance will hinge on his position in the lineup, but given that even a third-line job lands him with talented linemates its safe to say he is absolutely worth a flyer in deeper leagues. Watch for him in training camp to see how he clicks before betting too much on his performance, but he will have the opportunity to reach his upside in the right situation.
As always, thank you for reading and best of luck in your playoff pools!