Each year there is a new wave of prospects coming to the NHL from various European leagues. Some of these players were drafted, and some were signed as a free agent. It is difficult to judge who will be the next Artemi Panarin, and who will be the next Roman Cervenka.
There has been plenty of ink used to discuss the impact players such as Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi and Sebastian Aho could have in their rookie season in the NHL. And you won’t get any of those players in a later round for better than market value. For that you need to dig deeper
For those of you in deeper keeper leagues, picking some of these players in later rounds offers a low risk, high reward potential scenario I strongly suggest is worth exploring. Here are ten prospects coming to the North America you need to know.
Pavel Buchnevich, RW – New York Rangers
Recently signed by the Rangers, Buchnevich will make his North American debut this year. There is little doubt he begins the year in the NHL, but if he can crack, and stick in a top six role remains to be seen. Coming off a 37 point season in the KHL, the offensively talented winger is the Rangers best prospect, and has an outside shot at the Calder Trophy.
Nikita Zaitsev, D – Toronto Maple Leafs
One of the hottest commodities as a European free agent this summer, and one of the worst kept secrets was the Leafs signing of Zaitsev. More known as a physical defenceman, Zaitsev also has some fantasy value as an offensive defenceman as he posted eight goals and 26 points in the KHL last year. He was an impact player in the Gagarin Cup and was impressive playing for Russia at the World Championship last spring. You will get a great opportunity to scout him as he will be one of Russia’s top pairing defencemen at the upcoming World Cup. The Leafs have already said they expect him to step into a top four pairing straight out of training camp. Zaitsev would be a safe, low risk pick with moderate upside and a high floor.
Anton Rodin, RW – Vancouver Canucks
Rodin has already made his North American debut, and he flamed out in the AHL and went back to Sweden. His AHL tour was hampered by injuries, but since he returned home he posted at a point per game pace in the SHL. The 25-year-old is now in his prime and has a shot at cracking the Canucks roster. If the former second round pick can play his way onto a line with the Twins, he could be found money. Rodin could play full time in the NHL as the Canucks are believers in his offensive ability and will give him every chance to prove them right.
Nikita Tryamkin, D – Vancouver Canucks
Yes I know he came to North America last season already and played 13 games in the NHL with the Canucks so I am cheating including him on this list. However the towering 6-7, 228 pound monster posted some pretty eye-popping stats in his late season audition. No two points isn’t what I am refe