One week of the NHL season is almost behind us, and it's turning out to be a pivotal season for NHL prospects and how the NHL is evolving.
The trend over the last couple seasons obviously has been that more and more teams are building their teams with the use of entry level contracts (with some glaring exceptions) which means prospects and players on ELC's are making up a larger part of NHL rosters.
Even better for those who follow prospects, teams arent pigeonholing these players into bottom-six roles lacking power-play time. In many cases, it's the complete opposite. For fantasy owners, prospects were always taken with a wait and see approach, mainly given that they were deployed in roles with less of a chance of offensive success. It looks like it might be time to come off that thinking a bit. Do you think this is because of the quality of prospects coming in this year, or is it going to be a trend in the NHL moving forward?
A quick breakdown of a few top-level prospects and their average power-play to even strength ice time is listed here (stats via http://www.dobberhockey.com/frozenpool/):
Dylan Strome (ARI) – 14:13 Total-TOI, 3:22 PP-TOI = 23.7% of Total-TOI on PP
Christian Dvorak (ARI) – 16:17 Total-TOI, 3:28 PP-TOI = 21.2% of Total-TOI on PP
Matthew Tkachuk (CGY) – 12:06 Total-TOI, 2:16 PP-TOI = 18.7% of Total-TOI on PP
Sebastian Aho (CAR) – 14:06 Total-TOI, 2:57 PP-TOI = 20.9% of Total-TOI on PP
Devin Shore (DAL) – 14:18 Total-TOI, 2:19 PP-TOI = 16.2% of Total-TOI on PP
Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM) – 10:51 Total-TOI, 2:04 PP-TOI = 19.0% of Total-TOI on PP
Dennis Malgin (FLA) – 11:33 Total-TOI, 2:02 PP-TOI = 17.6% of Total-TOI on PP
Pavel Buchnevich (NYR) – 14:52 Total-TOI, 3:20 PP-TOI = 22.4% of Total-TOI on PP
Jimmy Vesey (NYR) – 13:24 Total-TOI, 2:15 PP-TOI = 16.7% of Total-TOI on PP
Brayden Point (TBL) – 15:21 Total-TOI, 2:51 PP-TOI = 18.5% of Total-TOI on PP
Auston Matthews (TOR) – 17:14 Total-TOI, 4:07 PP-TOI = 23.8% of Total-TOI on PP
Mitch Marner (TOR) – 16:31 Total-TOI, 4:02 PP-TOI = 24.4% of Total-TOI on PP
Kyle Connor (WPG) – 15:31 Total-TOI, 2:47 PP-TOI = 17.9% of Total-TOI on PP
Zach Weresnki (CBJ) – 21:55 Total-TOI, 2:19 PP-TOI = 10.5% of Total-TOI on PP
Yohann Auvitu (NJD) – 17:24 Total-TOI, 3:35 PP-TOI = 20.5% of Total-TOI on PP (He's 27, does that count?)
Nikita Zaitsev (TOR) – 21:42 Total-TOI, 4:02 PP-TOI = 18.5% of Total-TOI on PP
Taking this one step further, I tweeted this stat today:
27 players seems like an awful lot for one week of hockey.
Just two games on the slate. The main-event is Toronto-Winnipeg, in which Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine will meet for their first of many NHL games against eachother. Another nugget of information about tonight's game from James Mirtle that even furthers the influence of prospects on these two teams:
Non-NHL related tibit from the OHL yesterday:
Rangers third-round pick Sean Day was moved by Mississauga to Windsor yesterday along with Barrie's third-round pick in 2019 and Mississauga's sixth-round pick in 2017 for four draft picks. Those picks include, Sarnia's second in 2017, Niagara's second in 2018, Windsor's fifth in 2019 and third in 2020.
Day is a strong addition to a Windsor blueline that could get even better if Montreal decides to send Mikhail Sergachev back to the Spitfires after his nine-game NHL trial. Windsor is the host of this years Memorial Cup.
Enjoy the hockey!
Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.