In just another example of how youth has served notice, this season, 22 teenagers have begun the season with their parent clubs. Now, more than ever an astute fantasy hockey manager needs to have a firm grasp on the skills and potential of an increasingly wide array of prospects.
To assist with that never-end mountain of homework, each month I will open a thread in the DobberHockey prospect’s forum and attempt to answer any and all of your fantasy hockey prospect conundrums.
Without further adieu, here is the inaugural mailbag!
Question: “Quick ranking: Dubois, Connor, Aho, Boeser, A.Nylander, Tkachuk, Rantanen, Meier. Multi-cat roto, 2 year scope.
Also, would you take Nolan Patrick ahead of the 2016's top 4 draftees?”
Answer: With just a two-year scope in mind and a multitude of categories, I would have to give preference to those already playing in the NHL and who historically can fill a score sheet.
Rankings can be difficult in multi cat settings but I suppose I’d see them as such:
Aho, Tkachuk, Rantanen, Dubois, Connor, Boeser, Meier, Nylander.
While not in the NHL this season, it’s very likely that Dubois will step into the Columbus roster a year from now and assume a top two centre position. He is a major threat offensively, loves to pile up penalty minutes and shoots the puck a ton. Long term, he’d be at the top of this list.
Aho, Connor and Nylander won’t fill as many categories but offensively are going to be strong assets with Aho receiving the most beneficial opportunities this season.
If we were looking at a more long-term approach, the player I’d want after Dubois is Brock Boeser. He’s a horse in the offensive zone with a cannon of a shot that he unleashes without hesitation, a fantastic work ethic and enjoys mixing it up from time to time.
As far as Nolan Patrick is concerned, we’ve got eight months to analyze him and for this stage of development that’s massive. That said, if he was four days older and eligible for the 2016 draft, you’d likely have seen him go in the top six or seven picks.
He has the earmarks of a very strong top six centre, but I’ll reserve judgement before anointing him a sure-fire #1 guy.
Question: “Is Aho a 70pt guy?”
Answer: Last season, 15 forwards scored 70 or more points so claiming that Aho will be a top 15 forward in the future is a little difficult. However, many factors can come into play to change that logic. Do we see scoring rates continue to increase as they have early on this season? Will the shrinking of goaltender equipment have a direct impact on how the scoring list shapes up?
Gun to my head, I’d say that no, Aho isn’t likely to become a 70-point player, but more a very strong, distributing top six centre who could see a three-year peak in the 60-65 point range.
Question: “Everyone seems to be on the Clayton Keller hype train, which is largely why I drafted him. Is he as "real deal" as I have been lead to believe?”
Answer: In my opinion, Clayton Keller is absolutely the real deal. 20 years ago, he wouldn’t have likely got the opportunity to display his wide array of offensive skills, but he’ll be entering the league at the perfect time and should be surrounding by a strong cast of talent in Arizona.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see him produce as one of