Prospects Ramblings: Big names and little known prospects updates you need to know

Peter Harling

2016-11-14

Imama, Boko

Throughout the year there are so many leagues, prospects and situations to keep an eye on, it sometimes gets overwhelming. There are draft eligible players I want to gather information on, prospects from my fantasy teams I own I need to keep abreast on and the list goes on. With so much happening here are some random prospects I have been looking at lately and why.

Boko Imama is a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect. I first heard of Imama on an episode of the BoltProspects and became intrigued. I am in a couple of roto style fantasy leagues that score categories such as hits and PIM’s and Imama is known to be a feared heavy weight tough guy in the QMJHL playing for the Saint John Sea Dogs. The episode I was listening to was talking about how tough Imama is and that he seldom loses a fight, but that his skating and hands were very big question marks. That podcast was sometime after the Lightning had drafted him180th overall in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. Fast forward to today; Imama arrived this summer at the Lightning prospect camps a very different player. He is still huge and very strong, but his skating is no longer a glaring weakness. Imama has also displayed some leadership qualities and he wears the A as an alternate Captain for the second season. But more impressive that that is the fact that he is starting to show signs of offensive capabilities. His vastly developed skill set earned him his first NHL preseason game this season and he managed to score in that game. The Lightning had the option of sending Imama to either the AHL or back to junior and decided on back to junior. I do not think this is a sign that he is a bust, rather the opposite. If he played this year in the AHL, he likely would have been designated to be a fighter. In going back to the QMJHL, where there is far less fighting with the new rules, he will be allowed to play a more significant role and develop his puck skills playing on a top team in Saint John. To date on the season Imama has played 19 games and has 11 goals and 16 points and only 16 penalty minutes. On Sunday he enjoyed a career game scoring four goals

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Imama joins Zack Phillips, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nathan Noel as the only <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SJSeaDogs?src=hash">#SJSeaDogs</a> to score four times in a regular season or playoff game</p>&mdash; Saint John Sea Dogs (@SJSeaDogs) <a href="https://twitter.com/SJSeaDogs/status/797885570286424064">November 13, 2016</a></blockquote>

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Now while it is great to see Imama continuing to develop I still think his fantasy upside is limited to leagues which include hits and penalty minutes. He likely peaks as a valuable AHL player but since the leagues where I added him as a free agent have 23 man prospect benches and are 20+ team leagues each I can use a prospect spot and sit on him for a year or two and hope he continues to develop and can work his way into the NHL and deliver plenty of stats to my hits, PIM’s, blocks and a few point categories.

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Jonathan Ang is a prospect I have been watching very closely for his entire OHL career as I am at Petes games almost every other Thursday night. Ang is a Florida Panthers prospect  and was just named as the OHL player of the week. Ang scored four goals and seven points in four games last week for the Petes with a plus -4 rating in that span. I am an Ang fan and see his game transitioning to the NHL in a few years. Ang is an elite skater for his peer group, he has an explosive two step acceleration, powerful strides that cut the ice and his edge work and agility make him very difficult to check or contain on the rush. He has displayed quick hands to compliment his feet as well and can make highlight reel moves in the shootout or on a breakaway. He is versatile positionally as he is a natural center but is converted to the wing this season and he plays a reliable defensive game as well. My knock on Ang to date has been his lack of size and physical game. In his rookie year he was very much a perimeter player and would wait for the puck to come to him. This year he is far more aggressive, stronger and even engaged in a fight.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">For anyone who knows <a href="https://twitter.com/jonathanang21">@jonathanang21</a> please watch this. <a href="https://t.co/7jzSlkViik">pic.twitter.com/7jzSlkViik</a></p>&mdash; Benjamin O'Callaghan (@_bennyoc) <a href="https://twitter.com/_bennyoc/status/786736861372936192">October 14, 2016</a></blockquote>

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The London Knights have named a new Captain, and it is Toronto Maple Leafs prospect J.J. Piccinich. The Leafs selected Piccinich 103rd overall in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and he has really flown under the radar despite being owned by the Leafs. In his first game as Captain of the Knights, Piccinich beat up on the Kingston Frontenacs scoring two goals and four points including this impressive shorthanded goal.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So London Knights captain and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Leafs?src=hash">#Leafs</a> prospect JJ Piccinich did this shorthanded last night. <a href="https://t.co/kKG1RcU0yi">pic.twitter.com/kKG1RcU0yi</a></p>&mdash; Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) <a href="https://twitter.com/scottcwheeler/status/797567651459502082">November 12, 2016</a></blockquote>

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Piccinich is playing in a much bigger role in his final year in the OHL on a line with Cliff Pu and Max Jones and needs to prove he can score on a consistent basis on the top line as a 20-year-old. With the Leafs prospect depth he will be in tough to make it to the NHL but with 20 points in 16 games this year he is on the right track and worth keeping an eye on.

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Our Carolina scout Kevin Leblanc posted a Carolina Hurricanes prospect update for Canescountry.com and talks about a little known prospect in David Cotton. I have been following him since he was drafted 169th overall in the sixth round by Carolina in 2015 as a 6-3 and 205 pound 18-year-old who posted 69 points in 33 games for Cushing Academy. In his post draft year, Cotton played in the USHL for the Waterloo Black Hawks where his scoring was impressive as well with 15 goals and 30 points in 48 games. This year he has changed jersey again and is now playing in the NCAA for Boston College where he continues to produce scoring four goals and nine points in his first 13 games. With his size and scoring ability he is a player to watch.

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The Detroit Red Wings recalled a few prospects of note from the AHL. Tyler Bertuzzi was recalled last week after he made a strong impression this summer at rookie camps and the pre-season. Bertuzzi has played his first two career NHL regular season games playing an average of 9:40 a game on the fourth line with Luke Glendening and Steve Ott. So far he has not done anything of note with no points, two shots and five hits, and is only 13% owned on Fantrax. I am a very big fan of his game and he brings speed, skill and a high compete level that is sure to translate well in the NHL and in a variety of fantasy leagues.

Anthony Mantha was also recalled by the Wings and in one game he is slightly more fantasy relevant with two shots, two hits and two blocks and no points. The big difference between the two is Mantha played almost 19 minutes in the game he played including 5:37 of power play time on a top line with Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar. Mantha has the skill, size and pedigree to become a fantasy impact player this season and at 46% Fantrax owned could be worth adding or putting on your watch list

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One of the most viewed prospect profiles all time on DobberProspects has been Anthony DeAngelo, and he has recently made his NHL debut for the Arizona Coyotes. The offensive defenceman has played in three games now and has his first  NHL goal and two points. At only 40% Fantrax ownership, DeAngelo is definitely a player you may want to add as his fantasy upside is significant as he is an all-out offensive defenceman.

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After battling injuries it looks like 25-year-old Tyler Pitlick has finally arrived for the Edmonton Oilers. Pitlick has made the team this season and has played in 16 games and has five goals and six points and 41 hits. On Sunday mid-way through the game Pitlick was promoted to the top line with Connor McDavid and Pat Maroon, replacing Jordan Eberle. I don’t suspect the line will stick for long but Pitlick is only 12% Fantrax owned and if the line stays intact for a few games he could be a sneaky good add in the short term

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Josh Bloom 4.5 5.5
Yegor Chinakhov 7.7 9.0
Luca Del Bel Belluz 7.5 7.5
Kirill Marchenko 8.0 5.5
Gregory Hofmann 7.0 5.0
Mikael Pyyhtiä 5.5 2.5
David Jiricek 8.5 9.5
Denton Mateychuk 8.5 8.5
Emil Bemström 8.0 8.5
Luke Evangelista 7.5 6.5