Prospect Ramblings September 8 2017

Cam Robinson

2017-09-08

 

DobberProspects Ramblings

Tough decisions at the top of the draft, prospect tournaments and some Q&A.

 

We are getting close! If you’re like me, the dog days of summer were bliss for catching up on some reading, maybe a little sunshine and a sangria or two, but the true joy lays ahead. Fantasy drafts are either gearing up or quickly approaching on the schedule.

 

Today we will investigate one of the most sought after answers of the offseason, take a quick dive into the upcoming prospect tournaments and wrap up with a little Q&A.

 

**

 

I can’t recall another draft that has led to so many questions about a specific draft slot. For all those teams who select third overall in their prospect or keeper league drafts, you’ve been clamouring all offseason to know who the slam dunk pick should be.

 

I have a feeling you already knew this but… there is no slam dunk here.

 

The Options

 

In a points-only setting, there are at least a fistful of options to consider. Do you go for the player with the best future situation? The guy who likely has the shortest path to the NHL? The player deemed to carry the most skill? 

 

Here’s a breakdown of several candidates with a pro and con to their resume.

 

Cale Makar: The player who went fourth overall in the true NHL Entry draft, Makar has an explosive ceiling. The risk involved with his pedigree and the quality of competition he has faced thus far has been spoken about in great lengths leading up to the draft and won’t be hushed until he steps into UMass and immediately starts producing against players who are several rungs higher than he faced in the AJHL the prior two campaigns.

 

Pro: A dynamic skater who boasts the full arsenal of offensive weapons. Makar represents the purest and likely highest ceiling player available. If things go smoothly, he could impact the fantasy landscape in a similar way that Kris Letang does when healthy.

 

Con: Can he play defense well enough to earn the trust of his future coaching staff? Also, until we see how he transfers his game to the NCAA, it’s difficult to pin down a suitable ETA for his NHL arrival. It could be one and done situation, or he might need three years of college hockey. The risk is palpable.

 

 

Elias Pettersson: A few people saw the Pettersson selection at fifth overall as a slight reach by Vancouver, but I’m not one of them. There may have been safer picks, but if you want high-skill, you’ve come to the right place. A well-known scout stated that if Pettersson demonstrated a quicker stride – one more comparable to Nico Hischier’s and perhaps an additional 15 pounds, prior to the entry draft, he would have been right in the conversation for first overall. Well, both of those “faults” are correctable and from my viewings of him early in the Champions League tournament and SHL preseason games, he looks quicker already.

 

Pro: Boasts incredible vision to go along with a very quick release and dangerous one-timer. A cerebral and complete offensive pivot who has a path towards the top line centre position cleared for him in Vancouver.

 

Con: The strength aspect is a concern when he eventually matches up against the very best at the NHL-level, but he’s shown an ability to consistently produce against grown men in a professional league as a teenager. Likely needs at least three years before starting to see tangible fantasy results.

 

All-Time U19 Allsvenskan Seasons

 

 

Casey Mittelstadt: A dazzling and high-octane talent, Mittelstadt faced similar questions as Makar regarding his QoT. In an effort to earn a High School State Championship with his lifelong teammates, Mittelstadt likely cost himself a draft slot or three. Oh well, Buffalo’s gain.

 

The American pivot can explode through a seam and unleash a wicked shot or draw defenders and thread the needle to a line mate. He has some warts in the defensive end, but you can’t teach his type of instincts. He was the best player at the most recent World Junior Summer Showcase tournament and looks more than ready for his next test in the NCAA.

 

Pro: Dynamic skills, explosive acceleration and a knack for racking up points.

 

Con: May be difficult to carve out a centre position with Buffalo owning both Eichel and O’Reilly long term, but regardless, he’ll be surrounded by top end talent when he steps in. ETA is also in question at this time.

 

 

Cody Glass: Vegas’ first ever selection has all the earmarks of a future heavy-lifting, number one centre. Glass compares favourably to Nashville’s, Ryan Johansen during his draft eligible campaign and was one of the most efficient and proficient producing 18-year-olds in the CHL last season.

 

Pro: Immediately steps in as the team’s top prospect and should have a nice clear path to a top six job in the very near future.

 

Con: May be too well-rounded and could become relied on to do some heavy lifting as well, never a good quality in a fantasy asset. Nick Suzuki is also lurking around with a very high ceiling.

 

 

Kailer Yamamoto: Here’s that player we were talking about as having the best potential situation moving forward. Yamamoto is ultra-talented. There is no second guessing that claim. He recorded the most points of any draft-eligible player in the CHL (99) and just drools electric and creative ability. The obvious knock is his 5’8 150lbs frame, but these days we’re seeing small players succeed in a way that we hardly did before. He also gets the chance to join a ridiculous future top six in Edmonton.

 

Courtesy: CanucksArmy

 

Pro: The Connor McDavid-factor. I’m not the only one who’s envisioning a top line in Edmonton featuring McDavid flanked by Jesse Puljujarvi and Yamamoto. It would be the perfect insulation for the diminutive puck-wizard to create magic.

 

Con: He’s tiny; that’s about it. If he can manage to get past that small issue, then the sky is the limit.

 

 

Owen Tippett: If there is one player outside of the top two who can realistically crack an NHL lineup this fall, its Tippett. Just ask Florida GM, Dale Tallon. The blazing fast and sharp-shooting winger boast physical maturity and a dynamic offensive skillset. Like many prospects before and surely more to come after, he has his warts in the defensive end and in the consistency department, but his natural ability is tantalizing.

 

Pro: Could step into the NHL this fall in a secondary scoring role and bring results to your squad right out of the gate. The Panthers have three very strong centres so matching up with any one of Barkov, Trochek or Bjugstad would be a solid start.

 

Con: Is prone to lapses in effort and judgement even at the OHL-level so he may find himself stapled to a bench or in the press box more than you’d like.

 

***

 

Jonathan Dahlen grabbed himself a case of mononucleosis. That energy-sucking illness will hold him out of the Young Stars’ prospect tournament this weekend in Penticton, BC and the Canucks’ training camp after that. It’ll also probably result in him returning to Sweden this season rather than spending 2017-18 in the American league which seemed likely.

 

Now to see if Vancouver can massage the situation enough to have Elias Pettersson’s Vaxjo Lakers sign Dahlen’s rights in order to pair the two up once again.

 

***

 

T-minus 26 days until puck drop. If you haven’t already (and you should’ve), now’s the time to pick up your Ultimate Fantasy Guide and Prospect Guide here.

 

***

 

Prospect tournaments are becoming a staple for organizations around the league. Outside of the Hurricane Irma-forced cancellation of the Capitals, Panthers, Lightning and Predators tourney, the rest of the events fire up this weekend and with it comes the unofficial start of the NHL season.

 

Only the Flyers, Rangers and Islanders are without a schedule.

Young Stars Classic

Date: Sept. 8-11
Location: Penticton, BC
Participants: Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets

Rookie Tournament

Date: Sept. 8th-10th
Location: Ricoh Coliseum / Toronto, ON
Participants: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators

Prospect Tournament

Date: Sept. 8-11
Location: HARBORCENTER / Buffalo, NY
Participants: Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins

Traverse City Tournament

Date: Sept. 8-12
Location: Traverse City, MI
Participants: Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues

Prospect Showcase

Date: Sept. 9-12
Location: Solar4America Ice / San Jose, CA
Participants: San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes

 

 

Prospect Exhibition

 

Date: Sept. 12-13

 

Location: Toyota Sports Centre, El Segundo, CA.

 

Participants: LA Kings and Vegas Golden Knights

 

 

***

 

Each Wednesday, I’ll appeal to the Twitterverse for some prospect-related questions to wrap up my Ramblings.

 

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">What is the projection for Merrick Madsen? Potential #1?</p>&mdash; Just Puck It! (@JustPuckIt_) <a href="https://twitter.com/JustPuckIt_/status/905621789367189504">September 7, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Madsen slipping under the radar for many folks isn’t too much of a surprise. He was buried in the Flyers’ system that boasts likely the deepest crop of net minders in the league and that can help explain his trade to the Coyotes this past June.

 

Standing 6’5, the Harvard puck-stopper clearly owns the size needed to thrive at the next level, but he also demonstrates strong positioning, poise and rebound control.

 

In 66 games as the starter for the Crimson the past two seasons, Madsen has posted a .927 save percentage and a 46-13-5 record. He’ll return for his senior season and wear the captain’s ‘C’.

 

As far as his potential, heading to the desert offers a new-found path to forge for the 22-year-old. He will need several years of development yet, but he has the raw skills to one day push for a starting role in the NHL.

 

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Is sergachev the real deal ?</p>&mdash; the heck (@theheck10) <a href="https://twitter.com/theheck10/status/905633625202245632">September 7, 2017</a></blockquote>

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He certainly appears to be. Sergachev is something of a wild stallion. He owns top end physical abilities, including his skating, shot and vision. He can get a little rambunctious at times and maybe takes chances that he shouldn’t, but I’d rather rein a player in than push him to create.

 

The problem will be finding tangible ice in Tampa Bay in the near future. As a left-shot player, he’s going to live behind Victor Hedman forever. The Lightning finally decided to load up a top power play unit with Hedman last season, but that was more a result of Stamkos’ injury and Hedman’s left shot working well with Kucherov’s one-timer from the right side. Will that occur again this year with a full and healthy lineup or will Jon Cooper split his weapons up?

 

If the team looks to balance two units, Sergachev only needs to beat out Anton Stralman for second unit time and that’s a reasonable outcome come 2018-19.

 

Talent always rises, and Sergachev owns a lot of it, but situation and deployment will always be major aspects in securing legitimate fantasy results. He needs some help in those areas.

 

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Who do you think is the most underrated prospect in the NHL? Ie someone owned in under 50% of keeper leagues</p>&mdash; NHL Rank King (@1stopfh) <a href="https://twitter.com/1stopfh/status/905605501957935104">September 7, 2017</a></blockquote>

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That’s a great question, and while I don’t have specific numbers on who is owned in less than half the keeper league setups, I do have a few names that aren’t as well-respected as I feel they should be.

 

Timo Meier

Vitali Abramov

Kevin Labanc

Tage Thompson

Jonathan Dahlen

Nicholas Roy

Vladislav Kamanev

Henrik Borgstrom

Aleksi Saarela

Cliff Pu

Rasmus Asplund

 

 

***

 

That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for joining me on my maiden Ramblings and I look forward to sharing some tasty knowledge snacks with you every week!

 

**

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I’m usually spouting off some sort of hockey-related take.

 

 

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