Prospects Rambling

Peter Harling

2017-09-20

photo courtesy: www.reviewjournal.com

Training camps are in full swing, pre-season games have happened and that means I actually have some news to ramble about, so let’s ramble…More Sens news, Ottawa signed Parker Kelly to a ELC contract today. Kelly was undrafted in his first year of eligibility in 2017 and was ranked 166th by HockeyProspect and 192 in North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting, and no one else. Needless to say he is a low profile player and has no business being added to your prospect roster at this point. His modest offensive totals from the WHL don’t scream fantasy relevant but he is a pesky player that if the Sens can develop him into a bottom six role player could have value in a few years. For now, watch list at best…

Tough break for Ottawa Senators prospects Colin White who will be out six to eight weeks with a broken wrist. White was a candidate to make the Sens roster to start the year, but now when he is ready to play I fully expect it will be in the AHL to start to get his timing and game up to speed. It may take an injury for him to get a shot with the Sens so this is bad news for White owners who were counting on him playing the full season in the NHL…

Dallas Stars 2017 top pick Miro Heiskanen has been diagnosed with a concussion while playing in the Champions League with HIFK. Not that he was going to play in the NHL this year anyway, but this likely means he does not even come over for training camp…

Speaking of 2017 Draft prospects, Eeli Tolvanen (Nashville Predators) has been tearing up the KHL as an 18-year-old. The KHL isn’t a league know for giving ice time to young players but Tolvanen is playing for Jokerit in his native Finland and had a hat-trick in his debut game and now has eight points in nine games. Don’t be surprised if he comes back to North America next year to play in the NHL. Tolvanen was drafted out of the USHL and was committed to play NCAA in Boston but his academic credits didn’t translate eliminating that option. Tolvanen is a big time shooter that should give the Preds and your fantasy team a boost in the goals and shots categories…

Sticking with the KHL, the league leading scorer is Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nikita Gusev. The Goose is on fire with five goals and 17 points in 12 games and is tied with Pavel Datsyuk for the overall scoring lead. Tampa gave up on Gusev because he is committed to the KHL for a few years and he may play out his career in the KHL and never come to the NHL which make him a fantasy wild card. ..

Now that the pre-season has started you can look for Coaches experimenting with prospects and potential line combinations. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be playing NCAA free agent signee Zach Aston-Reese on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. The Colorado Avalanche will play their free agent prospect Alex Kerfoot on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen Tuesday night as well. In Boston Jake DeBrusk will play on a line with David Pastrnak and David Krejci. Now pump the breaks if you think these lines will stick all season. Every year it seems there is a player that has a brilliant pre-season and fantasy GM’s are scrambling to draft him in fantasy drafts. Remember Brandon Bochenski! He led the NHL in preseason scoring on a line with Jason Spezza in Ottawa and was lighting the lamp seemingly at will. The regular season is a different animal and he ended up with a career 28 goals in 156 games…

The Vegas Golden Knights played their first real game in a pre-season game against the Vancouver Canucks and blew the Canucks out. Tyler Wong had a monster game scoring a hat-trick and also had a beautiful assist. Who is Tyler Wong? He played five years in the WHL and is an undersized offensive winger. He was never drafted and is only signed to an AHL contract with the Chicago Wolves. In his overage season as Captain of the Lethbridge Hurricanes he had a career year with 51 goals and 109 points. Wong played three regular season AHL games at the end of last year with the Toronto Marlies on an ATO posting one assist. It was only one pre-season NHL game, albeit a very impressive performance, but still just one game. If Wong can sustain that level of performance a NHL contract will be sure to follow. The biggest challenge for the 21-year-old is his size, at 5-9, 172 pounds it’s not impossible for him to play in today’s NHL, but he must produce consistent offense. ..

The St. Louis Blues got some bad injury news as winger Zach Sanford (Shoulder Surgery) will miss five to six months and Jay Bouwmeester (Ankle fracture) will miss at least a month. The Blues already had openings on the roster for young players and these two injuries really create an opportunity for prospects. The biggest benefactor of the Sanford injury could be Tage Thompson who is a first year pro and will be looking to make the Blues after playing 26 regular season and playoff games in the AHL last year at the end of the season. Thompson has size, is a good skater and has a cannon for a shot. Breaking him into the NHL in a middle six, F-9 position with powerplay time could be the way this plays out. Look to acquire Thompson in keeper leagues as he could be in the NHL sooner than later. The Bouwmeester injury opens the door wide for one of Jake Walman and Jordan Schmaltz. Both were projected to be competing for one roster spot and now will be given an increased opportunity to make an impression with increased minutes in the preseason and to start the season. Bouwmeester will be re-evaluated in three weeks and if the news is bad for him, it gives more opportunity to the kids…

Minor injury update, Tyson Jost has been dealing with a groin injury since the Rookie Showcase. Hopefully he only misses preseason games and is ready to go for the start of the season and it doesn’t linger and hinder his chance to compete for a Calder race…

You can find my personal top ten prospects rankings for each NHL team over at My NHL Trade Rumors as I go over each team’s future stars. Some thoughts on some of the teams to date as I am currently working on the Chicago Blackhawks…The Hawks surprisingly have decent prospects, one elite prospect in DeBrincat and after that a bunch of depth role players. The Calgary Flames were a particularly difficult team to rank. Who is their top prospect? I put out a Twitter poll asking that question and here are the results:

Valimaki – 39%

Jankowski – 31%

Gillies – 25%

Other – 5%

Other players to get votes included Tyler Parsons, Kylington, and Adam Fox

No clear cut choice there and it is a testament to the Flames prospect depth.

Another reminder for all you junior hockey fans that the DobberProspects Radio Podcast is hosting a fantasy hockey league for CHL players, pick players from the OHL, QMJHL and WHL to build the ultimate fantasy hockey prospect roster and compete against the hosts and Patron members. Teams will consist of 12 forwards, six defense and two goalies. Simple scoring of 2 points for goals and one for assist for skaters and goalies earn three for a win and two for a shutout. The deadline to submit your team and to be in the league is September 30th so become a patron today. Everything you need to know can be found on our Patreon page here

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