Prospects Rambling: Junior Fantasy Hockey and Training Camp Standouts

Peter Harling

2017-09-25

Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

This time of year all the fantasy hockey drafts are quickly approaching and poolies are scrambling to stay up to date on what’s happening at training camps across the league and what prospects may make the jump into the NHL.

To help answer this question lets point you in the direction of a few places that can help you figure that out. First you want to track the daily transaction wire and stay on top of what prospects have been assigned to their junior teams (to which there is no coming back from this season) and who has been assigned to the AHL. Top destinations for this include

Elite Prospects

Rotoworld

The Forecaster/Hockey News

For the players still in main camps and playing in pre-season games, how are they doing? Finding preseason stats can be difficult and frustrating. Not to worry, you can find a sortable report generator for your preseason stats on Frozen Pool. If this site is new to you it is a gold mine for fantasy hockey research as you will also find reports such as line combinations, compare a player, nightly previews, Roto rater, hot and cold streaks and so much more.

One key tip or suggestion to keep in mind is what is the players opportunity? Has the team lost a player in the off-season to free agency or retirement and not acquired a replacement meaning the position will be filled from within? Or perhaps a roster player is injured to start the season, creating an opportunity to start the year in the NHL for a player. Lets look at some current injured players we know of, and what that means in terms of opportunity for a prospect to fill the void in the interim.

Anaheim Ducks

Hampus Lindholm, D – The Lindholm injury (out until early November) and loss of Shea Theodore to Vegas opens the door for two prospects. Jacob Larsson is a 20-year-old coming from the SHL and arguably the Ducks top prospect. A more under the radar player is Andy Welinski, 24-year-old had a strong rookie AHL season and is turning heads in training camp. Don’t sleep on this player.

Ryan Kesler, C – Out indefinitely opens up a spot in the 2C position. There are roster players on the wing who can fill in such as Rickard Rakell and Andrew Cogliano in the short term. Look for the roster replacement to be on the wing and the biggest benefactors could be on of Ondrej Kase, Nicolas Kerdiles, or Kale Kossila, all saw at least one NHL game last year and have been solid AHL performers.

Arizona Coyotes

Jakob Chychrun, D – Out indefinitely but may be back sooner than originally expected. If he isn’t ready to start the season, Kyle Wood who had a stellar rookie AHL season could be at the top of the list. He has NHL size and a canon of a shot.

Chicago Blackhawks

Marian Hossa, RW – It is expected Hossa will miss the entire season and his career is likely over. That opens up a plum job on Jonathan Toews wing. The early favorite is Richard Panik, but poolies who have been waiting and drooling on Alex DeBrincat may be rewarded soon. He has carried his scoring prowess over in rookie tournaments and even had a tilly in one game trying to prove his size doesn’t matter. I am not saying DeBrincat will make the team, but if he does it is likely on the right of Toews.

Nashville Predators

Ryan Ellis, D – Ellis is out indefinitely but the Preds have always had a solid pipeline of great defensive prospects. A potential replacement could be Samuel Girard, the undersized offensive defenseman is a sublime skater and a bit of magician with the puck. He has been pulling Dennis Savard spin-o-ramas in the QMJHL for a few years now and is similar to Ellis is many ways.

New Jersey Devils

Travis Zajac, C – The Devils first line center is out till February and first overall pick Nico Hischier has a prime opportunity to step into that role and sink his teeth into it. Hischier has had some impressive goals and skill plays in the preseason already and could use this opportunity to make a strong bid for the Calder Trophy.

St. Louis Blues

In the offseason the Blues lost five forwards in Ty Rattie, Nail Yakupov, David Perron, Jori Lehtera, and Ryan Reaves, while adding only Braden Schenn. This opens up fulltime roster spots and coupled with injuries to Alexander Steen (week-to-week), Zach Sanford (Indefinitely), and Patrik Berglund (December) ensures some prospects will be getting extended looks at least. The Blues 31st overall pick Klim Kostin said at the draft his goal is to play in the NHL and if he has to start in the AHL he would. Based on the circumstances and his preseason play it could easily be straight to the NHL for the big Russian. While Kostin is a sexy pick, Ivan Barbashev may be the safer pick as he has NHL experience last year and is 21-years-old. Another prospect that I think will take advantage is big Tage Thompson who turned pro at the end of last season playing in the AHL. His skating isn’t elite, and he doesn’t use his size as effectively as he could, but he has a tremendous shot and release that should earn him a long audition.

As always take what happens in the pre-season with a tremendous grain of salt and don’t over reach on a player based on a meaningless bunch of exhibition games. Like I said in my last week ramblings, remember Brandon Bochenski…

Some random players having great training camps pushing to make their teams are;

Victor Mete (Montreal Canadiens) the NHL today is all about skating, speed, and skill and Mete has all those attributes. He still has a year of junior eligibility so it is the Montreal or the London Knights. While he could start the year paired with Shea Weber, my guess is he ends up back in London eventually.

Look for Islanders prospect Mathew Barzal to make the team and play in the 2 C position this season. Not much competition stands in his way and he is a highly skilled player that can create offensive support for Tavares.

Jesse Gabrielle is a prospect you may not have heard of if you don’t follow the WHL closely, but he is Brad Marchand 2.0. Gabrielle has been impressing at Bruins camp with his agitating style of play combined with offensive upside and he and Marchand posted very similar stats in their final two years of junior. Marchand had 64 goals, 89 assists for 153 points and 183 penalty minutes in 116 games while Gabrielle posted 75 goals, 64 assists for 139 points and 189 penalty minutes in 133 games. Gabrielle is 5-11 and 205 pounds to Marchands 5-9 and 181 pounds. I am not suggesting Gabrielle is going to make the Bruins this year, he likely sees some AHL time to start his career as Marchand did but a player you may want to look into…

Shameless self-promotion time

Be sure to checkout the Goalie Post which is under new management and is gearing up for a big year. Get the latest Dobber top 100 goalie rankings there and daily starting goalie updates, goalie ramblings and more and be sure to follow on Twitter – @GoaliePost

I am very excited to announce the addition of Steve Kournianous of the Draft Analyst to the DobberProspects writing staff. As we kick off our new season of editorial content in October, Steve will be contributing once a month the NHL Draft Watch column.

Also happy to announce a new column focusing on analytics with a focus on prospects which will be written by our own Will Couching for all you stats geeks. The full schedule will follow as such

Week one – CHL

Monday – OHL by Kathryn Jean

Wednesday – WHL by Brayden Sully

Friday – QMJHL by Mike Barette

Week two – USA
Monday – AHL by Brayden Olafson

Wednesday – NCAA by Kevin Leblanc

Friday – USHL by Kevin Wickersham

Week three –  Europe

Monday – KHL by Pat Quinn

Wednesday – SHL by Brad Phillips

Friday – Liiga by Nico Salminen

Week four – Editorial

Monday – NHL Draft

Wednesday – Fantasy Hockey Prospects Mailbag

Friday – Prospects Analytics

If you have not heard, the DobberProspects Radio Podcast is hosting a CHL fantasy hockey league. Subscribe as a $3/month patron member or more and you can join the DPRFL and compete against myself, Paul Zwambag, Guy Flamming (Host of The Pipeline Show) and the Keeping Karlsson hosts as well as our other listeners for bragging rights. All you need to do is pick your favorite CHL players from the WHL, OHL, or QMJHL. Full league rules and subscription can be found at our Patreon page here.

Below is the entry ballot used to fill out and submit your ultimate junior hockey fantasy team, join today the deadline is September 30th

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
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Alexander Pelevin 3 2
Tyler Tucker 5.0 6.0
Matt Kessel 4.0 7.5
Aatu Räty 8.0 7.0
Jackson Blake 6.0 6.0
Ryan Ufko 7.0 6.0

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