This week, I didn’t have a topic in mind for my ramblings. I was scrolling through the Dobber Forum looking for ideas when it hit me – I’ll take some prospects-related questions from the forum and provide my answer here. I tried to select questions that might be relevant in more than just one league.
But before I get to the questions, I wanted to give a big shout-out to all the writers at DobberProspects who are working hard in the summer to provide high-quality content on a daily basis in the form of our 31-in-31 summer series. You can find all those articles from here: 31 in 31 Series. If you’ve somehow missed the first ones, I suggest you start reading them right away, and remember to come back every day for fresh content. We’ll go through all the teams in alphabetical order, and my article about the Panthers will be published on Friday. OK, let’s get to the questions now.
Filip Zadina or Elias Pettersson?
I’ll start by saying that these are both great prospects with a bright future ahead of them. I think both will play in the NHL this season. Pettersson is a natural center but spent most of last season playing right wing in the SHL, and will likely begin his NHL career playing that position. They’ll both play for rebuilding teams which means they’ll get every opportunity to succeed. If I’m forced to choose between the two, I’m taking Pettersson. I think Zadina could realistically score 70-80 points in his prime but Pettersson’s upside is even higher than that. “Triple-digit upside” is a term our Canucks prospect expert Cam Robinson has been using, and I don’t often disagree with him.
Elias Pettersson or Quinn Hughes?
In this case, I’m definitely taking Pettersson here unless there’s a huge bonus for defense points. Neither one will provide much in the peripheral stats either. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of Hughes and I think he has the upside to score 50-60 points in his prime. But I’d rather have the forward who can score 80+ points. They’ll be very helpful for each other, though. Both should be featured on the Canucks’ top power play unit soon enough.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi or Vitali Kravtsov?
For real-life purposes, Kotkaniemi is the better choice. But for fantasy hockey, I’m taking Kravtsov here. Kravtsov’s nationality and lack of exposure to North American audience are the only reasons people aren’t super high on this talented Russian. He’s likely spending just one more year in the KHL before he makes the jump to the NHL. Kotkaniemi could be making the jump at the same time, though. But I like Kravtsov’s offensive upside more.
Who to draft at No. 16?
My two favorite draft targets in this range are Grigori Denisenko and Dominik Bokk. They’re both super talented wingers who will play in the NHL for one reason only – to produce points. Denisenko was drafted a bit earlier than Bokk and there’s a bit less long-term depth in front of him in Florida compared to what Bokk has to face in St. Louis, so I prefer Denisenko between the two – but they’re both excellent prospects for fantasy hockey purposes.
Robert Thomas or Oliver Wahlstrom?
This one depends on league details. Thomas is NHL ready now and I like his upside for points-only – although the Blues have a ton of forward depth, so it remains to be seen if Thomas can steal a spot from someone. But Wahlstrom is a winger who’ll score a lot of goals and shoot a ton, and players like that can be super valuable in certain leagues. Wahlstrom may be just one year away from playing in the NHL, so there won’t be a long wait time either.
Ilya Samsonov or Jesse Puljujärvi?
In my books, Samsonov is the best goalie prospect in the world right now. He has the upside to become an elite goaltender. Braden Holtby has two more years left on his contract, and it’s not out of the question the Capitals decide to let him walk after that and Samsonov takes over from there. So long-term, I prefer Samsonov here. But Samsonov will spend most of the next two years in the AHL which means Puljujärvi is the better short-term option – and I’m still very high on him. The Oilers have done a terrible job with his development but I have faith that he’s good enough to overcome their mismanagement system and become a strong fantasy hockey option.
Drake Batherson or Troy Terry?
I like Terry’s offensive upside a bit more but Batherson is the safer option here. I don’t see super high upside in either of them but Terry has a bit more natural talent whereas Batherson plays a reliable game that will show up on the score sheet. I would personally go with the safer option in Batherson in this case but I can also understand why others might prefer Terry. They’re both pretty close to playing in the NHL – perhaps just one more year for both of them.
Will Victor Olofsson play in the NHL this season?
I like Olofsson but I wouldn’t draft him expecting him to play in the NHL right away. He’s a one-dimensional volume-shooter who would need a very sheltered role. More likely outcome is that he starts the season in the AHL and the Sabres call him up when injuries occur. The Sabres added Sheary, Sobotka and Berglund while only removing O’Reilly from the lineup, so there’s likely no room for Olofsson right now.
And that’s all for now. Feel free to add comments below. Follow me on Twitter @JokkeNevalainen.
Images used on the main collage courtesy of NHL.com