image courtesy of Blackhawk Up
Fantasy season is here, which means its time to start digging through pages and pages of player lists to find the buried treasures. Good luck for you – that’s exactly what we’re here for. I’ve gone through Fantrax’s full list of rookie players to find the most under-owned kids for you to scoop up on draft day.
Obviously, this advice only becomes relevant if you’re in leagues deep enough to draft non-NHL players. Some of these prospects will be seeing time in 2018-19, some in years after that. Keep your particular league’s timelines and keeper settings in mind when reading – dynasty league players are the true target audience here.
I stuck to Fantrax for now due to their extremely deep player pool, and because they happen to be my site of choice, and host site for the DPFHL – the dynasty league of DobberProspects writers.
Anyone owned in over 75% of pools (arbitrary cutoff) was deemed ineligible for this list. Here we go:
72% – Andreas Johnsson (TOR)
I know everyone’s tired of reading about the Leafs, but this guy won AHL playoffs MVP and is going to be a top-nine winger on a team with Matthews, Tavares, and Kadri down the middle…
70% – Dylan Sikura (CHI)
Hobey Baker nominee had 2 strong NCAA years then tallied 3 points in 5 games trying out at the en of 2017-18. Lots of promise here and could see top-six time in Chicago.
66% – Sami Niku (WPG)
I’m a known Niku fan at this point so this isn’t a surprise to many readers. He had an outstanding 54-point rookie AHL season, and looking down the left side in Winnipeg, I’m confident he can win a spot soon on a roster carrying both Kulikov and Chiarot.
52% – Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (BOS)
Less upside here than a lot of the picks on this list, but JFK is a smart enough player that he should be making the jump to the big league sooner rather than later.
50% – Andrew Mangiapane (CGY)
Silenced any doubters (size-ists) in a sophomore season where he surpassed the point-per-game mark and scored 21 goals in 39 games. There is limited opportunity on the left side in Calgary right now, but when someone is scoring goals at this rate, the team eventually makes room.
45% – Mason Appleton (WPG)
AHL Rookie of the Year with 22 tallies and 66 points in 76 games played. Also 6’2″ and good pro frame. If he starts the year off where he picked off, he’ll be the top call-up candidate in a high-powered Jets lineup.
39% – Alexander Volkov (TBL)
Maybe I have a thing for AHL rookies…or maybe these are exactly the kind of low-exposure kids that get under-drafted. He’s got all the tools to be a middle-six NHLer in the near future both in terms of talent and fitness. Tampa Bay will be a hard line-up to crack, but is also an extremely high-reward situation when he does crack it. Puts up points and PIMs.
35% – Rudolfs Balcers (SJS)
Jeez do I have a type. Strong AHL rookie, but really made his mark for Latvia in international play. Probably still a year or two away from bulking up enough to fight for an NHL spot, but Balcers is a fast riser right now among prospect-watchers so take advantage if appropriate in your league.
34% – Sam Blais (STL)
I know he carried low pedigree as a 6th round pick, and his 11-game NHL tryout was a little disappointing with only 3 points, but its way too soon to give up on a 22-year-old AHL point-per-game guy. He’s getting another shot, and will be in a good situation to capitalize.
17% – Jordy Bellerive (PIT)
46 goals in the WHL last year. 46! 92 points in total, and 82 PIM bonus just for the roto-league owners. Yes, its Junior so we need to temper our expectations, but a scorer this prolific deserves better than 17% ownership if you’re in a dynasty league.
Join me next week when I’ll do a follow-up article, the most over-owned rookies and reached-for prospects.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck as draft season begins!