Welcome to the Thursday ramblings. Yay
With teams beginning to finalize their roster let me look at the more notable (for sleeper potential) names remaining:
Troy Terry – Without Corey Perry for five months, and Patrick Eaves still hurt, Terry has taken the top spot with Getzlaf and Rakell for the time being. In the short term he has great sleeper potential, but by the end of the season both Eaves and Perry will be back to knock him down the line up, or to the AHL. There is a chance Terry’s play could keep him in the top six for the entire season too, so there is a small potential for a big upside in a late draft choice.
Sam Steel – Steel is in the same spot as Terry, where he is getting a chance to play because of an injury to Ryan Kesler. Once Kesler returns Steel could be moved to the wing or could be sent to the AHL, but so far this preseason he has been very impressive.
Max Comtois – Comtois has played in four preseason games, in a bottom-six role, has played very solidly. In the last two games he also has four points but that has come in under 13 minutes each game. If the Ducks want to keep a player with energy who can chip in on offense then Comtois is the player.
Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril – Both (or one) of these players need to beat out four good defensemen, John Moore and Kevin Killer’s contract, and Matt Grzelcyk to make the team. So what I am saying is that they will both likely be in the minors this season.
Alex Nylander – Nylander has been one of the better Buffalo players so far in exhibition. I think it would be better for him to tear up the AHL for a bit, considering how his previous year went, and then come up but this is a great sign that he is not heading down Bust Avenue.
Juuso Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson – These two players are both superior to Kulak and Stone and are essentially battling for the #7 spot. They should get the #5 and #6 spot, especially with Kylington sent down recently, and it is an interesting situation to monitor.
Warren Foegele – The Viktor Rask injury opens the door for Foegele, who has impressed in training camp with his speed and skill. Those two traits, combined with the open roster spots make Foegele a good late round sleep choice.
Henri Jokiharju – HeJo has not been sent down yet as he has impressed the Chicago coaching staff. The injuries to Murphy and Ruuta also open the door for HeJo to play, sheltered but meaningful minutes. Boqvist was sent to the OHL’s London Knights yesterday all but guaranteeing HeJo a spot.
Dominik Kahun – Kahun has been producing in top six minutes consistently for the Hawks in the preseason, if he slides in the draft get him as soon as you can.
Martin Kaut – Kaut has surprised the Avs enough that he has stayed in the lineup this far in to training camp and looks to be making the team. It would likely be best for him if he was to spend another year overseas or in the AHL as there is no reason to rush his development. Currently he would make a good bottom six energy winger but long term the team should want him to score not hit.
Jonathan Davidsson – Davidsson has been impressing Columbus since day one and management appears to be pencilling him in for an NHL spot. There is still a chance he gets sent down, but if he stays in the NHL he would not get much more than third line ice time.
Roope Hintz – The young Finn has been great this preseason and is breaking me down, as I try not to get too overhyped about a player in preseason. Hintz has produced well in almost all situations he has been put in so far. He may be a dark horse for the second line centre spot, with Spezza declining and Hanzal spending more time on IR than on the ice.
Dennis Cholowski – On a crappy defense, Cholowski has been a bright spot for the Red Wings. If he can play in the season he should see #1PP time until Mike Green returns from his virus-related injury. After that expect him to play on the #2PP.
Evan Bouchard – I think Bouchard should be returned to the minors and that playing him this season would hurt his development. I could be 100% wrong as Bouchard is a great player I just feel he should get more time to develop as the Oilers defense is not that great.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – On a team that plays a winger that they traded a centre for at centre, it only makes sense that they would keep the third overall pick in the lineup for at least nine games. No one on Montreal will score often this season, so it is not a huge dark horse pick but he could surprise with 30+ points if he sticks around all season.
New Jersey Devils
Ty Smith – The Devils do not have a very good set of defenseman, and Hynes’ reluctance to use Severson plays in to this as well but that is a different story, and Smith has looked great so far in the preseason. It would still be better for his development to play another year in the WHL but nine games at least are not out of the question.
Joey Anderson – Anderson just impresses and produces at whatever level he plays, it is no surprise he is still sticking around. He will likely stay in the bottom six if he stays in the NHL for the season.
St. Louis Blues
Sammy Blais vs Jordan Kyrou vs Robert Thomas – It appears as though all three could make it to the opening night roster, with Fabbri injured and the Blues trading or waiving three other players with one-way deals. I believe one of the players always had a good chance to make the team, and as of this moment I would choose Blais as he has performed the best to me. The Blues will either have to give away or waive players if they want to play all three rookies, and NHL team hate giving anything away for free.
Still in the end I feel the Blues send both Thomas and Kyrou back to junior as the team is too full with 13 one-way contracts already.
Erik Brannstrom – Brannstrom has looked great for Vegas in the preseason, but now Theodore has signed and that will take a chunk out of his hopes for making the team this season. He still has a chance to make the team but with Theodore and Miller ahead, Brannstrom may not be given a lot of powerplay opportunity.
Next week I will reveal my Calder picks as teams will be finalized!
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