A great deal has occurred in the month since the last Mailbag. Prospects have blossomed into full-time NHLers. Others have faded and been sent to the minors. Junior players are hitting new heights – or slagging down low. We’re starting to see measurable results that can be chalked up as more than just streaks.
Let’s not waste any more time, and get down to brass tacks.
Question: “What are your thoughts on Yamamoto and Puljarjvi going forward with the new coach in EDM and the demotion and promotions between the AHL and NHL. Is Edmonton the prospect graveyard to Philadelphia’s goalie graveyard of the past”
Answer: It’s difficult to continue to share hope for Oilers’ players not named Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl these days. The organization is a train wreck at the top and clearly brought in Ken Hitchcock to turn things around quickly. He’s not the type of coach who ages well with a group – especially a young group.
That said, I still believe in the upsides of both Yamamoto and Puljujarvi. JP has had a difficult path thus far. He likely should’ve been in the American League for much of the last two seasons, but that’s in the past now. His quick stint there last week was fruitful, but his return has seen him plastered in the bottom six – not exactly a primo spot.
I consider Puljujarvi a power forward. Those type of players will often take longer than many expect to hit their full potential. At 20 years old, his potential remains substantial.
Meanwhile, Yamamoto is a highly skilled player who can skate miles. He brings electrifying ability and fits the model of increasing the Oilers’ overall team speed. However, he is not a traditional Hitch-type of guy. Here’s hoping that when he’s ready to come back up, that he is deployed in an appropriate manner. If not, let him earn his stripes in the AHL for the duration.
Deployment is king for all fantasy players, but especially youngsters who are still figuring out even-strength action. Both of these guys need a spot in the top six to produce. If they get it, I believe they have upside. If they don’t, they won’t.
Puljujarvi is closer at this moment, but Yamamoto possesses the higher pure fantasy ceiling.
Question: “Can you dive into Dylan Strome? In a dynasty league, how long do we give him? Is he turning it on? Doing enough to progress to at least a 2C/top PP guy eventually?”
Answer: Strome will receive some new life in Chicago – two points in his debut was a nice start. It’ll be a new beginning for a kid who has experienced almost exclusively success in his life up until his failure to transition quickly and successfully to the NHL.
The possibility of reuniting junior linemates, Alex DeBrincat and Strome is palpable. Those two clicked in an insane way with Erie back in the day. Strome was dishing the puck to DeBrincat for the majority of his 167 career OHL goals.
On Tuesday evening, Strome lined up with DeBrincat and Patrick Kane on what should be considered the top line. That’s a home fantasy owners can get behind.
While the youngest Strome may never gain enough speed to become a threat from all over the ice, his vision and offensive ability remain high. If he can sustain serious deployment while being surrounded by high-end talent, the potential is there for him to be a high-end asset.
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