Prospect Mailbag: Patrick, Zadina, Necas, Woo & Kravtsov for Calder? (January 2019)

Cam Robinson



Question: “Id love a deep dive on Nolan Patrick. Has been invisible at times this season, but hot lately. Another second-half heat up?”


Answer: It hasn’t exactly been the season many hoped for from the 2017 second overall selection. Patrick’s 17 points in 41 games put him on an identical pace to his rookie performance from a season ago, but there remains hope for improvement.


Philly began their All-Star break early and that’s allowed Nolan Patrick to go out with something of a bang. After skating in nine games without a point amongst a stretch of just two points in 24 games, the 20-year-old erupted for two goals and two assists against the Devils on Jan. 12. He followed that up by popping two more goals a week later versus Montreal before heading to the beach.


As a rookie, Patrick appeared to be trending in the right direction when he produced 17 of his 30 points in the final 24 contests. Six of which came on the man-advantage. That’s just shy of a 60-point pace.


Despite seeing a slight increase in power-play deployment in his second season, he has failed to record a point on the man-advantage. Toss him even three or four PPPs and all of a sudden, the situation doesn’t look so bleak.


We can get the ladder out and debate the height of his ceiling all day. I’ve long seen a player who should develop into a sturdy second line pivot, but one who doesn’t have the chops to be an elite producer. Others see more.


But the issue with Patrick this season is clear: he’s been shunned from any exposure to Claude Giroux – the only bright spot amongst a sea of drab colours. The Flyers have been woefully inept at creating and finishing plays while Giroux is on the bench.


I’d still hold on in keeper leagues; mostly because it’s too soon to give up, and his value is so low that it wouldn’t be worthwhile now anyways.



Question: “Do you expect Vitali Kravtsov to be a regular for NYR next season? ROY candidate?”


Answer: I do indeed. I believe there’s a decent chance that he crosses this spring after the KHL season ends and gets into some NHL games to conclude 2018-19. Next year he should be a full-time member and if reason wins out, he should become best friends with Filip Chytil.


He’ll be on the pre-season short list for potential Calder candidates. We’ll see how he transitions and how his deployment shakes out. The latter factor being almost everything for a first-year player to post tangible results.



Question: “I’d love a bit of insight on who has the higher upside between Maxime Comtois, Drake Batherson or Jonathan Dahlen? I need to open spot in my keeper league pts only.”


Answer: For points only, I’ll lean Batherson here. Despite being drafted furthest down the board, he’s historically shown a higher ability to produce.



Question: “Both drafted 6OA, Both Czech, both owned by franchisees who were good in the 90s and have the colour red, both names start with Z AND end with A. Do you think that Zadina’s struggles could send him down a similar road that Zacha is undergoing in terms of fantasy value?”


Answer: An interesting question. However, I do not see Filip Zadina following a similar path to Pavel Zacha. Throughout Zacha’s draft-eligible campaign, I and others questioned the main-stream scouting industry’s love affair with him. He was a heavy pivot who displayed okay offensive upside. But his footspeed was an issue, as were his hands and IQ.


Frankly, I always saw a middle six talent. A potentially useful and matchup player, but not one destined for large totals.


Conversely, Zadina has always been an electrifying finisher. Not cracking the Red Wings’ lineup out of camp, coupled with his muted play at the most recent WJC has dampened his hype, but that likely means it’s a good time to buy on him.


I believe he’ll be an impactful producer in the NHL.



Question: “How many defenders do you see going in the first round of the 2019 entry draft?


Answer: Well, I don’t do mock drafts and once you get out of the top 15 or so, it’s a crapshoot, but I’ll tell you how many I have going on my board. And it’s 10.


The 2018 draft had a whopping 14. 2016 and 2017 had nine, and the 2015 class saw eight blueliners hear their name called on day one.



Question: “What’s your outlook on Jett Woo? His numbers are looking good for d+1…what do you see him as in the NHL?”


Answer: Woo has been performing very well this season. He began his draft-eligible campaign in a similar manner and was a consensus first-rounder for the first half. An injury and some slow second-half play contributed to his sliding to round two.


Woo brings a throwback-style to the rink each night. He can skate, shoot, hit (like a truck) and has decent vision. I believe his trajectory is putting him on a path to be an impactful second pairing player who can contribute on special teams’ units.


The caveat being that he’s 18 and developmental arcs are seldom linear. We’ll want to continue to see him take steps forward.



Question: “Would L.A. be tempted to graduate both JAD and Rasmus Kupari next year as they are in dire need for speed? Does that jump these guys value knowing their skill set is so critical to the team?”


Answer: It would add a great deal of young talent to an aged roster in desperate need of it. Kupari could cross over and play in the American League as he’s not within the CHL-NHL agreement’s reach. Jaret Anderson-Dolan, on the other hand, isn’t.


It’ll either be the NHL or WHL for JAD. He cracked the roster to start this season, so he should be well positioned to make it next year. Kupari could stick around in Finland for another season, cross and play in the AHL, or make the big squad.


I imagine there’s a bit of developing left for both of these players, but I think there’s a good chance we see one of them in a Kings’ uniform next season. Unlikely, but not impossible to see both.



Question: “Who were your favourite picks in the last few drafts that first appeared “off the board”? Were you right or wrong?


Answer: The one that really comes to mind is Henrik Borgstrom back in 2016. It’s so rare to see an overaged player crack the first-round, but when it does occur, usually it’s expected.


When the Panthers stepped up and selected him 23rd overall, there was an audible gasp. Many people hadn’t even heard of this guy. Fortunately, I was just getting into the Jr A. SM-liiga that season and watched him destroy that league closely.



Question: “What do you expect from Andrei Svechnikov? His OHL career falls right above Gabe Landeskog but below Steven Stamkos and he’s had some good ‘moments’ in the NHL. Hard to tell what to expect from him in the future.”


Answer: I’ve been fairly steadfast in my assessment of Svechnikov. I see Vladimir Tarasenko with more edge. He has devastating one-shot finishing ability but also loves to fight into the dirty areas and score the greasy ones.


His performance this season has been good, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. He has 40-plus goal upside and if he finds a long-standing match with Sebastian Aho, the two could produce some serious numbers together.



Question: “At this point, who to keep in pts only between Martin Necas and Nick Suzuki? Do you see Suzuki full-time next year ?”


Answer: I prefer Martin Necas. He’s been very strong in the AHL this season and should be a full-timer next year. Meanwhile, I believe Suzuki likely needs some AHL seasoning. He could crack the Habs’ lineup as a bottom six winger, but that doesn’t appear to be the best developmental spot.


He’s a young player for his class and should be afforded a smidge more developmental time.



Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson






Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Tristan Luneau 7.5 8.0
Zachary Nehring 4.5 5.0
Jacob Julien 5.5 5.0
Antti Tuomisto 4.5 6.0
Aku Räty 5.8 5.0
Miko Matikka 6.5 6.5
Nathan Smith 6.2 6.0
Jan Jenik 7.2 6.5
Ilya Fedotov 6.0 3.0
Noel Nordh 6.5 7.0