Prospect Ramblings – Gusev signs, Devils lines, Poehling or Suzuki, and Panthers rookies

Pat Quinn




Welcome back to the Thursday ramblings. I only have a couple of topics to go over so let us just get right in to it….. But first my #GoodTweet of the week:


{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Reminder GAA is more of a team stat than an individual goalie stat <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Pat Quinn (not that one) (@FHPQuinn) <a href=””>July 31, 2019</a></blockquote>{/source}





The Devils traded with the Golden Knights for arguably the best player outside of the NHL and all it cost was a second in 2020 and a third in 2021. That player, as everyone knows by now, is Nikita Gusev. Now I am high on Nikita Gusev as shown by my 2019 ranking of him in the DobberProspects report / my personal ranking:


{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Just reminding everyone that I had Gusev as my #3 top prospect (with no NHL games) in the <a href=””>@DobberProspects</a> fantasy guide for a reason.</p>&mdash; Pat Quinn (not that one) (@FHPQuinn) <a href=””>July 29, 2019</a></blockquote>{/source}


I previously ranked him sixth in 2018 behind Svechnikov, Dahlin, Kaprizov (who I moved down to fifth in 2019 because he is stagnating slightly in the KHL), Zadina and Petterson. I also ranked him second in 2017 (behind Kaprizov) and seventh in 2016.


Gusev may not be the biggest or the fastest player but he is a sublime passer, great puck-handler, and can quarterback a powerplay on the half-wall. Once the Devils paid the low price to obtain him they signed him to a two-year deal totalling $4.5 million per season, a perfect number for a top-six role. Gusev should score around 0.74 points per game, which is my safe way of projecting 60+ points IF he stays healthy and gets 1PP time. Just keep in mind it will likely take Gusev a few games to get up to speed with the NHL.





Now what will the Devils lines look like now, well let me give MY optimal roster and then wat I think Hynes will do:


My optimal EV lines:



Wood-Zacha- Simmonds



What I think Hynes will do at EV:




Wood-Zacha- Hayden/Rooney


People thinking New Jersey will start Hughes on the wing obviously do not remember Hischer’s first season where he played centre. Hynes is not afraid to play rookies at centre, but he is afraid to give them prime minutes over veteran players, which is why I believe his 1PP will look like:


Hall   Zajac    Palmieri



Leaving Hughes, Gusev, Hischer, and one of Bratt, Zacha, and Wood to fight for the final forward spot.


As Hynes loves a big player in front, as evident by the Devils playing Boyle as the net front on the 1PP when the team was still healthy. He also likes playing Palmieri and Hall on their off-wings which is odd but perhaps the players prefer it. Now my optimal powerplays would be:




Gusev               Hall

Palmieri           Subban




Zacha     Hughes      Bratt




Will I be right, who knows. All I do know is that I am very happy to watch my the Devils this season, as even when if Hall gets hurt the Devils will have the depth to still be dangerous.





Now the Montreal Canadiens have 14 forwards signed to one-way deals (one being Hudon who will likely hit waivers) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi on a two-way deal poised to make the teams’ roster in 2019-2020, the problem with that is Ryan Poehling and Nick Suzuki are both ready to play in the NHL. Now that is a good problem to have but where can they make it.


Dale Weise will again be sent to the AHL, so that knocks the roster down to 13 and honestly it is tough to tell who Montreal would move to make room for one or both of the players. It would make sense for Montreal would do that considering the problems developing prospects within the teams’ AHL squad, and the noted trouble with that team from the previous coaching staff.


In a situation of who I would rather have between Poehling or Suzuki or Suzuki, I would choose Suzuki. My Suzuki choice is the best option for fantasy as Suzuki has the higher ceiling, but Poehling will likely be the better real world hockey player though which leads me to believe Poehling would make the team ahead of Suzuki. Poehling is also the more physically mature of the two players and I believe he will produce better in the short run, but I would give Suzuki the nod long-term. This is all to say that Montreal should make room for both of these players as they are better than all players in the bottom six of Montreal’s roster.





I was looking at Florida’s roster and I wondered where Owen Tippett, Henrik Borgstrom and Jayce Hawryluk would fit in to that roster. I believe Aleksi Heponiemi will spend another year overseas or a majority of it in the AHL. I believe everyone can agree the top six for Florida will feature Barkov, Huberdeau, Hoffman, Dadonov, and Trochek leaving an opening on line two. That spot will likely be a battle between Brett Connolly, Frank Vatrano and Denis Malgin (who is currently an RFA), with the other two comprising like three. Borgstrom should centre line three and with that we have the top nine locked up. The bottom line should feature Colton Sceviour and Noel Acciari, leaving Hawryluk and Tippett to fight out for a bottom/third line role. The inside track should go to Hawryluk but the Panthers really need to find room for Tippett as he is NHL ready, but a half season in the AHL is fine.


My (likely incorrect) guess on the Panthers lines:







How I would set them because I know way more than Queneville (joking of course, but my arm-chair coaching style would set them up as):




Connolly-Acciari- Vatrano




Feel free to take a crack at Florida’s roster in the comments but it should be a roster filled with scoring at the top, as Queneville rides his starters, and distribution throughout the lower ranks as the rest should get similar ice time.



Thanks for reading, follow my twitter: @FHPQuinn





Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Garin Bjorklund 5.5 5.5
Hunter Shepard 8.0 4.0
Mitchell Gibson 7.0 5.5
Clay Stevenson 8.0 7.0
Stepan Gorbunov 4.0 4.5
Matvei Shuravin 5.0 6.5
Justin Poirier 8.0 6.0
Noel Fransen 7.0 5.0
Alexander Daryin 5.0 2.0
Carson Bantle 4.0 3.5