Prospect Ramblings: First NHL goals from players worth watching

Hayden Soboleski






I didn’t include First NHL Goals in my ramblings last week, so we get a double dose today! So much young talent that just keeps on giving. Since we have so many names on the list this week, I’m going to ramble a little bit more on each player and their immediate fantasy future.


Big centerman Nicolas Roy (who I listed in my under-owned prospects list a few weeks ago, just sayin’), uses his size and speed to score a beauty while breaking through defense. I’m a fan of Roy, and the fact that Vegas chose him as the prospect to trade Haula for bodes well for his status in the organization. That being said, this goal is his only point in 3 games, and he hasn’t surpassed the 10-minute mark of TOI in any of those contests. Tuch’s week-to-week status means that Roy should stay in the lineup for a while, so you might see okay SOG and hit numbers in the short term, but I’m not sure I would bet on much more than that once Tuch returns. 


When Adam Fox joins the rush and is on the hunt, he knows where to go. Great instincts. After a quiet start that left both Rangers fans and fantasy owners concerned, Fox has turned it on recently, quietly putting up 4 points in 5 games since this first goal. Not only that, but he cracked the 20-minute TOI mark for the first time as well, and has looked much more comfortable on the ice than in October. Don’t expect a major breakout, but I think Fox is a sneaky bet to provide consistent points, SOG, and block numbers fo the rest of the season.


Looking decent in his NHL time so far, Joel Farabee follows the play and reaps the rewards from a rebound. Spending the majority of one’s time with Claude Giroux is always a good thing for rookies in fantasy hockey, so Farabee is a risk worth taking in many leagues for that point alone. His shooting rate is fantastic, but he doesn’t provide many other peripherals so if he falls off the top line and powerplay unit, don’t expect any other value. 


I had to watch the slow-mo to see the crazy bounce Henri Jorkiharju got for his first, but you gotta be good to be lucky. Many of us thought that the return of Brandon Montour might signal a decrease in ice time for the rookie, but that hasn’t been the case which is a very good sign. His 6 points in 17 games is a pace for roughly 30 over a full season, and he’s done that so far without any powerplay time (although that’s unlikely to change, it means that his scoring is reasonably sustainable). He provides modest multi-category value in SOG, PIM, hits, and blocks, so in one-year leagues he’s at least mildly useful at all times. In long-term leagues, despite his glass ceiling with Dahlin around, I think Jokiharju’s vital signs are very good.


Adam Boqvist with an absolute ripper over the shoulder for his first, wasting no time after being called up. Chicago has looked so bad and line-shuffle so often that it’s hard to predict a short-term future for Boqvist. 1 point in 4 games is nothing to write home about, and if I had to gamble I’d say he heads back to Rockford soon and is not fantasy relevant until 2020-21. If Chicago decides to turn this into a true “tryout” season for the likes of Boqvist, Dach, Nylander, Kubalik and potentially others, then maybe his 2 minutes of powerplay TOI is more sustainable than it deserves to be, and he kicks you a few more SOG and points. Doubtful to be enough to matter this year though.


An incredible story you might have seen on TSN – Cole Bardreau has had a long career in the minors after overcoming serious injuries, and his first NHL tally comes on a penalty shot. Spoiler alert, he’s already been returned to the minors. At 26 years old and a career-high of 30 points in the AHL, you don’t need my fantasy advice here. Just enjoy the awesome story of a guy sticking to his passion and earning a beauty of a first NHL goal.


Emil Bemstrom has all the time in the world to snipe one, but settles for a lucky bank off his own rebound. Such is scoring in the NHL. After leading the SHL in goals last year, Bemstrom’s introduction the the Blue Jackets has been disappointingly slow. He’s averaging just over 10 minutes per night, and that isn’t trending up. His shooting percentage is due to increase, but even then he is unlikely to provide you with any consistent production unless he gets off the 4th line. The long-term potential is still very much there, but he isn’t near the top of my list for pickups to help later this campaign.


John Marino exits the penalty box with just enough time to break away for a memorable first. A lesser-known prospect before this season, Marino has never lit up scoresheets. He’s a reliable defender that sat just under 0.5 points-per-game in the NCAA who’s NHL upside is not related to his scoring at all. That’s a long and polite way of saying he should’t be considered fantasy-worthy unless a) you desperately need an average hit/block/SOG producer or b) he one day earns so many minutes that he scores over 20 points just by being on the ice so much.


Once in a while, a basic shot just finds its way into the net. Jacob Larsson won’t complain. I dont have much to say here that I didn’t already just write about Marino. He’s not here for the points, and he isn’t going to become an important own in most leagues. He’s still worked his ass off on two continents to become a reliable NHL defenseman, which makes it pretty damn cool to see him finally score an NHL goal.


Thank you tot he YouTube channel First NHL Goals for having footage on many of these players that aren’t hyped up enough for the Sportsnet, TSN, or other major feeds to publish!


Hayden Soboleski








Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Kevin He 5.0 4.5
Reece Newkirk 6.5 6.0
Alex Jefferies 5.5 4.0
Ruslan Iskhakov 6.5 5.0
Otto Koivula 6.5 7.0
Jaydon Dureau 2.0 1.5
McKade Webster 2.5 1.5
Lucas Edmonds 5.0 4.0
Mikhail Shalagin 4.5 2.5
Isaac Howard 8.5 8.0