Prospect Ramblings: Open Roster Spots for Prospects – Central Division

Pat Quinn

2020-11-11

MOSCOW, RUSSIA SEPTEMBER 27, 2018: CSKA Moscow’s Kirill Kaprizov (L) and Spartak Moscow’s Robin Hanzl in action in their 2018/19 KHL Regular Season ice hockey match at CSKA Arena. Mikhail Japaridze/TASS (Photo by Mikhail JaparidzeTASS )

 

 

Welcome to the Thursday Prospect Ramblings. This week I am going to go through the contract situations of teams in the Central to see how many openings they have, where they have openings, and what prospect is most likely to take that spot (again, yay for Capfriendly). I am still assuming the rosters are “as is”, and are how the highlighted teams will start the 2020-2021 season.

 

Here was last week’s look at the Pacific Division, and it is pretty hilarious how I though I could do East and West in separate weeks only

 

Also, my #GoodTweet of the week:

 

 

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CENTRAL

 

Chicago Blackhawks

 

Forwards:

  • 11 one-way contracts; Eight $1M or above, three are below $1M, and two UFAs in 2021
    • Dylan Strome will be one-way as he is currently unsigned
    • Brandon Pirri and John Quenneville are one-way contracts but both will likely stay in the AHL
  • Guaranteed Candidates: Kirby Dach and Alexander Nylander; both players were on the roster last season and should stay going forward
  • One or two spots should be open as Zack Smith can be scratched, and it is unknown if Andrew Shaw can even stay in the line up. Additionally, the Blackhawks may not allow Shaw to come back because sometimes the teams need to protect the players
  • Likely Candidates:
    • Matthew Highmore; his contract is one-way in 2021-2022 but he may be up and down all season
    • Pius Suter; The annual overseas signing for the Blackhawks may step right in to the top six
    • Andrei Altybarmakyan; The Hawks were able to bring over one Russian in the KHL but he may spend more time in the AHL as there is not a lot of room up front

 

Defense:

  • Six one-way contracts; Five over $3.2M and one at $725k
  • Nick Seeler is a UFA in 2021 and has the $725k contract
  • Adam Boqvist is on year two of his three-year ELC and is not going anywhere
  • No real open spots but if trades or injuries happen than the next Likely Candidate is Ian Mitchell
  • Dark Horse Candidates: Nicolas Beaudin, Wyatt Kalynuk, and Anton Lindholm (the latter two because they are better suited to play lower in the line up over Mitchell, Beaudin and Boqvist)

 

Goalies:

  • The Hawks are content on letting Malcom Subban, Collin Delia, and Kevin Lankinen battle to get Chicago a lottery pick become the starter, and who knows who will win

 

 

Colorado Avalanche

 

Forwards:

  • 12 one-way contracts; 11 over $1.5M and one under $1M
    • Tyson Jost is at $875k in a one-year “prove it” contract
  • One spot open, and where Colorado is with the line up they will not want to place a rookie on the bottom line so I would expect an UFA signing. The club may plug Jayson Megna and Miikka Salomaki on the bottom line, and both players have two-way contracts
  • Dark Horse Candidates: Martin Kaut, Logan O’Connor, and Shane Bowers
  • Vladislav Kamenev signed until 2022 in the KHL. Hopefully he can stay healthy in Russia and comes back to the NHL

 

Defense:

  • Five one-way contracts; all over $3M
    • Cale Makar is on the last year of his ELC
  • The seventh defenseman spot will also likely be signed as a UFA as the two candidates listed should not be healthy scratches
  • Likely Candidate (as Erik Johnson will be injured, so the Avs will need a player for ~10-30 games): Conor Timmins
  • Dark Horse Candidate: Bowen Byram; There is no reason to rush Byram with the players the Avs have available

 

Goalies:

  • Grubauer and Francouz are locked as the starters
  • IF (likely more when with those two) injuries occur then Adam Werner and Hunter Miska have a shot at a coupe of starts

 

 

Dallas Stars

 

Forwards:

  • 10 one-way contracts; All over $1M
  • Guaranteed Candidates: Joel Kivranta and Justin Dowling
  • One open spot
  • Likely Candidates: Tye Felhaber, Ty Dellandrea, Joel L’Esperance, and Jason Robertson
  • After making the cup finals the Stars may sign a UFA instead of promoting a young player, but thankfully for the Stars the players they can promote are also quite good defensively

 

Defense:

  • Six one-way contracts; Five over $1M and one below $1M
    • Stephen Johns may not return but I hope he does and stays healthy the rest of his career
    • Mark Pysyk may play forward as shown by his time in Florida
  • Miro Heiskanen is on the last year of his ELC
  • One open spot, but that may go to Taylor Fedun who was signed to a two-way contract
  • Likely Candidate: Julius Honka; Re-signed and ready to go

 

Goalies:

  • Bishop and Khudobin are signed for three more years, but Bishop always gets hurt so the likely back-up candidate is: Jake Oettinger

 

 

Minnesota Wild

 

Note: This team looks prone to tank, sell off assets, and not rush the CHL and overseas prospects in 2020-2021. All of those players will be pushed to play in 2021-2022 forward

 

Forwards:

  • 12 one-way contracts; 11 over $1M, and four will be UFAs in 2021
    • The one contract under $1M belongs to Nico Strum who is signed for two seasons
  • Roster spots will open as the season (and off-season) progresses, but as of right now only one spot is open
  • Guaranteed Candidate: Kirill Kaprizov
  • When injuries and trades occur the likely candidates to play are: Gerald Mayhew and Will Bitten
  • There is talk that the Wild will let Marco Rossi play on the roster, but I think they will send him back to the OHL as the team likely wants a lottery pick as they well of the UFAs
  • There will be many more spots available in 2021-2022. Especially for Rossi, Adam Beckman, and Alexander Khovanov will be back from the KHL (he is available to come back whenever the NHL season starts)

 

Defense:

  • Seven one-way contracts; Six are over $2M and one is under $1M
  • The defense is likely set and I doubt there is any reason to rush Calen Addison to the roster, so if an injury occurs the Wild will likely use Matt Bartkowski, Louis Belpedio and Ian McCoshen

 

Goalies:

  • Cam Talbot and Alex Stalock are signed for at least two seasons, so do not expect Kaapo Kahkonen to see a lot of starts in 2020-2021. The goalie KK’s contract is one-way in 2021-2022 so expect a lot of him next season onward

 

 

Nashville Predators

 

Forwards:

  • 10 one-way contracts; Nine $1M and above and one under $1M
  • Two spots are open
  • Likely Candidates: Eeli Tolvanen, Rem Pitlick, Patrick Harper, and Michael McCarron
  • Poile has turned this roster towards grinding over skill and Tolvanen should still make a roster that really needs scoring, but the team may call up bottom-six style players

 

Defense:

 

Goalies:

  • Rinne and Saros are both signed for 2020-2021
  • Likely Candidate: Connor Ingram
  • Ingram may finally get his 1B/1A shot in 2022-2023 as his contract is one-way that year, so they may sign Rinne for an extra season

 

 

St. Louis Blues

 

Forwards:

  • 14 one-way contracts; 12 are $1M and over, and two are under $1M
    • Jacob De La Rose and Mackenzie MacEachern should both stay on the roster as the 13th forward or bottom-line players
    • Alex Steen and Tarasenko are both on IR
  • Robert Thomas is on the last year of his ELC
  • No real spot is open but Jordan Kyrou will be the first call up again as he is still exempt from waivers
  • Dark Horse Candidates (as the roster tends to get injured a lot): Klim Kostin and Hugh McGing

 

Defense:

  • Seven one-way contracts; six are over $1M and one is under $1M
  • Vince Dunn is an RFA
  • No spots open but Andreas Borgman should see some time

 

Goalies:

  • Jordan Binnington is a UFA in 2021
  • Ville Husso has a two-year one-way contract at $750k per year
  • Dark Horse Candidate (if the Blues do not sign a more experienced depth goalie): Jon Gillies

 

 

Winnipeg Jets

 

Forwards:

  • 12 one-way contracts; nine are over $2M and three are under $1M
    • Bryan Little will not play in 2020-2021 and may not return again
  • Jack Roslovic is an RFA
  • No real spots available
  • Dark Horse Candidates:
    • Kristian Vesalainen; Needs a top nine spot, at least next to someone with skill, to succeed/produce for fantasy GMs
    • David Gustafsson; His play to finish the season and in the play-in will put him high up on the Jets list

 

Defense:

  • Eight one-way contracts; five are $1M and above, and three are under $1M
    • Three UFAs in 2021
    • Sami Niku is signed for two-years at $725k per year
  • No real spots available, but due to UFAs and contact amounts there should be at least one spot open eventually
  • Likely Candidate: Ville Heinola

 

Goalies:

  • Connor Hellebuyck is not giving up the crease
  • Two one-way contracts for the back ups: Laurent Brossoit and Eric Comrie
  • Dark Horse Candidate: Mikhail Berdin

 

 

The largest surprise here is how there really are not a lot of spots available in the Central. Every prospect that should make their roster really should make it, as there are no surprises for me. The Central is quite boring right now.

 

 

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Thanks for Reading, follow my twitter: @FHPQuinn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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