Prospect Ramblings: Fantrax Multi Position Prospects – Western Conference

Dave Hall

2020-12-14

Draft season is upon us. 

With news circulating around the NHL’s return, many leagues have begun, or are gearing up for their 2020-21 fantasy drafts. Whether your league is waiting patiently, or not, I would take a bet that you have begun to do some of your own due diligence towards your upcoming gameplans – new players signings, recently drafted players, potential line combinations, and of course, player positions.

In the fantasy world, it is hard to match a better feeling than waking up on a Monday to set your weekly/daily line-ups, only to find that one of your players has been granted an additional position. More times than not, these changes occur before the season, however, in certain circumstances, these changes are awarded mid-season – and it is fantastic. It’s amazing how a simple change in one’s position can drastically boost a player’s draft stock, depending on the league format you use.

Aside from the Connor McDavid’s, Nathan Mackinnon’s, and Auston Matthew’s of fantasy, I always find it interesting how some GMs refuse to target and put very little value on a pure “C”, regardless of their pedigree. While some gun for nothing but the league’s top pivots and think nothing of it.

Let’s take Elias Pettersson, for example. Both Dobber and the NHL.com’s dynasty fantasy rankings have him falling just outside of the top-10, but at least four spots ahead of a comparable player such as Sebastian Aho. Petey, a pure “C”, seems to be the consensus choice in rankings, and yet, in my most recent drafted league, Aho was taken four picks ahead – solely based on his dual position. This continued throughout the draft, as GM’s looked to fill their rosters appropriately and draft accordingly.

Since I just recently endured this process myself and already scoured through the list of Fantrax players, I thought I would save you the time and highlight the prospects who currently own (Fantrax) dual position-ship.

To qualify for this piece, the prospect has to have played less-than 60 (combined) NHL games and can not be over the age of 24. This week, I cover the West.

Of course, it is important to look ahead. There are a number of prospects heading into the league who could very well be moved around in their respected line-ups in order to be squeeze in. Dylan Cozens, for example, currently sits as a pure “C”, yet, there is a strong chance that he is moved to the wing in order to fit – this could initiate a midseason adjustment. There are plenty of examples of this, so make sure to dig appropriately and do your best to forecast the future!

Immediate Impact Players

Cody Glass, C, RW, Golden Knight

Fully healthy, Glass should be ready to take on a significant role increase this season. Glass can move between the wing and up the middle, but it looks like the club has created a comfy spot for him as the clubs second-line center. Glass is a points-only beast, and should provide a solid spike in production for fantasy owners this season. 

Barrett Hayton, C, LW, Coyotes

Barrett Hayton has fully recovered from his shoulder ailment and is ready to take on a (hopeful) increased role with the Coyotes. His inaugural season was awkward – full of irregular minutes, nights in the press-box, and of course, a significant injury. While the stint has not gone quite as planned statically (just four assists through eight matches), Hayton is currently in Finland gaining reps with Ilves (Liiga) in hopes to muster up momentum before heading into his second shot at a rookie campaign. 

Dylan Gambrell, C, RW, Sharks

Gambrell saw his first full season of NHL action last year, but for both him and the club, the year was nothing to write home about it. Although, he was decent in the face-off circle (45.9,%), laid out 40 hits, and provided 29 blocks, all while skating less than 12 minutes a night. He could very well improve on every one of those statistics and perhaps even contest for higher minutes. He is no star, but for deeper formats, is certainly worth a multi-positional look.

Jordan Kyrou, C,RW, Blues

Kyrou should be handed another bottom-six role in the new year. While it’s great to have him in games, it would be nice to see him injected into a line that caters to his playing style a little more. He is a dynamic player, and he’s certainly got the gusto to be a prominent player at the pro level, he’s just lacking the opportunity at the moment. Patience, I suppose.

Nicolas Roy, C, RW, Golden Knights

Roy is one of the players who currently stand in the way of Peyton Krebs receiving a shot in the roster (see below). He fits the bottom-six mold to a tee with his heavy frame and non-stop motor. However, he’s no slouch in the offensive department, either. His hands are slick in tight and he’s got a history of racking up points in both the Junior level and a hint at the AHL. He’s good in the dot, loves to throw his size around, and is a solid complementary player for deeper multi-cat formats. 

Joel Kiviranta, LW, RW, Stars

Game seven hero, Kivitanta, etched his name in the good books during the club’s past playoff run, scoring five goals, including a hat-trick effort and the series-clinching tally to propel them into the West finals. He’s a hits machine and will likely be a shoo-in for bottom-six deployment. Once again, a fun, but deeper valuable asset.

On the Bubble

Peyton Krebs, C, LW, Golden Knights

Vegas’ top-six is spoken for, no doubts about that. They also have a sturdy bottom-six, all of which play the role very well. Yet, Peyton Krebs is an intriguing option for next season. He’s a strong point producer with a terrific motor and tireless worth-ethic. Especially on an extended roster, there is certainly a case for Krebs to fill in a third-line role for the Vegas Knights. They could use some energy and secondary point production on a cheap ELC price tag.

Max Comtois, LW,RW, Ducks

The Ducks are going to have a young line-up this year and boast a large cast of names that can be interchanged in various roles. Comtois holds as good of a chance to earn a role out of camp as any and should warrant a look at some point through the season, regardless. Likely a middle-six candidate, he will provide a nice mix of peripheral benefits to go along with a shot at decent point totals. 

Kristian Vesalainen, LW,RW, Jets

Vesalainen had a decent year in his first official season with the Jets affiliates, Manitoba Moose, posting 30 points in a top-six role. He has looked strong on the powerplay, with half of his 2019-20 goals coming on the man-advantage. His development has had its shaky moments, but overall, he still projects to be a strong middle-six option as early as this year, but more-than-likely next.

Carl Grundstrom, LW, RW, Kings

Following two straight years of brief stints with the Kings, Grundstrom should be a strong candidate to officially challenge for a permanent role among the club’s forward group. He has produced at a sound rate in the American League and sits as one of the more NHL-ready prospects on the left-side. If you are looking to feast on a piece of the LA fantasy pie but missed out on the higher touted names, he is a fine option going forward – especially with dual positions locked in.

Noah Gregor, C, LW, RW, Sharks

Gregor’s pro rookie season was split up the middle between the AHL (25) and NHL (28), mainly due to injuries and a lack of roster depth. With that in mind, and very few additions to the main club (aside from Patrick Marleau and Ryan Donato), you have to consider the two-way forward a possibility for regular deployment in 2020-21. He was an effective producer at the Junior level but still needs some tinkering as he adjusts to the pro ranks. He projects to be a contending middle-six player.

Klim Kostin, C,LW, Blues

Despite a decent year in the AHL in 2019-20 with 40 points, Kostin has a long way to go before he is to be considered a mainstay at the NHL level. He is currently playing for Omsk (KHL) but is surprisingly struggling with just three points in 20 games. He continues to hold top-six upside, but owners should expect him to see another developmental year to refine some things. He is slowly getting there.

Yakov Trenin, C, LW, Predators

Trenin finally squeezed his way onto an NHL lineup last season, and there is a very good chance that we see that again this year. Albeit in a sheltered role. His point totals as a pro have not been extravagant, by any means. Yet, he seems to be progressing into his role quite nicely, utilizing his solid frame and strong offensive instincts. He will be battling it out for a bottom-six role, however, if successful, there is no reason to believe he couldn’t see stints somewhere within the middle of the line-up. 

Jansen Harkins, C, LW, Jets

Harkins is a great hockey story. In junior, he was a prolific producer, leading the Prince Goerge Cougars in all-time points with 242 points over four years. He struggled to translate that success to the pro’s and found himself in the basement (ECHL) following a subpar stint in the AHL. From there, he managed to crawl his way back up, and last year, made both his regular season and playoff NHL debuts. He is likely to remain in a bottom-six role but should add some peripherals down the road for all of you deep league formats.

Joachim Blichfeld, LW, RW, Sharks

He had a one-off 110-plus point campaign with the Portland Winterhawks two years ago and managed to translate that well in his AHL rookie debut, producing 16 goals and  32 points with the Barracuda last year. He needs to work on his play in the defensive zone, but his strong stats could warrant a look out of camp, considering their lack of depth.

2020 Draftees

Jacob Perreault, C, RW, Ducks

Drafted late in the first round, Jacob Perrault carries a deadly shot and a high upside for scoring goals. He joins a progressive Ducks lineup and should be a solid option for points league formats. Being a dual positional prospect puts a nice exclamation mark on an already strong prospect.

Tristen Robins, C, RW, Sharks

By no means elite, but good in most areas. He comes in as a potential middle-six option with peripheral benefits.

Artyom Galimov, C, LW, Ducks

Before falling to an injury, Galimov was enjoying respectable numbers as a 21-year-old sophomore with Ak Bars Kazan (KHL). Being an undrafted, overaged skater, the Ducks took a chance and will look for him to eventually take his talents to California. He has good vision and a strong sense of seeing the play ahead of him. He projects to be a middle-six option.

Deeper Options

Adam Beckman, C, LW, Wild

Beckman has been a WHL killer and projects to be a top-nine talent on an up-and-coming Wild team. However, he will likely need a few years to translate to the pro-level. He’s one of my personal favorites among the Junior ranks.

Matthew Highmore, C, LW, RW, Blackhawks

Found his way onto the Blackhawks lineup last season. He played well but should be considered a bubble player.

Raphael Lavoie, C, RW, Oilers

Big frame, with a history of producing sound point totals at the Junior level. He will need a few years of development before making his splash but has top-six long-term upside.

Jonathan Dahlen, C, LW, Sharks

Currently dominating the Allsvenskan league, producing a stellar 112 points over 66 matches. Could he return to North American and keep it up? He struggled the first time, but everyone deserves a second chance. Keep an eye out should he make the move back to San Jose.

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Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @hal1289 for future prospect talk.

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