Welcome back to Tuesday’s Prospect Ramblings.
I am not sure how badly Covid has affected your team this year. For me, I was cut down to five skaters for an entire week (in my main league). If you can imagine, I lost that week. By a lot.
If you are or have been in a similar boat, there is a high chance that you had to scour through your respective waiver wire in hopes to find some fillers to provide a last-minute hit, block, shot, or even better, a point. Well, look no further. Here is a list of prospects that are currently sitting under the 25% owned threshold.
Of course, I have only added players who will either see NHL this season or have gone off to strong starts in the AHL and may deserve a promotion in the near future.
Juho Lammikko, C, Panthers
If you are already out of the running in your league and want to add a player purely for name value – Juho Lammikko is your guy. Overall, his 2020 statistics do not jump out, which certainly represents his 1% own rate. Yet, he has made a case for himself in the past as a producer and has suddenly picked things up in recent matches, with two goals over his previous four.
For deep ( and I mean deep) leagues, he is good for a few peripheral statistics and puts up fair numbers in the face-off circle (43.9%). If you happen to find yourself down by a small margin on a Sunday, the 25-year-old Finn may help you out in a pinch – just don’t bank of heavy numbers, but be happily surprised if he puts you over your opponent.
Oskari Laaksonen, D, Sabres
I have raved about Oskari often in the past. With the AHL season finally underway, the 21-year-old has officially hit American soil and has arrived as advertised. He currently sits second on the American Rochesters with five points – all assists – and is running at a point-per-game clip.
Of course, as a younger piece making the transfer, there is a chance that he sticks in the minors for the season. Yet, with the well-known struggles going on in Buffalo, combined with the unknown timeline for both Rasmus Ristolainen and now Jake McCabe, there could be a promotion on the horizon. Should he make the jump, I would not expect him to blow up the scoresheet, rather, serve as a solid two-way defender with NHL-ready skating abilities who could provide the occasional assist.
He is still very raw, and of course inexperienced, so you run the risk of him not panning out. But if you have the room and or patience to stow him away, I say go for it.
Eric Robinson, LW, Blue Jackets
He went from “NHL maybe” to “NHL regular” all in a quick window of time, thanks to a string of injuries during the 2019-20 campaign. If you can remember that far out (it feels like ages ago), the Blue Jackets experienced a tough go with regards to the injury department, which resulted in a mass promotion run. While many received their chance, Robinson’s combination of tremendous speed, heavy frame, and an everlasting motor kept him on the roster, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Fast forward to today, and the “bottom-six” grinder sits with seven points on the year (3G + 4A), 32 hits, and an impressive 34 shots on net – all in a cheap, manageable fantasy package. Of course, he is not utilized in many offensive scenarios – which makes his offensive totals even more impressive – but as we know, John Tortorella enjoys gratifying those who show up to play, and he does every game.
I thoroughly believe in this pick-up and in deeper formats, he provides a solid dose of secondary benefits.
Eetu Luostarinen, C, Panthers
Perhaps folks have finally caught on that he is NHL ready. It felt as though Eetu Luostarinen had slid under the radar for some time now, despite his strong numbers over the past few seasons. Well, he’s now carried that success into the top league and has had a strong coming-out party – I mean, considering his bottom-six deployment.
Yes, he is without a doubt a depth piece, who carries middle-six upside, but what more do you want from an under 25% owned list. He’s a responsible, two-way player with an aptitude to produce at a 20-40 point pace – 20 being likely, 40 being upside. Over the past three seasons, his output has been just fine:
At this point, it’s safe to say that he is a lock to remain with the club, and owners can sit back and enjoy his 19 hits, 14 blocks, and 49.5 face-off percentage and counting.
Morgan Geekie, C, Hurricanes
Morgan Geekie enjoyed an entire (extended) summer as the NHL’s all-time leader in points-per-game, and I sure hope he took every opportunity to gloat in all its glory. I mean, when you are one name above the “Great One”, you better be taking every inch and run with it, because there was no way it was going to last long. And sure enough, it did not. Heading into his first official “rookie” season, he struggled out the gate, going pointless through nine games. He is currently back down in the minors on a “figure it out” stint.
He has clearly taken the demotion personally, as he has exploded on the scene and leads the AHL in point-per-game with 2.50, after a five-point double-header. If you are an owner who likes to buy stock on consolidation red days, here is your opportunity. Scoop him up while he’s low.
Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, Islanders
I’ll be honest with you, I still cannot decide where I stand with Wahlstrom. I remain skeptical towards his skating ability and ultimately, his ability to fully translate into the NHL. However, he is a scorer at heart with perhaps the highest offensive upside on this list and looks to be playing with more and more confidence with each game. With that in mind, I will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.
If he is able to take his game to the next level, one would have to think that this is the bottom for him. He currently sits with just three points, 24 shots, and a less-than-stellar 37.5 IPP. Invest, without a doubt, but I am keeping a short leash…
Jack Studnicka, C, Bruins
Studnicka was living the rookie dream to kickstart his NHL career. Not only did he earn a spot in Boston’s lineup out of camp, but was skating alongside some pretty high profiled names, i.e Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron – have you heard of them? Coming off of a dominant AHL rookie season, where he posted 49 points, there was some expectation that he’d add some immediate secondary production. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been much of a storybook start and he now finds himself on the fringe of the lineup with just two points through nine games.
The skill is obviously there, and I am certainly taking a flyer on him turning things around. I mean, they don’t have many options aside from him anyway.
Samuel Bolduc, D, Islanders
Bolduc and Oskari Laaksonen are my two ‘hot rookie takes”, while both are having standout starts. At 20, he’s begun his pro career with two goals and five points for the Sound Tigers, which is right on brand. If I am being honest, he is likely a long shot from making the jump this year, but I wanted to place the bug in your ear now. He is a defender built for 2021 and has a promising future ahead of him – keep a close eye.
Andrew Peeke, D, Blue Jackets
If you follow any of my work, you know that I have been on an Andrew Peeke hype tour, pouring out my love for his game through many columns and tweets.
Follwoing a strong three year stint with the Unnivesity of Notre Dame, Peeke turned pro last season, and instantly made a difference at the AHL level. That success earned him a midseason call up to the Jackets, and has been a fringe defender ever since. If you ask me, his sound two-way style is worthy of NHL deployment and he has backed that up with his play thus far.
The great thing about his game is his versatility and ability to contribute in all areas of the game. He can produce points, he can bring the boom, he’s not afraid to get in front of shots, and can cover the team on both special teams units. Pick him up now, and feel very good about it.
Thanks for checking in this week. I hope that a few of these names can bring you some success in a Sunday pinch.
Follow me on Twitter @hall1289 for more prospect updates.