Welcome back to the Thursday prospect ramblings and March the fourth be with you (that is the correct lingo right?). this week I am quickly going to discuss prospects that are currently hot or cold in either the NHL or outside of it.
I am not going to highlight Kaprizov and Stutzle’s highs versus Lafreniere’s lows to the season. KK has looked great every game, Stutzle has turned it on as of late (at least in terms of points), and while Lafreniere still has not broken out as much as we all hope, yet he is looking much more comfortable.
But first my #GoodTweet of the week:
Ilya Sorokin, G – NYI
Two shutouts in his last two starts, after three losses where his save percentage averaged 0.868. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, the initial losses appear to be enough to just make him the backup when split starting was a real possibility. Owners of Sorokin must now wait for a Varlamov injury or cold streak so Sorokin can get some games, as Trotz rarely, if ever, trusts rookies for consistent ice time. A third shutout in a row, or a strong performance in net, would have to earn him more starts one would hope.
Zayde Wisdom, C – PHI
Eight points in his last five AHL games, including some highlight reel goals, have rocketed Wisdom up many fantasy GMs radars, especially as the fourth-round pick impresses at 18 in the AHL for Leigh Valley.
Hendrix Lapierre, C – WSH
Lapierre’s Chicoutimi team was held out of play due to COVID for a majority of the season, but they are smack in the middle of total games played. His team has played 20 games while he has only played 12, that is unfortunately what happens when you are cut from Canada’s World Junior team in a COVID year and are held out a couple of games. Since his season started back up in 2021 Lapierre has 13 points in his last seven games as he is getting right back on track to his productive ways.
Jake Bean, D – CAR
Since February 15, Bean has been a staple in the Hurricanes line up. Additionally, he has seven points in those 10 games while averaging around 14 and a half minutes per game. The Carolina blueline is still rather jampacked but Bean is forcing his way on to the roster, so they may be forced to move a player out soon. It is still early in Bean’s career though as he does have some defensive warts.
Seth Jarvis, RW – CAR
Well, it is sure dumb to force players too good for the CHL back to the CHL, but that is the life an NHL prospect can lead because of the silly CHL-NHL agreement. Jarvis is currently leading the AHL in scoring with 11 points in nine games, but now he is forced to head back to the WHL as that season begins soon. There go the chances of him getting called up to the NHL this season.
Joachim Blichfeld, RW – SJ
In six games to start the season for the San Jose Barracuda, Blichfeld carried over his strong play but it was morphed with steroids as he had nine points in those five of the six games, including six goals. He has done enough so far to earn a call up to the main Sharks roster, but unfortunately he will start today (or yesterday depending when you read this) on the fourth line. Good luck producing kid! If he can manage move up the roster he could be a good long term add in fantasy leagues.
Honourable Mentions: Rasmus Kupari (LA), Taro Hirose (DET), Trey Fix-Wolansky (CBJ), and Jack Dugan (VGK)
Philipp Kurashev, C/RW – CHI
Kurashev has been ice cold over his last five games. This was after hitting a point approximately every two games. His main issue is that he really does not shoot enough as he has just 27 shots over his 22 games, and during his recent slide he has only five shots in those five games, while being shut out in two. He only averages around 12 minutes of ice time per game, so he really needs to pull the trigger more if he hopes to stay in the lineup.
Mikko Lehtonen, D – TOR
This one has baffled me 100%. I thought this would be a great signing for the Leafs as the line up they posses really could use another puck mover and PP QB on the back end. Boy was I wrong, and this fit has not looked great at all. Lehtonen appears to just not know how to play NHL defense well, now is that on him or did he just go to a team where he has not had enough time to adapt. I think it is more of column B as Lehtonen looks a lot like he could have used a training camp with exhibition games. He also looks like he needs AHL time and the Leafs obviously do not want to risk him leaving back to Europe. Additionally, the Leafs have enough good defensemen right now that Lehtonen cannot get a foothold going.
Gabriel Vilardi, C – LA
Nine points in 20 games, including five points in his last eight games, is not normal grounds for a “cold” player, but I have just found him invisible when he is playing right now. I’ll admit to not watching all Kings games of course, yet I have barely heard him mentioned when I have. He will of course grow to be more of a top six NHLer, I just hope the injuries have not taken too much out of his ceiling.
Barrett Hayton, C/LW – ARI
I am constantly forgetting that Hayton was in the NHL to start the year. In the middle of February, Hayton was sent down to the AHL to get more consistent ice time which is good for him. The problem now is hat in his four games so far he has zero points and only one shot. Hayton’s biggest weapon is his one-timer shot but he usually prefers to be a playmaker. It is a little concerning that he has not been producing since the end of the 2018-2019 season, but injuries have sure helped that. He is currently a buy low yet it is tough to judge when the game will just click for him and he will start producing.
Akil Thomas, C – LA
The whole Ontario Reign team are actually playing quite below expectations for the players they have, minus Kupari, but that can happen with young AHL teams. I could single out many of the players but I wanted to see more for Thomas when I watched a few games. Just two goals in 10 games are below expectations for him, even if Thomas does project as a bottom six NHL player. His 26 shots in those 10 games are a great sign though.
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