Photo Courtesy of NHL.com
When it comes to the fantasy offseason we are all breaking our prospects into tiers. Who is too soon, who is too late and who is just right (Calder dark horses). I am not one to write off a prospect or any player too early, look at Ryan Strome, Brad Marchand or Jeff Petry who all looked like they were average producers or busts and then here they are later in their careers thriving. The average prospect won’t break out and become a legit NHLer until their age 21/22 season. Look at Jason Robertson, I held on to him since he was an 18 year old because I always “had a feeling” and ended up trading him before his breakout season this year because I got tired of waiting. That is why I am here, on the wrong side of trading a Calder nominee, to help you not make the same mistake and maybe be the person on the other end sniffing out the next Robertson or to trim the fat and cut ties with the Michael Dal Colle types who have been on your rosters backburner a little too long and now they are over cooked or “too hot”.
Too soon – These prospects are ones worth drafting but maybe not yet if you can’t afford time on a project
Ryan Suzuki (2001 born, Drafted 28th overall in 2020)
It might be tempting to draft Ryan on the basis that his older brother Nick is looking like a steal but the fact of the matter is Carolina is a much deeper team. Seth Jarvis is likely to be getting a shot ahead of Suzuki and heck maybe even Dominik Bokk. He got a shot playing at the World Juniors this year putting up four points in seven games and then 10 points in 26 games for the Chicago Wolves. These are not numbers that would force the Hurricanes to create a spot in a deep NHL lineup. He will be a good if not great player for the Hurricanes down the road but that day is not today
Rodion Amirov (2001 born, Drafted 15th overall in 2020)
This one seems obvious to me but one thing I have learned from being a Leafs fan myself and living in the GTA with a lot of Leafs fans is that Leafs prospects and players always go well before they should in drafts. Amirov could be tempting to jump on as he will likely get cups of coffee this year and has been touring around Toronto since his KHL season ended but it might be a shade too early for him. Although he is wearing 72 which is Panarin’s number and that is huge “I am ready” energy so I would not fault you for drafting him this year if you can afford to have him do nothing all year for you. His closest comparables to Byron Bader’s metric are Cam Stewart, Sean Couturier, Sean Monahan, Alex Tanguay, Raffi Torres and Kaapo Kakko so it is a but of a mixed bag but overall all good players for the most part. He has been compared to a Artemi Panarin play style so there is a lot to be excited about with LW spots open on both the Auston Matthews/Mitch Marner and John Tavares/William Nylander lines. I believe it is still early but the kid is coming along nicely.