If you’re not a football fan you missed an all-time clip from Sunday afternoon. Aaron Rodgers had all of the city of Chicago on bated breath hoping he would finally get traded from the Green Bay Packers this offseason but alas he returned to continue to dominate against them. This Sunday though? The Bears have a new exciting young Quarterback named Justin Fields and Khalil Mack on defence, could it be different? Nay. He let them know.
This hilarious bit of content got me thinking about ownership in fantasy hockey among prospects. The thing I will preface this article is that not every league prospect players should be owned so when I say “this guy is pretty low and should be on your radar, I mean in dynasty or deep leagues. I’m not talking about your 6-8 team single-season work league. So let’s look at prospects and their own percentage in Yahoo. Prospects under 25% are sleepers for non-dynasty leagues but generally, anyone who carries almost any ownership in Yahoo is likely no longer a sleeper and owned in your 30 player dynasty league (ex Anton Lundell at 2%)
There is some good value around the league, such good value in fact I decided to perform my own form of Dobbernomics with each player’s ownership percentage. Five teams equalling within three points of 100%. A forward, a defenseman, a goalie and a utility. For fun, I’ll see which team improves its own percentage highest above 100% or falls the lowest below their original standing.
Team 1 (100%)
F – Zegras (45%)
D – Seider (25%)
G – Hill (26%)
U – Pinto (4%)
Team 2 (98%)
F – Caufield (87%)
D – Lundkvist (2%)
G- Vladar (1%)
U- Podkolzin (8%)
Team 3 (97%)
F – Kaliyev (2%)
D – Bouchard (8%)
G – Knight (79%)
U – Raymond (8%)
Team 4 (97%)
F – Lundell (2%)
D – Drysdale (29%)
G – Swayman (65%)
U – Perfetti (2%)
Team 5 (100%)
F – Eklund (4%)
D – Byram (44%)
G – Nedjelkovic (50%)
U – Sillinger (2%)
The Calder race should be real this year
Trevor Zegras 45% rostered– He and his World Junior teammate have been talked about a ton already as they are the chalk for the Calder this year so I won’t use up too many words on him but in short, he’s my favourite prospect. He just straight up does some Patty Kane-level stuff with about two inches to his game. He’s got the confidence, he’s got the showtime I’m saying it he will have 60 points this year.
Moritz Seider 25% rostered – SHL defenceman of the year, the sixth overall pick, Elite Prospects SHL Junior player of the year, Olympian… the list will continue to grow. Seider plays an NHL-ready game with few weaknesses (ignore gifs of him being walked by Patrik Laine). He has a way of processing the game that comes with an experience he does not have, it will be exciting to see what happens when he does gain such experience. Some fantasy GMs have concerns he is more of a “complete” defenceman and will be relied upon in more of a defensive role. I never understand these concerns, when a player is as complete as Seider it only means coaches will give more minutes and more minutes tend to mean more production. Seider will likely play top-four minutes but for now, the PP1 job is Filip Hronek’s to lose. Seider does bring an interesting amount of upside when considering leagues with hits. Seider is playing between 20 and 22 minutes a night in Detroit and has 3 assists 3 hits and a block in that period. I think he should be owned immediately in keeper leagues and could push non-keeper, single season format in deeper leagues.
Cole Caufield – 87% rostered – Caufield is the odds on favourite to win the Calder trophy and is as dynamic as they come at his age. He has yet to find the back of the net so far this season but a top-six lock with powerplay time. Lining up with Nick Suzuki and Tyler Toffoli doesn’t hurt I’ve written plenty of words on Caufield already, see here
Arthur Kaliyev 2% owned – I really wanted to say this was too low. Kaliyev was my sleeper for a sneaky Calder bet. He has a heavy shot and through three games including last season, he is barely over 11 minutes a night and has one goal to show for it. The problem with Kaliyev making an immediate impact at the NHL level the way another 2% owned prospect like Lundell is that they are not having a lot of an impact on the game if they are not scoring, which Kaliyev has done in bunches in his junior career. I think he’s a good player and if he can stick with the big club he will see some stretches where the puck will be going in the net no doubt but I’d say there are better options. However, if you can afford to sit on a prospect I would be trading for him in deeper roster leagues for sure.
Lucas Raymond 8% rostered – Raymond has the potential to be an elite RW option in fantasy. The RW spot in fantasy is notoriously one of the weakest positions for elite production in the NHL so he is an intriguing target off of that alone. Raymond has dynamic playmaking skills with flashy hands and speed that has the thought of creating off the rush with Dylan Larkin making me salivate. He has a strong camp that gives him not only a spot on the roster but he has been taking line rushes alongside Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi. Much like Steven Stamkos’ father, he has taken the keys to Steve Yzerman’s car and is off and running. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him lap Zadina as the top offensive weapon behind Dylan Larkin immediately. After two games he has one assist and is playing between 13 and 16 minutes a night. After a big pre-season he might be a bit early to jump on but he remains a threat for PP1 and top-line minutes if he gets hot
Jamie Drysdale 29% rostered – Jamie Drysdale is a hell of a skater with great instincts. Everywhere he has played he has exceeded expectations. He sure looked the part when watching him play at the NHL level, from a tools standpoint. Were there struggles? Of course. A -12 on the scoresheet isn’t exactly pretty either but learning how to be an NHL defenceman is hard, it’s even harder when you’re 18 and playing on an extremely sub-par team. I would expect some big leaps and maybe a 30 point pace, which is an improvement from his 19 point pace set in his first 24 games. If he can improve upon that and exceed expectations, he will no doubt be in the Calder conversation as he has a massive PP1 and minute seizing opportunity, not every prospect defenceman will have.
William Eklund 4% rostered – I couldn’t tell if I was surprised or just dense for not thinking Eklund would make the San Jose Sharks roster. For one thing, they are no doubt in a transition phase and are not that great but on the other hand, they don’t always do the smartest thing with their management of young assets lately. Eklund however made the club for better or worse. Already familiar with the San Jose way Eklund picked up an assist, two PIMS, a dash two, a power-play point, a hit and a block in 14 minutes of ice time. Yes, his framed first game scoresheet will be lit up like a Christmas tree with his name all over it. Eklund could be first-team powerplay, throwing up periphery fantasy points and in the Calder trophy by year-end and win this thing for team Cali.
Adin HiIl – 26% Rostered – Adin Hill is a good goalie, he is only 25 and has barely gotten a shot so far. When he has he has looked good and let’s face it, that takes a really good goalie to do (see Darcy Kuemper). He gets the shot to be the de facto starter in a 1A 1B with James Reimer. Reimer is clearly not their solution, the key will be if he plays well enough to steal the crease this season before Alexei Melnichuk does.
Spencer Knight – 79% rostered – Knight has a playoff win under his belt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he also has a career 919 Sv%. If Sergei Bobrovsky can get out of his way he’s the starter on a very real Cup contender. He could be this year Nedeljkovic except I don’t see Florida trading him anytime soon. It’s rare a goalie wins but he’s going to be a league top goalie for years to come.
Bowen Byram – 44% rostered – Byram would be close to be considered the top defenceman of value on almost any other team. Sure, he’s below Cale Makar and even Samuel Girard in regards to fantasy value but I wouldn’t think that will stop him from making enough of an impact. The kid is legit.
So many prospects to write about in such little time, just kidding we have all season. Looking forward to writing about an all-timer as far as Calder competition goes. Keep an eye out for my Bi-Weekly Ramblings every other Wednesday as well as my monthly NCAA feature. AS always, I’ll be coming with updates on the Dallas Stars prospect pool as well as some commentary about the NHL and fantasy hockey.
Follow me on Twitter @mikekosciesza
Good luck this year everyone!