It has been far too long since I have had the opportunity to sit down and record some thoughts on some interesting prospects that are making noise early on this season. I hope this is a regular event, but sometimes life comes at you fast.
I have outlined some of the top prospects from a variety of leagues around the world using the PNHLe stat, which attempts to predict a prospect’s point potential during their prime years if they make it to the NHL. As with anything else data-related, context matters! It is important to look at the entire picture (linemates, deployment, time-on-ice, peripheral stats, etc.) when determining if a player is going to be a good fit on your fantasy team’s roster. Be sure to click on the player links to get more insight from the fantastic group of writers here at DobberProspects, who work tirelessly to give you the goods.
When using PNHLe to evaluate a prospect’s point potential, it is important to note that sample size is very important. It is extremely unlikely that most of these players will be able to maintain their current pace: the statistic usually levels out after 20 games. However, I have noticed that the best players at least maintain their current pace, if not increase their PNHLe, over the course of a long season. On the flip-side, we do not have the luxury of seeing how the rest of the season turns out, and if you have space on a deep fantasy roster, the following players are showing enough promise that they could be worth a pick-up in deep dynasty leagues.
Here are some players that should be on your fantasy radars if they aren’t already:
Ivan Fedotov, G (KHL) – Philadelphia Flyers
Despite the fact there is no stat that predicts goaltending prospects’ fantasy potential, I figured I would start this article off by writing about a netminder you should be keeping tabs on – primarily because I went all-in on obtaining him in all of my dynasty leagues.
Ivan Fedotov is making a smooth transition on his new Red Army (CSKA) squad – it only took him two games to take over the starting job.
He moves surprisingly well for a goalie of his 6’8” stature (yes, you read that correctly – 6’8″!). Somehow, he makes himself look even larger between the pipes in the KHL, where his numbers have been nothing short of spectacular. Although there are rumours that Fedotov is content with staying in Russia, he has one year left on his contract and the Flyers will likely do everything in their power to convince him to cross the pond at the end of the season.
There is stiff competition in Philadelphia’s goalie pipeline – not a problem the Flyers are used to – but if Fedotov can reach his potential he may become a mainstay as early as next year.
Dmitri Rashevsky, RW (KHL) – Winnipeg Jets
The Jets took a risk-taking a player that was passed over through two straight drafts, but all signs are pointing to Rashevsky being an absolute steal as a fifth-round pick. His offensive resume as he progressed his way through the typical Russian development leagues was very impressive.
Now in the top league (KHL), he finds himself on a line with one of the league’s all-time leaders, Vadim Shipachyov, and is playing with a chip on his shoulder. Currently, he has posted 23 points in only 24 games played — including an impressive 14 goals — and is near the top KHL points leaders.
Albert Johansson, LD (SHL) – Detroit Red Wings
Although Johansson probably has less offensive upside than most of the top prospects in the league, he has shown consistent improvement each year since being drafted.
Many prospect prognosticators consider him a “can’t miss” prospect because of his NHL-style of game. This could make him especially important in multi-category dynasty leagues because he isn’t afraid to block shots and throw his body around. It doesn’t hurt that he has NHL bloodlines and was drafted by the preeminent Swedish scout, Hakan Andersson, who has given Johansson sparkling reviews. The only question is how high can he raise his offensive game?
Topi Niemela, RD (Liiga) – Toronto Maple Leafs
Niemela joined an exclusive list when he took home top defenseman honours at last year’s World Junior Championship.
He has since taken that high level of play and somehow gotten even better. Niemela’s current production of 14 points in 17 games is one of the best age-adjusted rates over the past 20 years.
He could earn himself a regular roster spot as early as next season, on a team that is increasingly required to pinch pennies because of cap implications.
Emil Andrae, RD (Allsvenskan) – Philadelphia Flyers
The undersized defenseman is off to a blazing start for HV71 in Sweden’s second-tier league. HV71 was relegated to the Allsvenskan last year and are looking to climb their way back into the top Swedish professional league. Andrae has done everything in his power to make sure that happens. A former second-round selection by the Flyers in 2020, he has the potential to become one of the breakout stars during this year’s World Junior Championship.
Tyler Angle, C (AHL) – Boston Bruins
The latest league to start, the AHL has seen some impressive results from prospects looking to take the final step to the best league in the world. Angle made an AHL appearance last season due to COVID protocol, and was easily the biggest surprise. He finished fourth in league PNHLe standings (66) among those with at least 20 games played, behind the likes of an elite group of prospects: Tomasino, Harley, and Perfetti.
The fact that he is replicating his production this season is a great sign, and he is more than likely available in most of even the deepest dynasty leagues. There are a handful of players in the system that will be recalled ahead of him if the Blue Jackets face injuries, but the extra year in professional development will only help to polish off his overall game.
Carter Savoie, LW (NCAA) – Edmonton Oilers
The older brother to one of this season’s top draft-eligible prospects, Matt Savoie, Carter has exploded out of the gates for the University of Denver. He posted very respectable numbers last year during his freshman campaign, which was no surprise to many who saw him play in the AJHL, and is continuing to produce at an elite rate.
Savoie is a decent skater and possesses a lethal shot that often catches goalies off guard. His 12 points in six NCAA games is most likely not sustainable, but the early returns are fantastic for the 2020 100th overall pick.
Elliot Desnoyers, LW (QMJHL) – Philadelphia FLyers
Desnoyers flew out of the gates last year and surprised many who doubted his overall ability: he was touted as a defensive forward based on previous results on a mediocre Moncton Wildcats team. Since transitioning to the Halifax Mooseheads, he has been given more opportunities offensively and has not looked back. The fact that he has shown this offensive consistency is a great sign, and he’s often paired with Zachary L’Heureux. The combo has been nearly unstoppable the past two seasons.
Francesco Pinelli, C (OHL) – L.A. Kings
Just what the Kings’ organization needs: another top-end offensive talent. Many in scouting circles were surprised to see Pinelli slip to the middle of the second round and Los Angeles quickly snapped him up with the 42nd pick of the 2021 draft.
Pinelli has all of the tools you hope for when adding a prospect to your pipeline: decent size, good skating, and silky mitts, but what really separates him from the rest of the pack is his great vision on the ice. Pinelli seems to be one step ahead of most other players in that aspect. That skill alone could end up landing him a spot on an NHL team in a few years once he becomes more polished. Fortunately for the Kings, they have all the time in the world to let him develop properly while other top prospects in their system take the leap to the top level.
Carson Lambos, LD (WHL) – Minnesota Wild
Lambos is quarterbacking the powerhouse Winnipeg Ice and showing his prowess at both ends of the rink. The 2021 first-round pick has flown out of the gates early on, scoring 12 points in nine games, including three goals; not bad for a defenseman who is classed as more of a two-way defender.
He could end up becoming one of the fastest risers in his draft class, as we are sure to see more than a handful of hits and misses because of the crazy pandemic year that many draft-eligible prospects had to navigate.
Thanks for reading!
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