Kingston Frontenacs forward and Los Angeles Kings prospect Spencer Watson is having a banner season. He was a standout at the team Canada junior team selection camp, and scored two goals in the Super Series against Team Russia
. Despite failing make the WJC team his season has been remarkable. Business picked up in Kingston after GM Doug Gilmour acquired New York Islanders top prospect Michael Dal Colle from the Oshawa Generals. Since the trade, Dal Colle has 31 points in 14 games playing on a line with Watson and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Warren Foegele. Watson won the player of the week recognition by virtue of scoring three goals and five assists for eight points in two games. Dal Colle was also considered for the award with four goals and three assists in two games.
Other players considered for the player of the week were Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner, who had a goal and nine points in three games for the London Knights. New York Rangers goalie prospect Brandon Halverson was the other finalist with a 2-0-0 record making 69 save for a .932 save percentage and 2.5 GAA.
New Jersey Devils prospect Joseph Blandisi has been red hot lately in his latest call up to the NHL with nine points in his last ten games. Blandisi has been filling in for the injured Mike Cammalleri on the Devils top line with Adam Henrique and Lee Stempniak. If Blandisi is only 29% owned across Fantrax leagues and is worth the add.
Andreas Athanasiou has been having a strong development year and is currently with the Red Wings and picked up an assist tonight (his second in nine NHL games) in a win over the Sens. Athanasiou has been one of my under the radar fantasy prospects for a few years now and is starting to command the recognition I felt he was worthy of. He could push for a regular spot on the Wings by next year.
Here are some scouting notes on prospects from two live viewings I was able to take in this week.
North Bay at Ottawa:
Dante Salituro who went through the 2015 NHL draft, is having a noteworthy season with a team leading 65 points in 49 games. With the departure of Travis Konecny to Sarnia, Salituro is the go to offensive weapon in Ottawa. Salituro made several quick hard passes which he has a knack of disguising his intentions very well. Carries the puck well, protecting with his skating and positioning on defenders. For a small player he can hold the puck well, using skating and positioning to keep the puck. Even when he loses possession he is tenacious and often recovers possession. Salituro is a good candidate to be drafted in 2016, and as a 19 year old, the waiting time for him to reach your fantasy roster is reduced by one year. That being said he will still have to develop one more year in the OHL before jumping to the pro ranks.
Stepan Falkovsky is a 6’7”, 224 pound towering defender. I first saw him in the first preseason game against Gatineau and he has developed quite a bit since then. His skating is still awkward looking (particularly backwards) but vastly improved, and he can cover a lot of area because he is so tall and has such a long reach and stick. He is playing on the first powerplay unit and has a hard point shot. His offensive game is still developing at eight goals and 24 points in 41 games, and he seldom is in on the rush. Falkovsky is draft eligible for the 2016 draft, as a late ’98 born player.
Cam Dineen is a rookie with North Bay who had an assist in the game to bring him one point closer to regaining the OHL defenceman scoring lead. Dineen is now one point behind Calgary Flames prospect Rasmus Andersson who has 47 points in 47 games. Dineen is another 2016 draft eligible prospect who is and small, offensive defenceman. He was quick to join the rush, and has a very good read for when it is appropriate to do so or not. He runs the powerplay and made a sweet pass to MacKenzie, right in his wheelhouse for a one-timer; which lead to a rebound goal for fellow draft eligible prospect Zach Poirier.
Kyle Wood who is a Colorado Avalanche prospect played a strong two-way game. He has all the tools to be an NHL player, he is 6’5” and 223 pounds, skates well, reads and reacts with a high hockey IQ, forces turn overs, plays physical, and has some offensive upside.
Halifax at Gatineau
Newly acquired Nicholas Meloche had an impressive game. Like Kyle wood, Meloche is a Colorado Avalanche and has it all. He is 6’3” and 204 pounds, plays physical, skates extremely well, joins the rush and controls the powerplay. He has great vision on the point and can either blast a shot, or thread the needle with a shot/pass for a tip in if the lane is open. Meloche is physically ready to turn pro and play against men, he is so much stronger than his peers, did not lose a single puck battle, and stick lift is undefendable at this level. He reads plays very well and on several occasions stepped up in the neutral zone to intercept a pass and create transition to offence. Meloche will have fantasy value when he arrives, and for leagues with peripheral categories, he will be a must own.
Vitalli Abramov is a 2016 NHL draft eligible prospect who is smallish at 5’9”, 170 pounds but has excellent vision and offensive creativity. Abramov Demonstrated a wide array of moves, dekes, and toe drags and explosive acceleration and a high-end top gear.
Yakov Trenin is a Nashville Predators prospect who was dominant on the draw going 7-2 on my count. He scored the opening goal less than a minute in after moving into the slot at the perfect time to receive and redirect a Meloche slap/pass from the point.
I am in four fantasy hockey leagues and all try to emulate the NHL and are full keeper leagues with varying degrees of prospect rosters. The draft for each league is heavily dominated by entry draft players and it is extremely difficult to find fantasy rankings for these players. As the new Managing Editor of DP I am working on a solution. I have polled over a dozen fantasy and scouting experts from Future Considerations, Hockey Prospectus, the OHL, WHL, ISS Scouting and of course Dobber Prospects and more. Check back later as I will be posting the consensus top 30 fantasy rankings for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft prospects on the site soon.
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