A Valentine's Day Ramblings spreading our love for mid-season draft rankings, the latest NHL call-ups, and the best around the CHL…
NHL Playoff races are heating up…which means us fantasy fans are watching the races for the top 2016 draft spots! It's the season of love for draft-eligible players, and mid-season rankings are being released to get us extra excited for the top talent we’ll see in the pros next year.
In case it slipped by you yesterday, DobberProspects released a top-30 ranking of 2016 draft-eligible prospects. 15 experts contributed to this excellent list based on the future fantasy hockey value of the next generation of stars. An absolute must-read for keeper-league managers – check it out HERE
Though not based on fantasy potential, the legendary Bob Mckenzie’s mid-season draft ranking are always worth a read – you can find that article HERE
Scouting veteran Craig Button also released a ranking of NHL-affiliated prospects which is sure to cheer up fans currently suffering through a rebuild.
A few NHL prospect call-ups worth noting:
The Leafs recalled Brendan Liepsic who scored the game-winner in his NHL debut. The feisty winger could be a candidate to be an NHL replacement for any of the many Leafs that will be dealt away by the end of the month.
Joni Ortio is once again with the Flames as Ramo was placed on the IR, and could start seeing starts again if Hiller gets moved at the trade deadline.
Mike Reilly is getting another shot with the Wild. He scored his first NHL goal (and point) in a loss overshadowed by the firing of coach Yeo.
Nick Ritchie was recalled by Anaheim but didn’t play Saturday night. It will take a good run for the beastly winger to stick in the big-leagues, but he’s absolutely capable of it especially if he gets time with the big-two of Getzlaf and Perry
Some quick AHL notes…
Two points for Mike McCarron (MTL) last night against a strong Marlies club. He’s having a strong season with 32 points, 77 PIM, and 101 SOG in 48 games, but I don’t foresee them calling-up their young blood amid troubled times.
San Diego topped Charlotte 5-4 in a bountiful game for defenceman. Recently reassigned Theodore (ANH) scored three points; if Anaheim appeases the rumour-mongers and trades a defenceman, he will get his NHL spot back. Brandon Montour (ANH) also scored a point, giving him 38 in 44 games(!) on the season. Yet another defenceman the Ducks could be forced to be less patient with than planned. Another player trying to play himself back into the NHL – Ryan Murphy (CAR) scored two goals and had six SOG.
Hunter Shinkaruk (VAN) scored for Utica, giving him 20 on the year. He's putting up the points to earn consideration for call-ups, but similar to McCarron in Montreal, I dont think now is the time for the organization to be rushing one of their top prospects onto a flailing NHL roster.
Now for some scoring updates from prospects around the juniors…
Battalion captain Mike Amadio (LA) had himself an impressive game last night, where he scored five goals. FIVE GOALS. Just as incredible is that the team lost the game to the Frontenacs!
Speaking of which… two future Florida Panthers had big nights for Kingston – four points for Lawson Crouse and three for Juho Lammikko. Deadline pickup Michael Dal Colle (NYI) got on the scoresheet as well with a goal, pushing him up to 33 in 16 – more than doubling his point-per-game pace from his first half of the year….I’d say he’s been a good fit.
OHL league leader Kevin Labanc (SJS) added three assists to his total, now 101 (33G, 68A, 60PIM) in 50 games played. Andrew Mangiapane (CGY) showed up for a hat-trick, while Julius Nattinen (ANH) also picked up three points in the victory. Future NHL starter Mackenzie Blackwood (NJD) stopped 34 of 35 shots faced.
Three more points for Dylan Strome (ARI) last night, putting him up to 81 in 40 games played. He has also been excelling in the faceoff circle of late – going 17/24 (71%) last night and 46/69 (67%) in his last three. Definitely a good skill to have as jumps to the NHL next year.
Travis Konecny (PHI) led the Sting past the Knights with two points in a 2-1 win. 22 goals and 56 assists in 47 games for one of the best high-speed puck handlers in the league. I really hope this kid makes a successful jump to the pros, he is just too fun to watch when he has puck.
Three assists (two on the powerplay) for Matthew Barzal (NYI) last night. He has stepped-up his points and PIM per game numbesr from last year and currently has 66 points in 43 games. It's rare to see a player without exception size be so talented at protecting the puck, but Barzal can be just impossible to take the puck from. Very Hossa-esque in that regard.
Draft-eligible Brayden Burke (2016) had a three-assist-night, good for 85 points (second in the WHL) and a crazy plus-36 rating in 56 GP. The undersized forward isn't considered am elite prospect going into the draft, but holding his own in a physical WHL will definitely add interest to the 5'10", 163lb winger.
Brayden Point (TBL) tallied another three points, he now has 63 points in 33 games played. This kid has shown top-tier skills and elite passing on every stage so far, and hopefully continues doing so in the pros next year. He will likely start in the AHL to adjust to the more physical game given his small stature, but Tampa is no stranger to promoting the small and skilled type if they've earned it.
Undrafted WHL over-ager Dryden Hunt leads the league in points with 88. At 6'0" and 201lbs, its very likely he gets a look in the pros somewhere next season.
Three assists for Sabres 2nd-round-pick and Peterborough captain Eric Cornel (BUF). 62 points (24G, 38A) in 52 games now for him.
Cougars captain Sam Ruopp (CBJ) had three points as well; the towering defenceman now has 21 points, 88 PIM and a team-leading plus-22 rating on the year.
17-year-old Royal goalie Griffen Outhouse (2016) registered a shutout, bumping him to a 4 SO, a 0.940 SV% and a league-best 1.81 GAA in his rookie WHL season. The netminder was highly-touted entering the league and has the size to match his pedigree.
As always, thanks for reading and best of luck in any fantasy leagues I’m not competing in!