February 22 2016

by Peter Harling on February 22, 2016
Hunter Shinkaruk Hunter Shinkaruk

The NHL trade deadline is a week away, but trades are starting to happen already. Today the Calgary Flames traded Markus Granlund to Vancouver for Hunter Shinkaruk.

Granlund was a Flames second round pick(45th overall) in 2011 and has had trouble sticking with the Flames as he has bounced between the NHL, and AHL. Shinkaruk was a Canucks first round pick (24th overall) in 2013 and is in his second pro season where he has a very respectable 39 points in 45 games with Utica. While there are some size concerns with the 5’10”, 181 pound Shinkaruk, Dobber Prospects ranked him as the fourth overall Canucks prospect while Granlund did not make the Flames top ten.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have also been active on the trade market (as expected) and have made two recent trades. The first trade sent Shawn Matthias to Colorado for prospect Colin Smith and a fourth round pick in 2016. Smith will join an already loaded Toronto Marlies roster that is poised for a long playoff run and Calder Championship run. Today the leafs made another deal sending Roman Polak and Nick Spaling to San Jose for two second round picks (2017,2018) and the Raffi Torres contract. It was announce after the trade that Toronto has loaned Torres to the Sharks AHL affiliate the Barracuda for the balance of the season.

***

The WHL may be light in top end draft prospects heading into the 2016 NHL Draft, but one player gaining some attention is Moosejaw Warriors Dryden Hunt. As an overager, Hunt is having a breakout season and has 49 goals and 99 points in 61 games to lead the WHL in scoring. It was a surprise to many that Hunt went undrafted last year, or was not signed out of the Montreal Canadiens as an invitee to their rookie camp.

Sticking in the WHL, Toronto Maple Leafs third round pick from the 2015 draft, Andrew Nielsen is the WHL defencemen scoring leader with 15 goals and 60 points in 59 games. He is outscoring some pretty high profile prospects such as Ivan Provorov (PHI), Travis Sanheim (PHI), and Jake Bean (more on him below) 2016 draft eligible. He had a strong rookie and training camp showing with the Leafs last summer as a standout, but was unfortunately left off the Team Canada WJC roster. His development is on a fast track to the NHL with an enhanced emphasis on fantasy value in leagues with multi category stats.

Dobber Prospects Leafs writer Jason Banks provides this analysis

“The outlook is rather positive for the Red Deer native as he already possesses an attractive NHL size and therefore be given an opportunity more hastily than normal. His tool bag contains all the requirements needed for a solid pro including: a solid shot, defensive/transitional awareness, vision and good first pass ability.” Jason Banks

Speaking of Jake Bean, recently on SiriusXM Radio, Shane Malloy was asked about several players and two comments struck me. The first was his naming Jake Bean as the top offensive defenceman in the 2016 draft class, otherwise known as the top fantasy ranked defenceman. Malloy was also asked to speculate what prospect Montreal would seek in return from Edmonton in a P.K. Subban trade. Caleb Jones was the answer. Caleb is Seth Jones younger brother, and while the Oilers fourth round pick from 2015 may not have the franchise label upside of his big brother, he is making a name for himself this year. In his rookie season in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, Jones has nine goals and 49 points in 59 games as well as 60 penalty minutes. Impressive rookie numbers for the 19 year old, and he is worth keeping an eye on as a long term prospect with sleeper potential.

***

A pair of Los Angeles Kings prospects continues to ride hot streaks in the OHL.  The Kings third round pick (90th overall) from 2014 Mike Amadio has scored 12 goals in his past five games. Amadio remains unsigned and has had average showings at the Kings training camps so far. With the season he is having, he will be signed in short order by the Kings. Amadio is only five goals away from breaking the franchise record of 47, set by Wojtek Wolski from 2005-06. Amadio already has one Battalion scoring record this season as he scored five goals in one game on Feb 13th. Amadio has also been named the OHL player of the week as his streak earned him seven goals and two assists for nine points in four games with a plus-minus of plus-10

Spencer Watson is the other Kings prospect firing on all cylinders lately. Watson and his Kingston Frontenacs linemate Michael Dal Colle are riding 10 and 14 game point streaks respectively. During their streaks, Watson has 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 10 games, while Dal Colle has 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points in 14 games. Dal Colle also recorded his 300th career OHL point.

Dal Colle drives to the net for a beautiful goal

 

Watson is a pure goal scorer with an amazing shot, but his offensive vision and passing skills are underrated

Erie Otters goalie Devin Williams reached an OHL milestone this weekend as well. He recorded his 100th career win, putting him in exclusive company joining only four other players to achieve the century in wins marker. Williams is an undrafted overage player who may be worth keeping an eye on if he can sign a contract with an NHL franchise to become fantasy relevant.

***

If you are looking for more potential prospects to add to your fantasy prospect roster via waiver wire or free agency before your roster freeze takes effect, here are some candidates in my article on McKeens

***

One More prospect to keep a watchful eye on is Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Gusev. The risk with Gusev is he may never leave Russia for the NHL. However, he has 49 points in 56 games this year in the KHL. More impressively, he was traded to SKA St. Petersburg, and since joing them he has 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 33 games. Should he ever cross over to the NHL, he could form some scary chemistry with his countryman Nikita Kucherov and be the next Evgeny Kuznetsov.