European signings, CHL scorers and more…
Another ramblings, finally! With new jobs, finals, the prospect report, and family health issues, Brendan, Zach and I all had our reasons for not ramblings, but that’s certainly going to be the longest break of the year.
So much has happened in the last month, I’m not even going to pretend to try and cover it all. Instead, I’ll be looking at three European free free agent prospect signings as well as some prospect scoring leaders.
Often undrafted players like these are loopholes in a league’s rules, so see if you can pick them up for free before your amateur draft.
Joonas Donskoi, a creative and skilled winger from Finland, has been signed by the San Jose Sharks. He was originally drafted by Florida but they didn’t sign him in time to retain his rights. He broke out in a big way this season, going from a total of 43 points in 76 regular season and playoff games last year to 61 points in 77 combined games and winning Playoff MVP. In addition he finished third in Finnish World Championship scoring with five goals and three assists in eight games. Look for him to make the Sharks in his first North American year.
Quickly on the topic of the Finnish World Championship team, get Esa Lindell on your radar. After leading the Finnish Elite League in goals and points by a defenseman, the 21 year old scored six points in eight points at the World Championships, and has crossed the pond for good. Look for him to make the Dallas Stars sometime this year.
Steve Moses might be the European free agent signing with the most fantasy value, especially in cap leagues. At 26, this is as good as he will get and that’s okay if it means scoring the most goals in KHL history (36). While that is way above what he will score next year for Nashville, the 5’9 forward will still have the chance to make an immediate impact. He is worth a look, especially in cap leagues as he will only be making a million this year.
Artemi Panarin, the KHL’s Most Improved Player and First Team All-Star, was signed this year by the Blackhawks after finishing fourth in league scoring (ahead of teammate Ilya Kovalchuk) with 62 points in 54 games and adding 20 in 20 playoff games on his way to the Gagarin Cup. On top of that, he finished with the same amount of points (10) as teammate Evgeni Malkin at the World Championships. Maybe just as important, he was one of the very few players to stay on the ice for Canada’s national anthem. His contract includes an out clause back to Russia if he doesn’t make the Hawks out of camp, so watch him closely as the season rolls around.
AHL Playoff Scoring leaders:
Jordan Weal with 19 points in 14 games followed by Teemu Pulkkinen and Michael Mersch with 18 points.
Weal, Mersch and the Manchester Monarchs are moving on to the AHL championship where they will face Vancouver’s Utica Comets or Detroit’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Weal is a 5-10 third round pick from 2010 that has now played three full seasons in the AHL. That is a bit more than you would hope from a future scorer, but shorter players often take longer to develop. He really should be in the NHL next year, though I wouldn’t expect a ton of scoring right away.
Michael Mersch is a more prototypical LA Kings player, weighing in at 6-2, and 215 pounds. He scored 45 points in 76 regular season games but has heated up big time with 47 in his last 46 games, including the playoffs. As a near point per game player at the University of Wisconsin, this is not new to him even if it is coming a bit quicker than most would expect. If he can bring this level of play to camp, he could force him self into the Kings bottom six, but it is much more likely that he will start the season in the AHL.
Teemu Pulkkinen is just nutty. Someone who can score 14 goals in 12 playoff games, while shooting 4.5 times a game should really not be allowed to play at that level. Going back to the regular season again, he has 37 goals in 33 games, which prorates to an insane 84 goals over a full 6 game season. Teemu and his nasty shot have proven once and for all that they are far too good for the AHL, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will break camp with the Red Wings.
The next AHL rookie on the list after Mersch is Conor Sheary who scored 12 points in just eight games. In his first AHL season, the 5-9 forward scored 45 points in 58 games. Somehow, he is still unsigned! Despite his size, I’m sure someone will sign him over the summer. Players his stature are always unlikely to make an impact in the NHL, but he could be worth a no-risk pickup in ultra-deep leagues.
Dylan Larkin has started his AHL career with a bang:
Some very quick hits on top CHL playoff scorers:
Leon Draisaitl and Nic Petan with 10 goals and 28 points each.
Leon has done well to prove that this is the last time he will be cut from the Oilers. He is simply too strong and skilled for the WHL, and is more likely than not to skip the AHL entirely.
How’s this for consistency? Petan has scored 28 points in each of the past three WHL playoffs, though he did it in 17 games instead of 21 this time.
Connor McDavid with 49 points. Not even going to comment, not fair.
Cole Cassels and Michael Dal Colle are the top human OHL players, with 31 points in 21 games each.
With all the hype around Cole, I think now is the time to sell high. His chances of even becoming a second line center are still less than 50%, and McDavid’s Kryptonite is probably at the peak of his value. As a Canucks fan, I really like him, as a fantasy owner, now is the time to sell to the highest bidder.
Shoutout to Nick Ritchie who put up 26 points in just 14 games for the Greyhounds.
Nicolaj Ehlers with 31 points in just 13 points, followed by Adam Erne’s 21 goals and 30 points in 22 games.
Just wanted to point out that yes, Ehlers scored 31 in 13, not 31 in 23 like any other normal human being. Just another player that is likely to make the NHL immediately.
Michael Joly with 6 points in three games. He is eligble, again, for the 2015 NHL draft, and leading the Memorial Cup in scoring is a good way to guarantee a selection. At 5’10, he scored point per game numbers in his age 19 season, which is decent but nothing to suggest a fantasy future.
For more players to watch as the Memorial Cup wraps out, check out this awesome piece by Brendan Ross.