Well now after an intense week I am back with another ramblings, but this ramblings will have to be a quick and not well set up ramblings as previous as I am writing this late at night. Do not fret reader next week this will be better and more coherent.
I will touch on interesting news, notes, and updates from the week. Unless I fall asleep on my keyboard because then you might just read gibberish!
First stop the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL (NYI affiliate). The team’s top six point producers are defensemen. Sebastian Aho (who I have touched on before) continues to be a steal of the 2017 draft, well he would have been a steal in the 2015 draft as well but SIZE! Tied with Aho in points with 13 is Devon Toews, a player that really intrigued me last season with 45 points in 76 games. I was hesitant to go fawning over him as 40 of those points were assists, and how many of those were of the secondary variety (i.e. More luck then setting a play up). As of this season his points per game is up, he is one goal away from matching last year’s total, in 57 less games, and is shooting the puck a more – 3.11 this season opposed to 2.30 last season. The Islanders, who already have such a crowded blue line they aren’t even playing Ryan Pulock frequently, are going to have a Vegas like problem entering this season, except they will have defensemen teams want.
The other name to point out in Bridgeport is 2015 third round pick Mitchell Vande Sompel. In 15 games Vande Sompel has 10 points and continues to be a great puck moving defenseman. His offense is being held back a bit as he is down on the depth chart while he learns to adjust to the AHL. He is only shooting just over a shot per game and is focusing more on defense, but there is so much skill there he just needs time to adapt and an opportunity.
With the depth the Islanders are quietly building up on the back end, Oilers fans better hope Chiarelli doesn’t answer any more Garth Snow calls as Snow should look to rid his roster of the lesser defensemen and start injecting the young players, when the opportunity arises.
There was an interesting tidbit out of Edmonton Oilers practice today:
Khaira on top PP unit with 97 93 55 and 83.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) November 29, 2017
Jujhar Khaira has always seemed like he could be a good middle-six power forward and now he may get an audition on the top powerplay to show what he can do, booting both Maroon and Lucic from the net front as well. Also booting Cammalleri to the press box and possibly Pakarinen too, but he is still on line four so figure that one out. If he can produce immediately he may find a niche to produce, like his fourth-line line-mate Mark Letestu. It is a situation to monitor.
Have you been paying attention to Petr Kvaca? No? Well you soon will. The 2017 fourth round selection, the return for the Holden trade (sorry NYR fans, but really you have Igor Shestyorkin so no reason to complain with arguable the top goalie prospect out there) has been dominating the Czech2 league, the Czech’s league version of the NHL’s AHL. The kids save percentage numbers have improved every season since 2013-2014, he led the Czech 2 League in goals against average with 1.41 and a 0.940 save percentage, and currently in 19 games he has a 0.929 save percentage and a 1.61 goals against. Watch for him to play for the Czech’s at the World Juniors, it could be a coming out party, but do not forget he is still likely a ways away.
Do not sleep on the prospect of drafting Filip Zadina for your fantasy hockey rookie draft, this kid is the real deal. All he is doing is leading the QMJHL, a stingier league than the OHL, in points.
I started this 2018 draft year as a HUGE Andrei Svechnikov fan, saying he should be #1. Now I think everyone can agree it is Rasmus Dahlin’s spot to lose, with or without the Svechnikov injury. However, Zadina should be in conversation for top 3 over both Adam Boqvist and Brady Tkachuk, the skill he possesses is incredible. He does not have the power of Svechnikov to take over a game but just seems like that player that will always have the puck and will just be in the right spot to score continuously.
Just throwing this out there but Vitali Abramov should not be in the CHL this year, he is too good. Honestly, I hate the CHL-NHL agreement; there should be a clause for some players to be in the AHL especially if the team thinks it is better for the player to develop. But back to Abramov he is the straw that stirs the drink for the Victoriaville Tigers and has 35 points in 23 games, just a meagre nine points ahead of the next player for Victoriaville in five fewer games as well. How was he a third round pick!!!!
Quick NHL rookie Notes:
- Christian Fischer is starting to figure out the NHL game, he has top six power forward written all over him. A 30-30 type player
- It is great to see Nathan MacKinnon scoring consistently; he is a treat to watch (he counts as a rookie right now so I can write this)
- Good luck with the starters crease Tristan Jarry, can he carry the load I think so. Will it be tough as the Pens aren’t the best defensive team out there.
Alright that is all of this week. Thanks for reading. Here is my twitter again. Follow it, and if you want you can send me gifs but they better be good! @FHPQuinn
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