Welcome to the Thursday ramblings. This week I am going to go over some AHL bright spots that are known and some that are not. If these players are available in your keeper leagues (and can be stashed) do it.
Also here is my #GoodTweet of the week (p.s. if you get the reference you will win a high five gif personalized by me)
The Seattle Alowishus Devadander Abercrombies https://t.co/E7sDpoDpFN— Pat Quinn (not that one) (@FHPQuinn) October 22, 2019
I just want to add, I give great fantasy hockey advice so tweet me your questions. How do I give great advice, well I have never missed playoffs in any H2H league since I started playing and have won at least one of the four to nine pools I have been in, or am in, since 2010.
AHL bright spots
Lucas Elvenes (VGK)
Currently leading the AHL in scoring with 11 points in seven games the young Swede is really taking the AHL, and keeper GMs, by storm. He never quite put up amazing numbers in the SHL but was always a solid point producer, just not one that scored a ton of goals every season. As of now though he appears to be a lot better than other fifth round selections. If he keeps this up, he will be in the NHL within two years.
Morgan Geekie (CAR)
Geekie is developing quite nicely in his second AHL season for the Charlotte Checkers. In six games Geekie has eight points, registering points in all but the game against Utica who is dominating the AHL to the tune of being undefeated, along with the Toronto Marlies. He really has carried over his play since the Calder Cup championship run. A call up in the future this season, and a full time role in the NHL look eventually likely for the scoring centre, but he will likely need to move over to the wing.
Igor Shesterkin (NYR)
Shesterkin is showing he does not need to be in the AHL at all. He is of course splitting starts with Adam Huska, as both players have three games apiece. However, Shesterkin has an absurd 0.952 save percentage (sv%) and a shut out in his three games. The season is long and the plan is likely to give him more starts in the long run so these numbers should come down slightly (last years AHL average save percentage was around 0.905-0.910), but he can likely stay above the averages. The only thing that will keep him from being the full fledged starter next season is Lunqvist’s cap hit.
Egor Korshkov (TOR)
Coming over from the KHL, like Ilya Mikheyev but two years younger, the 23-year old Russian is tied for first in Marlies scoring with seven points in six games. The problem for him is that he joins the Maple Leaf ranks of “way to many good skilled wingers” in the system, making any that break through tough to project, as there are really only one spot open to play with Matthews or Tavares, especially with Babcock’s unwillingness to keep Nylander at C. In 2020-2021 he can have an impact along the lines of Mikheyev, IF there is room.
Ville Husso (STL)
Well what a difference a year can make for a goalie. Husso went from fantastic in the AHL from 2016-2018 to abysmal in 2018-2019, so abysmal in fact that Jordan Binnington took over (after year over year poor numbers) and the rest for St. Louis is history. Now in 2019-2020 Husso has come out of the gate hot for the San Antonia Rampage, as he rattled off three straight wins with one shut out and an astute 0.965 sv%. He did cool off on the back to back starts losing one in regulation and one in overtime while holding a sub-0.900 sv%. I still stand convinced he is the best goalie in the Blues’ system and I hope he can continue his good play through out the season.
Ottawa is a train wreck this season and is giving us vets to watch instead of the teams promising youngsters. I understand the idea as perhaps they can flip the older players at the deadline as then give the youngsters playing time, but as of now management is doing all they can to save money with call up, send downs, and immediate IR placement. But let me get in to these two. Brown has seven points in five games and was recently called up to take the top line role on the NHL club (odd), Batherson has seven points in four games as he is too good for the AHL but cannot get a constant foothold on NHL play yet. These two should be on the NHL roster, I just do not get Ottawa’s idea here but I am 100% certain it is due to the salary cap and saving money for Melnyk.
Alex Alexeyev (WSH)
Speaking of rookies making a great first impression in the AHL (we may not have actually been talking about that but I like it as a segue), Alexeyev has been great for the Hershey Bears to start his first AHL season. He is leading the Bears defensemen in shots, and would be leading in points but Christian Djoos is in the AHL (more on him below), and is being used as a top four defenseman in every game. Alexeyev needs to stay healthy for the whole year and if that is possible, he will greatly increase his odds of making the Capitals sooner rather than later. The problem for the Capitals is that they have way too many defensemen on one-way deals, in the system, and are very close to the cap.
Cayden Primeau (MTL)
Primeau has been fantastic to start for the Laval Rocket rocking a 0.943 sv% in three games. He is splitting starts with Charlie Lindgren and as of right now looks like the superior option. With Price signed until 2025-2026 with a full no move clause the Canadiens have plenty of time to develop Primeau in the AHL for a while.
Kasimir Kaskisuo (TOR)
Kaskisuo has slowly come along for the Maple Leafs showing that some goalies can take a lot of time before they can really shine (hollow Jakob Markstrom). The Marlies lately have never been great on the “play stifling defense” play as the teams offense can take over games. As of right now Kaskisuo is getting a majority of the starts (four out of six games) and currently has an amazing 0.947 sv%. Perhaps there is a chance that if the Leafs cannot sign Andersen long term because of the salary cap, they could turn to Kaskisuo. Stranger things have happened.
Bright spots back from long term injuries
Evgeny Svechnikov (DET)
Finally back from the knee injury that cost him the 2018-2019 season the older Svechnikov is back to playing and has already seen a call up to Detroit. In three games for Grand Rapids he has four points, nine shots, and 11 penalty minutes. The Red Wings need more scoring in the NHL so hopefully Svechnikov’s AHL time is brief and he can get top six NHL minutes before more higher profile rookies come through the system.
Anders Bjork (BOS)
A shoulder injury took away the remainder of Bjork’s 2018-2019 season but he has come back like a bat out of hell, well if it was remade slightly worse than the original as it is a seriously awesome song and Bjork just has eight points in seven games. He is leading the Providence Bruins though and has already received a call up to the big club with the Krejci injury. Bjork can easily be a top six winger for the Bruins and can add some scoring help to the Bruins top-line heavy team.
German Rubtsov (PHI)
A shoulder injury also took away another promising prospects season, but this time it was in November. Rubtsov was just starting to get the hang of the AHL in 2018-2019 with 10 points in 14 games before the injury, but thankfully has picked up the pace to start 2019-2020 as he sits with five points in five games to lead Lehigh Valley. Rubtsov, like Alexeyev, has had the injury bug follow him for pretty much the entirety of his career, but here is hoping it leaves him alone for good.
Players that do not deserve to be in the AHL
Nikolay Goldobin (VAN)
Poor Goldobin, he does not deserve to be in the AHL. He has nine points in four games for the dominate Utica squad, but also sits behind Reid Boucher (someone give him an NHL shot again please!!!) who has 10 points in five games. Someone save Goldy, he is too good for the AHL and I would rather him in the NHL than over in the KHL. Also, will a team please rescue Sven too! Come on. All GMs cannot be this un-smart, can they?
Filip Chytil (NYR)
The Rangers sent Chytil down to give him optimal minutes in the AHL, and it did make sense to me at the time, but as of right now the team is running Ryan Strome or Brett Howden at 2C and neither have the skill Chytil does. I assume this demotion is only short term as Chytil has found his mojo and deserves to be given a shot at the 2C role.
Christian Djoos (WSH)
Besides 30 NHL teams passing on him, with about 5-10 that could actually use him, it makes zero sense that he went to the AHL. Djoos is just towing with the AHL right now with seven points in seven games and makes everything look easy. The Jets recently claimed Luca Sbisa off waivers and I mean, really? Can I be an NHL GM, the job seems incredibly easy (from an armchair perspective haha).
Henrik Borgstrom (FLA)
After playing four games the Panthers decided that they should sign Brian Boyle and send Borgstrom down to the minors. Now there were times Borgstrom really just looked off but he is done with the AHL so taking away his spot for this season for an older player with zero scoring upside makes little sense, but that has kind of been the Panthers’ M.O. for a while now. Hopefully a team will recuse Borgstrom or the Panthers will see the error of the team’s ways and recall him once he regains his confidence.
When you can sign Boyle instead of playing Borgstrom, you gotta do it https://t.co/LKkLVQl4UX— Pat Quinn (not that one) (@FHPQuinn) October 20, 2019
Sebastian Aho (NYI)
I will continue to beat this drum as well, Aho is an NHLer and needs a chance to show that for at least a decent team. I thought he showed it when he played on the Islanders in 2017-2018 when the squad had such a bad structure they could not defend. Now with Lou and Trotz in charge (who notably prefer size over skill), as well as 137 defensemen signed to one-way deals (okay it is only seven, but they have Dobson up and barely play him). I hope he gets a shot after this season to show what he can do.
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