Great news Dobber readers, Dobber has announced he will be releasing a Midseason Fantasy Guide. There was some doubt due to his health battle but the good news is he is well enough to make it happen. I will be contributing again this year and as you may have guessed, my contribution will be prospect focused – From the 2017 Draft I will have top drafted players trending up, and down since the draft, and for the 2018 Draft an early look at the top fantasy value prospects.
You can pre-order and get more info here
With Christmas just around the corner, our World Junior coverage here has really ramped up with plenty of articles diving deep into the players you need to watch. Be sure to read our previous Ramblings and Feature articles for all you need to know for the upcoming WJC.
And when the tournament starts, get all you stats info from this great site EliteProspects, who just launched their 2018 WJC page here
Want even more great WJC coverage? Our friends at McKeens are launching their first WJC Guide for subscribers on December 24th. Get all the details and subscription info here.
Because we have such extensive coverage already, I will wait until the games start before I dive back in.
Trade News, there were a few minor NHL prospect trades and some CHL trades recently. The first one seems pretty minor to say the least; The Arizona Coyotes traded Michael Leighton and a 2019 fourth-round pick to Pittsburgh for Sean Maguire, Josh Archibald and a 2019 sixth-round pick. My reaction to this trade was “Meh“
But then I read Dobbers Tweet in reaction to the trade…
Maguire an under-the-radar goalie who could be better than Wedgewood. We'll need to see more of him to know for sure, but this has my attention. Only 24, that sweet spot for prospect goalies to get noticed in fantasy https://t.co/muAscZ6Kmw— Dobber (@DobberHockey) December 19, 2017
So who is Sean Maguire? At first glance by glossing over his profile and stats on EliteProspects, nothing to get excited about. He is splitting time between the AHL and ECHL the last two seasons and his ECHL GAA is over 3.0 in both those years. But look a little deeper and you see some more impressive numbers from his time in the NCAA with the Boston Terriers in the NCAA and after reading his profile and the updates from our Pittsburgh writer Mark Allen you will see he missed an entire season and has had some injury battles in his career. He is a gaolie with size, and as Dobber pointed out is 24-years-old (a key development year for goalies). As a prospect with the Coyotes now, he has a less competition for the starting position in the NHL with Antti Raanta and Scott Wedgewood currently backstopping the Yotes there is certainly opportunity for improvement. In the system, Adin Hill and Merrick Madson likely offer the strongest competition. I was impressed with what I saw of Madson in the Bean Pot Tournament last year and think he is another quality sleeper. At only 1% Fantrax ownership Maguire is widely available and if you have some patience he could be well worth the investment.
In another trade, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars. Oleksiak, a former first round pick of the Stars was never able to see much ice in the NHL with Dallas and was a regular in the press box for them. He will get a fresh start in Pittsburgh with less competition and depth to block his path to the NHL. The trade is good for his fantasy value, but the towering defenseman really only offers value in leagues with peripheral stats such as hits and blocks.
One prospect I was able to see a lot during his junior days in Kingston was Ryan Kujawinski. His game at the pro level hasn’t developed like I hoped it would and I cut bait on him in all my fantasy leagues where I owned him. Kujawinski was drafted by the New Jersey Devils and was recently traded for Michael Latta to the Arizona Coyotes. This trade actually hurts Kujawinski’s fantasy value as the Coyotes are so rich in forward prospects, that the chances of Kujawinski cracking the NHL go from slim to none.
Sticking with the Arizona Coyotes, prospect Nick Merkley was recently recalled and will make his NHL debut tonight, December 19th against Florida. Merkley is an undersized, feisty scoring forward coming from the WHL and in his rookie AHL season has been great posting 12 goals and 24 points in 20 games in Tucson, ranking him second in goals and third in points for AHL rookies. At only 17% Fantrax owned, he could be worth a look in your fantasy league.
Merkley’s recall came at the expense of Dylan Strome, who was returned to Tucson after playing in nine games with Arizona and with a total of 11 games this year he has only managed one goal. On the flip side, his AHL stats are outstanding; 26 points in 15 games as a rookie leads the AHL in points per game.
So this begs the question, Is Strome a bust?
In my opinion, no. He is still only 20-years-old and could still figure out how to translate his scoring to the NHL level. Patience is required with some players as the jump from league-to-league can be difficult and is significant. What is holding Strome back in the NHL is his foot speed and the rate he thinks the game. Of course he could improve his strength as well and as he continues to develop and improve his strength and speed he will eventually stick with the Coyotes. However, I would listen to the argument that perhaps it’s time to recalculate his ceiling. When the Coyotes drafted him third overall in 2015 ahead of Mitch Marner, Brock Boeser, Mathew Barzal, Zach Werenski etc. the Coyotes were hoping for a franchise type first line center. That may not pan out but I still believe he could develop into a solid NHL player with fantasy value.
One of this week’s trending players is Bruins prospect Danton Heinen. He has been on fire lately with seven points in his last four games with Boston. On Fantrax he has positional eligibility on both wings and at center He is only 39% owned with a salary cap hit under a million. The Frozen Pool line combinations over the past ten games has him playing on a line with David Backes and Riley Nash on the second line and some PP time as well. On the season Heinen has quietly posted 22 points in 28 games and is well worth claiming if he is available.
For the first time in five weeks, Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart was not named the WHL goalie of the week. Hart was named top goalie for four straight weeks as we head into the WJC Tournament. Hart has been red hot and posts an impressive 13-3 record with five shut outs, a 1.32 league best GAA and 0.961 SV% which is also tops in the WHL. The 19-year-old has a 25% Fantrax ownership, which seems very low to me. Perhaps because goalies tend to take longer to develop, but Hart was good enough at the Flyers training camp this summer to ear his ELC contract, and after dominating this year the way he has, and how I expect his profile and stock to sky rocket after the WJC as Canada’s starting goalie now is the time to try to acquire Hart.
Another Philadelphia Flyer prospect getting some recognition as the CHL player of the week is Morgan Frost of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Frost scored four goals and eight points in three games last week and is riding a personal 11 game point streak. The Flyers 2017 first round pick is 13% Fantrax owned and is still a few years away from the NHL to be sure, but seems to be developing nicely.
Be sure to visit some of our team pages as we have added several new writers to the staff lately.
Joining our team is
Boston Bruins – Mark Allred
Detroit Red Wings – Mark Hillier
Florida Panthers – Jokke Nevalainen
Nashville Predators – Tyler Halsy
Ottawa Senators – Marcus Griep
If you think you would be a good fit for our writing and scouting team let me know by sending me a PM either on the Dobber forum on via Twitter. This is a great way to start, or expand your writing career and portfolio.
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