Welcome back to another Thursday ramblings for yours truly. Now that I have finished my top five prospects on an NHL team per division series (also I kind of butchered some of it), it is time to get back into the thick of current prospects…. And by that apparently I meant talk about the NCAA a bunch, enjoy!
Let’s get to it!
The ten finalists for this year’s Hobey Baker Award have been announced. Here are the candidates:
- Henrik Borgstrom, F, Denver (FLA)
- Ryan Donato, F, Harvard (BOS)
- Matthew Galajda, G, Cornell (FA)
- Adam Gaudette, F, Northeastern (VAN)
- Dylan McLaughlin, F, Canisius (FA)
- Cale Morris, G, Notre Dame (FA)
- Colton Point, G, Colgate (DAL)
- Jimmy Schuldt, D, St. Cloud State (FA)
- Dylan Sikura, F, Northeastern (CHI)
- C.J. Suess, F, Minnesota State (WPG) because of course Winnipeg has a prospect up for the Hobey Baker award
Adam Gaudette is the points leader of the crew making him the favorite. Do not rule out Donato who had to cut his season short to play in the Olympics where he put up six points, five of them goals, for team USA in five games
All three goalie free agents have insane numbers so I cannot see one of them winning the ward of the others
Dylan Sikura has also had a pretty stellar season so I would say he has a good chance as well to win the award. There is no run-away favorite this year for the Hobey Baker and all 10 candidates are deserving.
Borgstrom is the best one to own for fantasy hockey purposes though, as he will be the best of the bunch
Fantasy hockey note: Do not overrate college UFA’s, can they become NHLers heck yeah but they rarely pan out to be consistent top six forwards. Also perhaps I am overrating here but I think Borgstrom can be a top line player, but good luck to him attempting to play centre ahead of Trochek and Barkov
You know what; let’s stay the college route for a bit
Daniel Brickley is said to be the most sought after College free agent this 2018 season, as the defenseman really jumped out on everyone’s radar last season when he put up 31 points in 31 games, and played for team USA at the IIHF World Championship in 2016-2017. This season Brickley is just under a point per game for Minnesota State, and is sixth on the team in points and fourth in shots.
He does have a shot to make an NHL roster in the upcoming 2018-2019 season, and at 6-3 and 205 lbs you can bet NHL teams are lining up. Brickley’s issue is his skating and as long as he can improve that he will be able to make an NHL roster eventually.
There are rumblings of a couple of NCAA drafted players that could become free agents and forego the team that drafted them. They are:
- Christian Wolanin, Ottawa – Rumour has it he could become a free agent sooner if he leaves the University of North Dakota a year early, as in at the end of this year. Another loop hole in the CBA for college players.
- Brian Pinho, Washington – This one surprised me as I feel there could be room for Pinho on the Capitals after a season or two in the AHL. He is more of a playmaker than a shooter, and is also a good two-way forward, but if he makes the NHL he will as a bottom six forward.
I can see these two players becoming free agents to find a team where their paths to the NHL would be quicker:
- C.J. Suess, Winnipeg – I put him here because Winnipeg’s line up is stacked and if I was him I would go to free agency as you could find a better opportunity on a team with a thinner roster up front.
- Louis Belpedio, Minnesota – I am more on the fence here as Belpedio is a solid defenseman but Minnesota is also pretty set on defense. Then I remembered how Suter is getting older and Spurgeon only plays 50% of the games every year. There is a chance he could stick but looking at what Minnesota has I could also see him become a free agent.
The San Jose Sharks signed the 2014 second round pick Maxim Letunov to an entry level contract, which will either be two or three years. The 6-4 Letunov is really on the slim side being 170 lbs and can get pushed off the puck very easily on board battles, but he does have the skills to be a medium to high rated prospect, if he can put it all together. His 28 points in 36 games may seem low for a player in his third year in the NCAA, but he is leading the team in points and is consistently Connecticut’s most dangerous player.
Not much of the season is left in the CHL; around four days left, but let’s look at the finalized scoring races
In the OHL the top five point producers are:
- Aaron Luchuk – 110
- Morgan Frost – 110
- Jordan Kyrou – 108
- Nick Suzuki – 94
- Sam Miletic – 91
- Dmitiri Sokolov is at 90 and clicking with top prospect Andrei Svechnikov
In the WHL the top five point producers are:
- Jayden Halbgewachs – 125
- Glenn Gawdin – 124
- Aleksi Heponiemi – 118
- Brayden Burke – 113
- Matthew Phillips – 111
In the QMJHL the top five point producers are:
- Alex Barré-Boulet – 113
- Vitalii Abramov – 102
- Alexandre Alain – 85
- Kevin Klima – 85
- Maxime Comtois – 83
That is all
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