Prospect Ramblings: First NHL Goals keep coming

by Hayden Soboleski on December 1, 2019

 

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There have been so many players scoring their first ever NHL goals this season that I’ve already dedicated two Ramblings entirely to the cause (last edition can be found here https://dobberprospects.com/prospect-ramblings-first-nhl-goals-from-players-worth-watching/). Thanks to the incredible list of rookies on the NHL circuit this year, I have enough new content from the last 3 weeks to do it again. 

 

You’ve probably seen this beauty from Morgan Frost in his first NHL game – imagine having the confidence to go for this against a Vezina-winner and the hands to actually finish. He’s going to score a lot of points for the Flyers. Since this goal, he’s up to 3 points in 7 games played, and (as you may have guessed from this clip) his SOG totals are fantastic (3-per-game average). He’s not bringing you any peripherals, but this kid’s offensive fantasy ceiling is sky high.

 

Speaking of having confidence – what about Cale Fleury choosing to keep deking his way through the slot rather than pass it off, and then finishing it off with a goal on the backhand? Definitely didn’t see that coming for what is his only point in 20 games. He’s the fantasy opposite of Frost – be brings huge hit totals (60 in 20 games so far), pretty good block totals, but no offense to speak of. If he sees more ice time though, he could have one of the highest hit counts in the league one day!

 

Big man Nikolai Prokhorkin pots his first NHL goal by doing exactly what he was brought over to do – get to the net to clean up garbage. His 4 points in 10 games is ok, but he’s been fairly average in most fantasy categories so he remains a “wait-and-see” in most fantasy formats. That being said, just-ok stat totals is pretty good for someone seeing just 10 minutes a night TOI.

 

Carson Soucy snipes one past a ready goaltender for his first, but my favorite part is him jumping over the (attempted) shot blocker immediately after. No real lowdown to be had here – he’s probably a fantasy free agent in your league, and should probably stay that way. 

 

Immediately after his call-up, Pierre Engvall’s AHL coach became his NHL coach. In his first game as a Leafs, he uses his long reach and deceptive speed to get himself a shorthanded breakaway and score a beauty of a first NHL goal. Despite his strong play by most eye tests, his TOI is still below 10 minutes TOI. As the Leafs get Moore and Marner back in the near future, he’s one of the only waiver-exempt options to send down in the bottom-six. So his time may be up soon, but he is officially at the top of the call-up list.

 

Rookie or not, you can’t leave a player as wide open as the Rangers PK left Logan Brown. He has all the time in the world, and he makes no mistake to bury one with a wicked shot. A highly-touted prospect, I’m still not sure fans could have expected 6 points in his first 12 games. He’s producing at a sustainable clip despite limited ice time, and he appears to be a legitimate depth fantasy option already. If you have room on a dynasty league bench, or a deep keeper league bench, take a look.

 

Some first goals are fought for, and some are gifted. Logan O’Connor’s was a gift from Edmonton, making him the first player to score for the city of Colorado at the NCAA, AHL, and NHL level. He’s a reliable performer at the AHL level who can forecheck well enough to be an NHL fill-in for now, but stay away in short-term fantasy. He’s unowned in even the deepest dynasty leagues. He has a reasonable chance of becoming a bottom-six NHLer one day, but once the Avs get healthy he’ll be out of the lineup quickly.

 

There’s a common theme in a lot of first NHL goals – too much time and space. Jesper Boqvist is allowed to walk in unobstructed from the blueline to the slot and he doesn’t make a mistake after that. His 2 points in 12 games is about as unimpressive as most Devils-related topics, but his vital signs are decent thanks to pretty good shooting and hitting rates despite small ice time and limited special-teams utilization. I wouldn’t want him for the rest of this campaign, but I think there’s something there to watch in the future.

 

Fantasy owners have been patient with Klim Kostin. He’s spent more time in the AHL than many would have liked, and his production never matched his WJC performances. He scores on a hard wrister for his first, showing us that he still has the tools to be dangerous. His moderate shooting rate wasn’t enough to keep him in the lineup for long, so be prepared to continue that patience.

 

A few DobberProspect writers were very excited to see Noah Gregor called up to the Sharks. After 11 games skating just over 8 minutes per night, he scored an absolute gem of a first NHL goal, going top speed to beat a defenseman to the puck and then launching his shot off while still at top speed. That’s how you show you’ve got NHL skills. He’s not fantasy-relevant for 2019-20, but he’s another high-ceiling prospect thanks to plays like this one:

 

Sometimes, the routine shots from the point just find a way into the net. Brendan Guhle sure won’t complain. A well-rounded fantasy performer, Guhle is tuning into a reasonable pickup if you’re ina deep league that counts everything. He’ll give you a couple points, a few hits, blocks, ok SOG, nothing big just there being helpful. He gets more TOI than most rookie d-men too. 

 

David Gustafsson has the rare ability to say that be skated around Erik Karlsson on his way to his first NHL goal. He’s got almost nothing going for him in any fantasy hockey formats, but he will always have this great rush.

 

 

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Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih