This was an excellent week for player evaluation content. First and foremost – our very own Cam Robinson put out his Top 100 Draft rankings. This is a must-read for prospect junkies, check it out here: https://dobberprospects.com/cam-robinsons-2018-nhl-draft-rankings-top-100-march-2018/
The second exciting release this week was the OHL Coaches Poll results. Pretty self explanatory – OHL coaches are polled for their opinion on a huge number of categories, identifying prospects that stand out as the best of the best among their peers. This insight is extremely important because:
1. OHL coaches know their stuff better than 99% of us, and this is a good opportunity to learn about players,
2. Coaches liking how players do their job is a HUGE contribution to the opportunities they will receive down the line. Not all coaches will have the same opinions all the time, but they talk to each other and being a like-able prospect to the staff goes a long ways to progressing up the pro ranks. So the rest of this article is 100% worthy of fantasy consideration.
Lets look at some of the most fantasy-relevant awards that got handed out:
Smartest Player (East):
Smartest Player (West):
In my opinion, this is probably the most important award. Any talented player can be shut down by a smart defence, and a smart player will always find the best way to utilize their talent. There's a reason scouts always talk about "hockey IQ" – its because thats what allows players to adapt as they turn pro and face the toughest opponents. Players winning this award are future NHLers.
Best Shot (East)
Best Shot (West)
T2. Nic Suzuki (VGK)
The NHL requires elite skill. These guys were voted to have the best tool at putting ucks in the net. Most of them are commonplace fantasy names already – take note if you dont have these guys on your radra yet.
Best Offensive Defenceman (East)
Best Offensive Defenceman (West)
Pretty obvious fantasy connotations in this voting. Not all offensive d-men make it to the NHL, but the ones who do are some of the most fantasy-relevant prospects to own. The reason I only included the winner and not top 3 here is because Hague and Bouchard absolutely ran away in the voting counts (almost 4x as many votes as 2nd place).
Best Defensve Defeceman (East)
1. Joey Keane (2018 Eligible)
T3. Riley Brice (CGY)
Best Defensive Defenceman (West)
The relevance of this award requires some thought. In a junior league like the OHL, you dont have to be an all-star to develop into a purely defensive role. Obviously this is still an honor for the winners, but its rare for d-men to take the next step unless they are all-around threats. That being said – Western winner Conor Timmins (who was miles ahead of 2nd place in oting) is scoring at over a point-per-game pace which makes this defensive award even more impressive. If a player can put up points while still getting defensively recognized – thats gold.
Best Skater (East)
Best Skater (West)
Only a couple players received the majority of voting here as well, but we shouldn't be surprised. A potential #1 pick, the fastest player in the OHL, and the best at technical edgework all deserve the shoutout.
Best Playmaker (East)
Best Playmaker (West)
I saved one of the best categories for last, and its not a coincidence that the "best playmakers" also showed up in the "smartest player" category. Those that placed in both rankings are the true gems – these guys have the brains and the skill to conquer ant setbacks they encounter as they jump to the NHL. Target these fantasy assets as soon as they are relevant to your league.
For the few of you who have been following along in the #DPFHL (the deep deep dynasty league with teams operated by DobberProspect team writers) – we are down to 8 teams remaining. Your team writers for Toronto, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Vegas, Calgary, Arizona, and of course, Colorado (yours truly) are still on contention of the ultimate prospect-writer's honors.
One First NHL Goal for you this week:
Andreas Johnsson wins the "happiest player" award in this article
Thank you for reading, and best of luck in the depths of fantasy playoffs!