I can’t stress this enough – TRAINING CAMP LINES AND PERFORMANCE DON”T MATTER. How many times have we been sucked into a terrible fantasy pick because they lined up next to McDavid or Crosby for a few days in training camp or pre-season? Too many. Take everything with several grains of salt…
That being said, there are a couple things we CAN potentially garner from these early combos:
- Are the bubble prospects lining up with depth names, real lines, or other prospects? This can help us figure out if it’s their job to lose, or if it’s a more even battle between hopefuls.
- If the player does manage to crack the roster – where did the coach envision them?
- Who could benefit from contract holdouts?
So let’s take a look at a few early combinations we’ve seen and what we can take away from it (again, with a grain of salt). Thank you to a wide range of users on twitter, HFboards, and the big sports sites!
In Anaheim, the top right-wing spot beside Getzlaf initially went to to Troy Terry. This may not always be the case, but considering the plethora of young scoring options Anaheim has, that is a good indicator for Terry. Sam Steel got to play beside Rakell however, which is arguably just as good of a position.
In Toronto, we saw pairings of Reilly/Ceci, Muzzin/Barrie, and Sandin/Schmaltz. Those look like some authentic day-one lines, which would bode well for Rasmus Sandin. But there are tons of depth options there so be wary.
On the other hand, one of Florida’s top prospects Owen Tippett was skating with Cliff Pu and Dryden Hunt. A high-scoring position isn’t exactly being handed to him on a platter.
On the island, we saw glimpses of Oliver Wahlstrom alongside Barzal. Extremely promising for the scoring prospect, but a look at the depth chart will tell you that this is unlikely to survive for long.
Similar story in Dallas, where Denis Gurianov got a look alongside Pavelski and Benn on the second line. The difference here is that Perry’s injury legitimately opens up a top-six spot, so I would say Gurianov’s chances of actually locking down that spot are slightly better than Wahlstrom’s.
One exciting combo seen in New York is Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko. I bet we see a ton of combos over the next few weeks given the number of kids vying for ice time, but Good for Chytil for earning the first crack beside the 2nd-overall-pick.
Martin Necas has begun training camp on the third line in Carolina on Haula’s wing. With the top-six almost identical to what took them to the conference finals last season, this may be an actual valid indication of where they see him lining up this year. The other interesting note here is that he was lining up as a winger and not a centerman. Worth keeping an eye on since this changes his value in multi-category leagues.
Another interesting one in Carolina – Haydn Fleury’s defense partner was… Justin Faulk. Normally this would be impressive, but given the trade rumors about Faulk who was reportedly almost traded to Anaheim last week, this may not actually be a great sign that Fleury is being paired with the guy who won’t be around in a week.
As Konecny holds out for a contract in Philadelphia, the benefactor has been Joel Farabee practicing alongside Giroux and Couturier. Similar to my Anaheim note earlier – the Flyers have a few options for that empty spot, and the fact that Farabee is getting the first crack at it tells you that the organization thinks very highly of him.
One unexpected line in Habs camp so far is Ryan Poehling centering Peca and Varone. After a 4-goal NHL debut I would have expected him to be given some more legitimate players to practice with as the team figures out where they want him. I would assume that if he is destined to make the team, he will at least get the chance to skate beside some of his teammates.
Dylan Gambrell was being used on the wing in San Jose, which normally isn’t ideal, but I’d say skating with Kane and Hertl is worth switching positions for if he can lock it down.
Hopefully we can glean a little but of value from these observations, but I’ll reiterate once more – DON’T GAMBLE ON TRAINING CAMP RESULTS. Take what you can from what we see, but come Day 1 of the regular season, rely on your instincts and common sense.
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- 2020 NHL Draft Fantasy Rankings
- Prospect Ramblings: Calder Power Rankings 004
- Prospect Ramblings: Just How Good is Cale Makar?
- Prospect Ramblings: Player A vs. Player B
- 2021 NHL Draft Ranking: Finnish prospects (December 2019)
- WHL Report - December 2019
- Shift Work: Lucas Raymond
- QMJHL Report - December 2019