Prospects Ramblings: College Hockey Signings You Need To Know

by Peter Harling on March 26, 2018

Last week in my ramblings I spoke about some NCAA college players that signed and are free agents.  This weekend Hayden took the ball and ran with it covering a number of players that signed since my original post.

Since the weekend a number of prominent prospects have dropped out of the NCAA Tournament and have since signed their ELC contracts. These players are very likely to make their NHL debuts this year effectively burning a year of their ELC  and more importantly, moving front and centre on your fantasy watch list as prospects you need to look at for you next fantasy draft.

Each year we see more and more prospects stepping into the NHL and having an immediate impact on the score sheet. Mathew Barzal, Brock Boeser, Clayton Keller, and Mikhail Sergachev are a few that may be winning you your league this year.

Let’s get caught up with who the latest additions are.

Casey Mittelstadt – Buffalo Sabres

Some underrated Mittelstadt in his draft year because he played the majority of the year in Highschool. That was a mistake. His freshman year of college hockey was a success and his performance with USA at the World Junior was dominant. He is a one-and-done college player and will have an immediate impact with Buffalo playing behind Jack Eichel in the second line center position. Look for similar success that Mathew Barzal had playing as a rookie behind John Tavares on Long Island this year. 37% Fantrax ownership means he is potentially available and if you need to look at drafting him, project him in the neighbourhood of 60-70 points

Henrik Borgstrom – Florida Panthers

When the Panthers drafted him, many people thought Florida was reaching in picking him at 23rd overall. But since then he has silenced those critics by being named the NCAA Rookie of the Year and Leading Denver to a NCAA Championship. In his sophomore season he earned a Hobey Baker nomination as top College player and is the Panthers top prospect. Borgstrom will compete for a roster position to start the year in Florida at the start of next season and should be competing for a top six spot before the season ends. Borgstrom is currently only 22% owned on Fantrax so if you can add him now, don’t hesitate. Otherwise draft him early.

Adam Gaudette – Vancouver Canucks

Gaudette has become one of our most viewed profiles, and for good reason. Our Canucks writer Cam Robinson does a good job of pumping his tires and it’s easy to see why. He is a Hobey Baker finalist, and was named the Hockey East Player of the Year as the NCAA point leader. At 21-years-old the 6-1, 183 pound center is already strong defensively and dynamic offensively. Watch to see what level of impact he can make out of the gate as the Canucks season winds down but don’t sleep on this kid as he is projected to make an impact in a top six role as soon as immediately. His Fantrax ownership at 14% is surely to skyrocket so don’t be left behind.

Dylan Sikura – Chicago Blackhawks

After playing out his full four year term of College eligibility there was some quiet concern from Hawks fans that Sikura could wait for the August 15th deadline and become a free agent. The worry was that he has had back-to-back 50+ point season for North Eastern and recently led them to a Beanpot Title. Sikura was also appointed to Team Canada for the Spengler Cup where they won the Championship, and was strongly considered for the Olympic roster as well. The Two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist quickly has put any fear to rest as he signed and will make his NHL debut this week, and as our Hawks writer Tony Carr pointed out I the latest update he should get a good audition to close out the season and give a good preview for your coming drafts. At only 9% Fantrax owned there is a tremendous opportunity to add a highly skilled 22-year-old center, don’t sleep on Sikura!

Jordan Greenway – Minnesota Wild

Don’t expect Greenway to post big offensive numbers in the NHL. But do expect massive all-around value from peripheral stats. Think Milan Lucic or Scott Hartnell. Greenway will provide lots of hits, blocks, PIM’s and chip in some points as well. Count on him being planted in front of the net on the PP. Again, in a points only league temper expectations, but in a multi-cat league draft much earlier. His Fantrax ownership is at 19%

Dylan Gambrell – San Jose Sharks

Gambrell has scored a point per game offense or better in the NCAA for three straight years with the University of Denver and has a NCAA Championship on his resume. He may need some AHL seasoning before he makes it to the NHL and as our San Jose Sharks writer points out in his latest update, there is opportunity on their AHL roster. Gambrell is only 4% owned on Fantrax and is likely to be overlooked in a lot of fantasy drafts. He could be a great value pick in the later rounds.

Nolan Stevens – St. Louis Blues

The Blues 2016 fifth round pick has steadily developed in his tenure at Northeastern University and had a breakout senior season as Captain, leading the Huskies to a Beanpot Championship and posting 42 points in 38 games. Stevens will debut with the Blues this year and with the quality of prospects the Blues boast will need the audition to make an impression to make the cut full time in the NHL next year. At only 1% Fantrax owned he would be a great gamble for a value pick.

Joni TuulolaChicago Blackhawks

The 21-year-old has signed and been assigned to the AHL affiliate in Rockford for the balance of the season. He has good size and the Hawks have plenty of opportunity on the backend that could lend to a short route to the NHL. The 2016 World Junior Gold Medal winning defenceman posted 30 points in 58 games in the Liiga this year and will have a head start in adapting to the North American game during the final stretch of the season in the AHL.

C.J. Suess – Winnipeg Jets

A way under the radar prospect, Suess was a late round pick of the Jets (5th round, 129 in 2014) and has quietly been developing in his four years at Minnesota State University where he spent the last two as Captain. The 24-year-old winger had a breakout senior year breaching the point per game pace with 22 goals and 43 points earning his first Hobey Baker Award nomination. He is only 1% owned on Fantrax so he is widely available and would be a great value pick late in you coming drafts.

Will Borgen – Buffalo Sabres

The 21-year-old defenseman is leaving the NCAA as a junior and will likely play out this year in the AHL with Rochester. The 6-2, 187 pound defenseman plays a physical game and offers more value in multi-cat leagues as his offensive ceiling is low.

Eric Robinson – Columbus Blue Jackets

An undrafted prospect,  Robinson is a big Left Wing at 6-2 and 201 pounds. The 22-year-old posted a career year with 17 goals, 31 points and 44 penalty minutes in 36 games as the Captain in his senior year. Robinson could be a valuable depth prospect that lends peripheral stats such as hits and PIM’s in a bottom six role.

Mitch Reinke – St. Louis Blues

This isn’t a player I know much about. The undrafted defenseman signed as 22-year-old free agent after two seasons at Michigan Tech. In his sophomore year he posted three goals and 24 points in 35 games, so there is some offensive upside there.

Recalled to the NHL

Some notable recalls to the NHL recently to watch and gauge their NHL success as they will be given serious consideration to make the NHL next year include

Warren Foegele – Carolina Hurricanes

Foegele scored his first career NHL goal against the Ottawa Senators, and by the looks of it, it wont be his last. I have been pumping his tires on the DobberProspects Podcast for a while now, hope you were listening. His Fantrax ownership is only at 6% despite posting 42 points as an AHL rookie. I fully expect he will be a regular for the Canes next season.

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Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson – New York Rangers

The Rangers recalled their top two prospects for a late season audition. I recently ranked the Top Ten New York Rangers Prospects for My NHL Trade Rumors Here is what I had to say about each.

On Lias Andersson…

Perhaps the Rangers future Captain, Andersson was the Captain for Team Sweden at the World Junior scoring six goals and seven points in seven games and leading Sweden to a Silver Medal, which he immediately threw away into the stands after being presented with it. His compete level and drive to win is commendable and translates into his game. Andersson may not have the elite high skill level many top-ranked prospects obtain, and his offensive ceiling may not be that high, but his path to the NHL could be as short as the start of next season.

On Filip Chytil…

The Rangers picked two players in the first round of the 2017 Draft in Andersson and Chytil and both went straight to the AHL as rookies from the draft. Chytil has also made his NHL debut this season playing in two games, but his most impressive performance may have been with the Czech Republic at the World Junior where his line was dominant at times and he posted four points in seven games. Chytil has had an impressive development year posting 30 points as an 18-year-old AHL rookie and has added an inch and 12 pounds onto his frame since his draft measurements at 6-1 and 178 pounds. With the Rangers youth movement in full effect, look for Chytil to make the jump to the NHL as soon as the end of this season as Hartford is not a playoff bound team.

Thanks for reading

Cheers!