David Pastrnak makes NHL debut, William Nylander injured, Nick Baptiste traded to play with potential future NHL linemate in Erie’s Connor McDavid and much, much more.
Tuesday, November 25th
I sat in the Windsor Spitfires scouts’ room last week prepping my notes for the Sarnia Sting game and just happened to hear a couple of Anaheim Ducks’ scouts talking about an outstanding game #42 had play. “Yup, he’s ready to play in the NHL” said the one scout. After quick research, I came to realize they were speaking about Josh Manson, Anaheim’s 6th round selection from the 2011 draft. Manson is the son of former NHLer Dave Mason and began his season with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL), where he was expected to spend the season. However, on October 31st the Ducks quickly changed their plans and he’s been up with the big club ever since. The former Captain of Northwestern University, Josh isn’t quite as nasty as his father was but he is a 6-foot-3 physical defenseman who won’t be easy to win battles against. From a fantasy hockey standpoint, his value lies in the peripheral categories for now but with him earning over 20 minutes per night, he’s bound to add a few points here and there.
Sticking with the Ducks, William Karlsson and Emerson Etem have been reassigned to Norfolk. The duo just wasn’t finding their way onto the gamesheet as Etem posted two goals and four points in 21 games while Karlsson notched a pair of goals and three points in 16 games. It won’t be the last time we see either of these kids this season but Norfolk might provide an opportunity for them to regain their scoring touch.
Speaking of “Karlsson”, how about Erik Karlsson-lite in Dallas? I mean, that John Klingberg has certainly looked pretty damn good in a Stars uniform. Of course it’s only been seven games (small sample size) but Klingberg already has two goals and six points as a defenseman. It’s not crazy to think Klingberg could be the next big offensive defenseman. I’m excited about him but disappointed he was scooped up hours before I went to add him in my keeper league. Kudos to that GM for keeping tabs.
For more Stars prospect news, Defending Big D does a great job keeping us up to date on their prospects. One player I liked from the 2014 draft class, Brett Pollock, is riding a seven game point streak totaling 14 points in the WHL. He’s a long-term prospect but owns great pro qualities. Dallas has one of the best prospect cupboards in the NHL, in my opinion of course.
For Buffalo Sabres fans and any other fan of a bottom-feeding team, top 2015 prospect Connor McDavid has resumed skating. Obviously, the return to the ice is a conditioning thing since he still has a month left to rehab his broken hand. When asked about his decision to fight, McDavid responded, “I think it was the right thing to do, I’d rather fight than turtle”. I like this kid even more.
When McDavid returns to the Erie Otters’ lineup, he will have the opportunity to play with a potential Sabres future linemate. Erie traded for Nick Baptiste Monday and he will surely help this team in McDavid’s absence and form a potent top line when he returns. Baptiste is a legit candidate to make Canada’s World Junior roster with McDavid as well.
McDavid’s biggest rival for the 2015 NHL Draft, Jack Eichel, leads the NCAA in scoring with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists).
Eichel leads BU to a number one ranking in the country.
“What makes Eichel so impressive is the fact that college hockey’s wide age range of its players creates an environment that makes it difficult for the younger players to produce. Eichel’s 1.90 points-per-game average this season puts him well ahead of some of the more recent college freshmen thatended up as high draft picks suchasPhil Kessel(1.30),James van Riemsdyk(1.09) andJonathan Toews(0.92) and going even further back,Zach Parise(1.56) andThomas Vanek(1.37).”
Maine coach Red Gendron: “It’s my humble opinion that Jack Eichel, if he were old enough, could be playing in the NHL right now.”
It’s quite remarkable that Jack Eichel is ranked second for the 2015 NHL Draft and that speaks to just how special Connor McDavid is. The fact is, both McDavid and Eichel are franchise players and NHL teams are going to receive a boost in their rebuild because of these talents.
This quote from Chris Peters’ piece couldn’t be more truthful,
“Even if Eichel doesn’t go first overall, whichever team ends up with the No.2 pick feel like they got a No. 1 out of the deal when they take the BU freshman. It’s a very special season to be following the NHL Entry Draft.”
Check out Eichel’s end-to-end rush to send Boston University to an overtime win over Maine:
If you haven’t heard me speak about him over the past year and a half, gloating most of the time, you certainly should be familiar with Mitch Marner’s name now. Marner went ahead and posted four goals and five points Friday evening and then returned Sunday to rifle off another five-point game Sunday. Needless to say, Mitch Marner was named the OHL Player of the Week (2GP-7G-3A-10P). He is the first repeat winner this season. Marner is absolutely tearing up the league, besting McDavid’s outstanding October, posting 21 goals and 39 goals over his current 13-game point streak.
On a personal note, I released my November Rankings prior to Mitch Marner’s breakout this weekend (stupid) where I placed him fourth despite wrestling for hours on the order between Mitch Marner, Pavel Zacha, Dylan Strome and Lawson Crouse. Regardless, as I stated in my release, I view these four players as a 2a, 2b, 2c and 2d situation. I’m big on Zacha, love Strome at times, respect Crouse’s pro potential and Marner’s ability to make his linemates better and create offense is well-suited to the new NHL.
You can view my OHL rankings here and can expect to see my full rankings (including all draft eligible players) once I get a few more viewings of the players competing overseas and outside of Ontario.
Another favourite of mine, Travis Konecny is beginning to heat up. Since being benched on November 16th, Konecny has seven points in three games.
Pavel Zacha is a great pro prospect and you can view my writeup of his skills here but two games after serving a suspension, Zacha is suspended indefinitely for his hit on Travis Wood, jeopardizing his WJC with the Czech Republic.
Max Domi is a new player this year and really cashing in on his own potential. The Coyotes first rounder has only been held pointless in two games this season and has registered 12 goals and 47 points through the first third of the OHL season. The Knights forward is showing a better all-around game, playing to his strengths as BOTH a playmaker and sniper, utilizing his linemates much more than in the past. He is in the middle of a seven-game point streak (six goals, 22 points).
Had Mitch Marner not torched the OHL last week, New York Islanders prospect Michael Dal Colle probably would have deserved the OHL Player of the Week honours after extending his point streak 10 games (10 goals, 26 points). Dal Colle posted a five-point game and two three-point games last week and remains one of the OHL’s hottest scorers. The OHL’s best are really showing up this year.
Leafs William Nylander has played well above any expectation of him in Sweden’s top league scoring 14 points through his first dozen games. Unfortunately, Nylander was injured in a fluke incident where he was kicked in the back of the head by a teammate
Nylander’s injury, suspected concussion, could put his World Junior chances in jeopardy. I’ve got tickets so I’m selfishly hoping this isn’t the case.
Head Scout Dave Morrison speaks about Nylander and other Leafs prospects.
With no points in his past five games, I wonder if Washington would loan Andre Burakovsky to Sweden to play in the 2015 World Juniors? His stat line of three goals and 12 points (20 games) is pretty impressive especially when you factor in this slump.
Looking towards Canada’s WJC team – Bo Horvat coming off a three assist night following a game where he scored his first career NHL goal. Horvat is rocking a 60% faceoff proficiency rate and his icetime spiked to 14:26 so it is looking more and more unlikely that he will be loaned for the WJC.
Curtis Lazar is in a similar situation playing good defensive hockey and Ottawa probably won’t be loaning him either.
Jonathan Drouin would be a dream come true for Hockey Canada’s selection committee but Bob McKenzie considers him “highly unlikely” and I would certainly agree.
Canada’s best hope at a returning NHLer appears to be Anthony Duclair (New York Rangers) but even his play has improved as of late and that won’t help his chances.
Decisions on the NHL players need to be made by December 19th when the NHL Holiday trade freeze kicks in. Team Canada will announce the 28-32 roster for the final camp on Monday, December 1st. From there, Canada will have several exhibition games to narrow their team down to the final roster. One thing is for certain, there will be a lot of “why isn’t player A or player B on the team?” statements made. Don’t be surprised when there are several high-end prospects left off of the roster – it speaks to Canada’s tremendous depth.
Assuming no NHL players return, here’s how my team would look right now:
Michael Dal Colle – Connor McDavid – Sam Reinhart
Max Domi – Nic Petan – Jake Virtanen
Jason Dickinson – Robby Fabbri – Nick Baptiste
Nicholas Ritchie – Brayden Point – Morgan Klimchuk
Returns from Bo Horvat/Anthony Duclair would push one of Klimchuk/Gauthier out of the lineup.
Haydn Fleury – Josh Morrissey
Darnell Nurse – Madison Bowey
Chris Bigras – Shea Theodore
I would love to see Detroit Red Wings prospect Joe Hicketts get a shot and Josh Ho-Sang (forward) but I’m betting these two are destined for the 2016 WJC Team.
Boston Bruins top defensive prospect, Joe Morrow, picked up his first NHL goal/point last night. In last night’s last to the Penguins in overtime, Morrow skated just over 15 minutes (29 second on the powerplay) and finished plus-2.
Bruins’ top offensive prospect, David Pastrnak, drew into his first career NHL game and played 7:53 minutes on the night, including 1:21 with the man advantage. Pastrnak had been lighting up the AHL as a rookie with five goals and 18 points (17 games).
Pastrnak’s post-game interview:
Thanks for reading,
@RossyYoungblood (Brendan Ross)
As always, feel free to converse, comment or rambling in the comment section below.