- Category: Feature Story
- Written by Dobber
Fantasy Hockey's NHL Prospect Organizational Rankings - Part 2
The final piece of the massive project that has taken DobberProspects a couple of months to compile and complete is now here. For details on how it was put together, see Part 1.
We considered the following criteria:
1. The amount of fantasy-worthy players. Team X with 12 guys with the potential to be on a fantasy hockey team in the future would score better here than Team Y with 10.
2. The quality of those players. If Team X's 12 guys are all of decent quality, but Team Y has nine guys of similar quality but one guy who is an absolute blue-chip stud, then Team Y's score will reflect that.
3. Upside at the NHL level. We in fantasy hockey prefer that potential 90-point long shot than the guaranteed grinder.
4. The wait time. If the aforementioned Team X has 12 guys, but none of them are expected in the NHL for three years, then the score will suffer. In fantasy hockey, we're not a patient lot.
And the above criteria explains the difference in fantasy hockey versus 'real' hockey. In 'real' hockey, organizations don't mind waiting. In 'real' hockey, organizations love a good grinder or defensive specialist as much as they would a second-line scorer. And in real hockey, they would sooner have the 'sure thing' third-liner than the 'long shot' star.
The panel, besides myself, included Managing Editor Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood), Associate Editor Rich Dillon (@RichDillon17), and Senior Writers Jason Banks, Eric Daoust (@DH_EricDaoust), Nathan Kanter (@NathanKanter11), Andrew Ward (@aWardAvs) and Kevin Won (@flamestalker).
Torey Krug is already making an impact at the NHL level, while Niklas Svedberg was the AHL goaltender of the year. Carl Soderberg looks good in what little action we've seen so far, and how about that Reilly Smith? Instead of a potential third-liner, could he be a potential scoring line guy? Looks like it so far. The Bruins are a deep team and can afford to bring their prospects along slowly, so that's the downside from a fantasy standpoint. Michael Boeckler covers the B's for DobberProspects.
The rich keep getting richer, as there are some very high-end fantasy prospects belonging to the Stanley Cup Champs. Teuvo Teravainen looks to be a potential superstar when he fills out, while Brandon Pirri is the reigning AHL scoring champion and is already making his mark at the NHL level. Adam Clendening could be the next puck-moving defenseman to watch while goaltender Antti Raanta is on track to be a potential Antti Niemi. The Blackhawks are covered on DobberProspects by Rex Doty (@nwo519).
The Av's overall fantasy prospect ranking is dragged upward quite a bit, thanks to some guy named Nathan MacKinnon. But Michael Sgarbossa is also a solid fantasy prospect and it's too soon to count out Stefan Elliott, who is coming off a rather horrible campaign. Andrew Ward (@awardavs) covers the Avs for DobberProspects.
Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are two of the best prospects to own in fantasy hockey. They're in the NHL now for good, so the Jets will likely take a tumble in the next edition of these rankings. But Josh Morrissey and Nic Petan were fantastic Top 50 picks in this past summer's draft. The Jets are covered by Kevin Won (@flamestalker).
Seth Jones is the best prospect defenseman to own in hockey. And already, still in October, can he even be called a prospect? He's established himself at the NHL level with authority. Filip Forsberg is also an NHLer, while Taylor Beck and Austin Watson are knocking on the door. Unfortunately, the Preds aren't known for their 65-point forwards, so that holds the organization's ranking down. Donesh Mazloum (@DMaz16) covers the Preds.
Even with Robin Lehner, J-G Pageau on the team, the Sens are still stacked with prospects who have fantasy upside. Cody Ceci leads the way, while Curtis Lazar was a solid pick at 17th overall back in June (he already has 17 points in just 10 WHL games for the Oil Kings). If Mark Stone could stay healthy, he's one to watch as well. The Sens are covered by Nathan Martin (@Martin4x6)
Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner are already on the team, but fantasy owners can still look forward to the likes of Kerby Rychel (19th overall, 2013) and Alexander Wennberg (14th overall, 2013), as well as the undrafted and underrated Jonathan Marchessault - who falls in the same category as Cory Conacher, Tyler Johnson, Mark Arcobello and David Desharnais. Tim Lucarelli (@tlucarelli) covers the Blue Jackets for DobberProspects.
With Valeri Nichushkin, Alex Chiasson and Kevin Connauton on the team now, the Stars are another team that could slide in the next edition. But they still boast the likes of Brett Ritchie, Radek Faksa, Jack Campbell and others, which should prevent them from falling too far. The Stars are a young team and still not very deep, so the wait time on some of these kids may not be as long as you'd think. Clayton Bailey (@cbaileytx) covers the Stars.
The panel voting had Columbus, Dallas and Minnesota ranked so close together that you could slide a sheet of paper in between them - but only barely. The Wild come out ahead, but Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Justin Fontaine and Mathew Dumba are with the big club - and Jason Zucker is knocking on the door. So some restocking of the shelves will be in order. Jamie Zadow (@jamiezadow) covers the Wild for DobberProspects.
Ryan Strome is one of the more coveted prospects in fantasy hockey and as a rookie-pro he's already leading Bridgeport in scoring. Ryan Pulock and Griffin Reinhart are stud defensemen, and on an up-and-coming team like the Islanders that makes them so much more appealing. Brad Wilson (@TALKwillie) covers the Isles.
The Ducks have a strong prospect core led by Emerson Etem, Hampus Lindholm, Patrick Maroon and Sami Vatanen who are with the team, and Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell knocking on the door. John Gibson is one of the better goalie prospects in hockey, but he faces tough competition in Frederik Andersen. One through four, the Ducks may have the best goalie group in the NHL. Kevin Won (@flamestalker) covers the Ducks.
Hang in there Sabres fans. Help is on the way. The three- or four-year wait will hurt though. From a fantasy standpoint, the good part is that your prospects will be rushed into the NHL and so you won't have to wait long. Not that it's helped Mikhail Grigorenko owners any. But Joel Armia should be with the club by next year and when the Sabres lose Ryan Miller, Matt Hackett should get plenty of opportunities. Travis Watson (@Twatson12) covers the Sabres.
With 30 teams and eight panelists, the highest score a team can get is 240. Just three teams reached the 200 mark. The Wings are a conveyor belt when it comes to fantasy hockey prospects. The problem is, you have to sit on them for five or six years. Even Gustav Nyquist, who was not only NHL ready this year, but better than half the veteran forwards on the Wings, is back dominating toiling in the AHL. If you wait until the prospects turn 22 or 23, chances are you'll have a good one on your hands within three years. Travis Watson, besides covering the Sabres, also covers the Red Wings (@Twatson12).
The Top 4 fantasy prospects in Florida's system are with the big club - Jacob Markstrom, Alexander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad and Drew Shore. The Panthers are widely regarded as having one of the best, if not the best, group of prospects in 'real' hockey and that's certainly the case on the fantasy side. But remove the four best from any team's list and that team is bound to slide down the charts the next time we compile these rankings. The Panthers are covered by Nathan Kanter (@NathanKanter11).
Well look at that. The best two teams when it comes to fantasy value among the prospects are both based in Florida. The Lightning were No.1 on four of the eight lists (including my own) and No.2 on the other two, for a score of 236 - almost perfect. But how can you argue? Their prospect forwards not only have upside, but seem destined to make the NHL. Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Richard Panik, Ondrej Palat and Radko Gudas are already here. Jonathan Drouin is probably the best hockey player not in the NHL, while Nikita Kucherov doesn't look like a rookie in the AHL given his hot start there. Randy Buschmann (@TheHockeyHitman) I'm sure has a lot of fun covering the Lightning for DobberProspects.