The top 2013 prospect for fantasy hockey, Clarkson's scoring emergence, replacing Karlsson, and more in this week's Prime Cuts.
1. If I am drafting with the top pick in a keeper league, I would take Jonathan Drouin over Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones. Drouin's offensive skill set is unbelievable, and I have been impressed with how he played without MacKinnon on his line at the World Juniors a few months ago.
It is a tossup who goes first overall right now, but I imagine one of the three will emerge as a clear-cut choice as the June draft grows closer. I think Drouin has more scoring upside than MacKinnon, and young defensemen tend to take a bit longer than forwards to gain fantasy value.
2. David Clarkson has quietly (at least outside of New Jersey) developed into one of the best power forwards in hockey. It goes to show what having the confidence of a coach can do for a player. Pete DeBoer, who coached Clarkson back during his OHL days with the Kitchener Rangers, has given him every opportunity to produce (especially on the power play). Clarkson has a knack for getting himself into the right position, and he has great hands around the net and on deflections.
Clarkson probably won't ever top the 50 point mark (he doesn't get enough assists), but he scored 30 goals and added 138 PIM last year. He's scoring at an even higher rate this season, with nine goals in 13 games. Here is more on his development into a scorer.
3. The Erik Karlsson injury probably means my chances of winning my head-to-head keeper this year are over. My team has struggled a bit over the past few years as I depend a lot on Sidney Crosby up front, but Karlsson is arguably more valuable with what he brings to the table relative to the rest of the NHL's blue liners.
You have to feel bad for Craig Anderson too, who has been lights out this season and now faces an even tougher task ahead with no Spezza and no Karlsson to rely on for goal support.
4. The Dallas Stars are expected to be among the chief beneficiaries of the NHL's proposed realignment.
Meanwhile the Blue Jackets are still hoping there’s a way to be put in the East, but it seems far-fetched.
Dallas appears unlikely to be one of the teams swapped, as they play division games two time zones away.
“Listen, there will always be issues no matter wha