Hanowski may be a rookie, but his hair has been in the league for 20 years.
At this time of the year there are many prospects that are signed to entry-level contracts. Some are drafted players who finished their junior or college season while others are undrafted free agents who have made an impression on NHL clubs. With most people currently focused on the final stretch of their fantasy leagues, this is a chance to take note of, and in some cases acquire, some prospects who can help you in the coming years.
The focus will be put on salary cap leagues so financial factors will play a large role in which prospects are profiled. As they develop they will be excellent call-ups to cover for injuries on your main roster when they get cups of coffee in the NHL without hurting your team's payroll while they are up.
Adam Lowry (LW) – Winnipeg
As with most giant forwards, Adam Lowry needed extra development before hitting his stride as a scorer at the junior level. This season he exploded for 45 goals and 88 points in 72 games, eclipsing his previous best of 18 goals and 45 points, and added 102 PIM for Swift Current of the WHL.
While he does not have sky-high potential, Lowry's combination of scoring and a physical game make him an intriguing prospect in all formats. His size and two-way ability make him a candidate to start his NHL career in the bottom-six while he continues to add bulk. Short-term, expect limited points with good peripheral stats. Long-term, the scoring may catch up.
Ben Hanowski (LW) – Calgary
Like Lowry, Ben Hanowski has good size and scoring ability. However, he does not possess Lowry's toughness and ability to pile up PIM for poolies. But perhaps his best attribute is opportunity as Flames' management tries to justify the Jarome Iginla trade. He has already made a mark in Calgary following the signing of his rookie contract as he scored in his first NHL game and has averaged 12 minutes of ice time in two games.
Moving forward, Hanowski is clearly in the plans as the Flames will probably continue to turn their focus to young talent. He does not possess the upside of the elite prospects but could be a decent second-line winger if all goes well. In deep leagues he could be an asset next year as he should spend the majority of the season in the NHL and will have a cap hit of under $1 million.