The 2013 DobberHockey Prospects Report… one day away. Get excited.
The Oilers signed a defenseman yesterday – Anton Belov from the KHL. The 6-4 defenseman had 26 points in 46 games last year, and the Oilers beat out five or six other teams to get him (including the Penguins). I bet Belov took one look at their depth chart and said to himself… “ice time!”
Quick scouting report – great skater, huge, not very good defensively. Will be interesting to see how he adjusts. 6-4 215 pound offensive defensemen don’t grow on trees. This hurts Oscar Klefbom’s ability to crack the roster next year – Belov is a similar defenseman and more experienced at the pro level.
Assuming the Oilers don’t add another defenseman, they currently could roll with Schultz (J and N), Smid, Petry, Belov, and Potter/Klefbom/Fistric. Still need another defenseman in there, but this is a good signing for the organization.
The latest DobberNation podcast is fantastic. Give it a listen here. Brock Otten dishes some great thoughts on OHL prospects, including Bo Horvat, Max Domi, Sean Monohan, and Darnell Nurse (who he really likes).
Otten's draft day guesses:
Monohan to the Oilers at #7 (paired with Nail Yakupov)
Zadorov to the Flyers (a physical defenseman, perhaps pairing him with an offensive guy in a year or two)
Nurse to Calgary at #6 (a replacement for Bouwmeester)
Ryan Hartman (Boston or San Jose late in the 1st round – energetic, physical, but skilled player)
Max Domi to Columbus (could be a replacement for Gaborik in a few years)
Bo Horvat to Phoenix at #12 (a do-it-all replacement for Shane Doan down the road)
Danny Cleary played the entire Chicago series with a separated shoulder and broken finger (suffered in Game 5 against the Ducks).
A great read – not fantasy relevant, but important – Kris Letang remembers his friend Luc Bourdon, five years later.
This just in – all teams and players dive:
Not a huge surprise – the reason for Tortorella's firing was the fact that some players (including a few in the core) were tired of his style. Gee… ya don't say?
Sportsnet's Michael Grange rips Tortorella a new one in this interesting piece.
Today's team to analyze – the Philadelphia Flyers
2013-14 sleeper pick: Erik Gustafsson
For a team with issues breaking the puck out of their own zone, the Flyers will need all of the puck movers they can get this season. Gustafsson is exactly that – he won't score a ton of goals or make the highlight reels with a big hit, but he's a steady and mobile two-way defenseman who doesn't cost a lot of money against the salary cap. When the inevitable injury hits Andrej Meszaros again, there could be a top four spot with his name on it. He had three goals and eight points in 27 games with the Flyers in 2013. Very respectable production for a rookie defenseman.
Long-term sleeper pick: Jason Akeson
Akeson is older than most prospects (23), but don't hold that against him. He led the Flyers AHL affiliate in scoring in 2012-13 with 20 goals and 53 points, and as the team looks to get younger and cheaper, he could find himself in the top nine (or even top six) this season. The offense may not come right away, but that is his game and the Flyers will put him in a position to produce.
Some Round 3 matchups I am looking forward to…
Crosby vs. Bergeron
Crosby vs. Chara
Iginla vs. Bruins fans
Jagr vs. Pittsburgh fans
Letang vs. Boston's forecheck
Kopitar vs. Toews
Doughty vs. Toews
Quick vs. Kane/Sharp/Hossa
Both teams have great third and fourth lines – will be some good depth battles
Michael Ryder is probably done in Montreal – he has lived up to his past two UFA contracts, and is still a very, very good second line winger. Where could he end up next season? A lot of teams could use a scorer like him.
Kirill Kabanov – #23 for the top 25 players under the age of 25 in the Islanders organization.
An exciting debut weekend undermined, Kabanov returned months later but a far cry from the form he brought into training camp. He finished with just nine points (2-7) in 32 games, and was scratched multiple times down the stretch. The layoff had to hurt, but the responsibility still falls with him.
At age 20, with only the first year of his ELC burned and with ample talent in his arsenal, I can write off this season as another unfortunate hurdle to clear. Sound Tigers coach Scott Pellerin was right to hold his feet to the fire when he returned from injury, and Kabanov would be wise to put this year behind him and recommit this summer to advancing his career.
One prospect I really like (there are many) is Tampa forward Vladdy Namestnikov. He's having a solid AHL third round for Syracuse.
Circumstances relegated Syracuse Crunch rookie forward Vladdy Namestnikov to the fourth line at the start of the playoffs.
A different twist twist of postseason drama boosted him to the top line Wednesday, and the flashy prospect again showed why he has the talent to stay there.
Namestnikov scored his first pro playoff goal in the second period and goalie Cedrick Desjardins was sharp with 22 saves as the Crunch nudged Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2-0 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Speaking of the AHL, the LA Kings are well-stocked with former Manchester Monarchs.
“We take a lot of pride in the success that our players are having at the NHL level,” said Mark Morris, who has been Monarchs head coach since 2006. His players through the years have included 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, and five current L.A. players who were in Manchester this season: Tyler Toffoli, Slava Voynov, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, and Jake Muzzin.
The OKC Barons have a 2-1 series lead over Grand Rapids in the AHL's Western Conference Final.
The Barons were led by the vets in their recent win, including Jonathan Cheechoo, Ben Eager, and Josh Green. Not much fantasy relevance there, but interesting to see Cheechoo still kicking around. Have to admire his passion for the game.
The Griffins will be getting some help as Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist are heading back down from Detroit to play in Game 4 tonight.
CBC intro montage – once again an amazing piece of work:
Dirty with a capital D:
Detroit really missed Filppula, and it begs the question – will he be back next year? If I am a team looking to sign a center, I'd take him quite easily over Derek Roy or Stephen Weiss. Will Filppula take a discount to remain with the Wings?
Paul Kariya thinks the Patrick Roy hiring is a good move for Colorado. I miss watching Kariya play, while we are on the subject. He sure was fun to watch. Thanks a lot, Gary Suter.
A comprehensive review of Alex Goligoski's 2013 season.
The big goal of the next coaching regime is to find out how to best maximize the potential that Goligoski possesses. When he first arrived in Dallas the pressure on his shoulders was considerably lower and you could see those heightened expectations weighing on him the first few months of this season. Let’s hope this season, as it should be for many players, was a valuable learning experience for a player who is better than the sum of the 2013 season.
More positive recognition for Ducksprospect John Gibson. Young goalies are notoriously hard to predict, but Gibson has "can't miss" written all over him.
USA Hockey announced Wednesday that goaltender John Gibson is the recipient of the Bob Johnson Award, given annually to recognize excellence in international hockey competition during a specific season of play. Gibson will receive the award at USA Hockey's President’s Awards Dinner on June 7. Previous recipients of the Bob Johnson Award include Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller and Minnesota Wild stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Shutdown Line takes a closer look at Zac Dalpe's 2013 season.
Does he have a future with the team?
Is there a place for Zac Dalpe in the Hurricanes future? Carolina’s management and coaching staff are going to have to find out the answer to this soon and it won’t be easy. If someone were to ask me, I would say that Dalpe has a future with this team and can settle into a third-line role next year without much of an issue. I thought this would be the plan for him this year, but that obviously didn’t work out since the team seems to view him as “top-six or bust.”
That may have been true for Zach Boychuk, but Dalpe is a little different since I think he can perform well outside of a top-six role and can be relied on for secondary scoring. Next year will be a critical year for Dalpe and how successful he can be in Carolina is going to depend on what the coaching staff asks of him.
What happens with Sergei Bobrovsky if he wins the NHL 14 cover vote and heads to the KHL? Kidding aside, there is little to no chance that BOBROVSKY is anywhere other than Columbus next year.