Rambling about Kucherov's injury, Fabbri, Bernier, some deals I made in my leagues – and more.
As what usually happens with teams who make the playoffs for a decade straight, the prospect cupboards are pretty empty for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now that Derrick Pouliot and Brian Dumoulin are NHLers, that pretty cleaned out the system. Beyond Daniel Sprong, the pickings are slim. What this means is that a mediocre prospect will see a lopsided amount of opportunities and at times those opportunities will be good ones. Whereas a rebuilding team that is in its third year of the rebuild will have a dozen very good prospects, some of whom are elite, to choose from. In those systems, the aforementioned mediocre prospect wouldn’t even get a sniff of a chance. Do you think Tom Kuhnhackl ever gets into a game with most of the other teams? Even the Leafs wouldn’t have room for him! But the Penguins have plenty of room for Kuhnhackl, Dominik Simon and Conor Sheary. All three of them are mediocre prospects with modest upsides but all three of them are in the lineup of a likely playoff team and they combined for five points on Sunday. Simon tallied his first NHL assist in his first career game. How they do next year will depend on what the Penguins do in the offseason. If the team loads up on proven forwards, they won’t get a sniff. If the team decides to keep the spots open for them, then they have a chance. Any one of these three could get a prime opportunity on a key line – but any one of them could wind up buried in the AHL.
Kuhnhackl is a fourth-round pick who has progressed very slowly, but steadily. He’s on the cusp of becoming a 60-point player in the AHL next season at the age of 24. Could a player like that be turned into someone fantasy relevant? Sheary was an undrafted college star that the Penguins signed in 2014. He’s taken the AHL by storm with 81 points in 90 career games. Simon was a fifth-round pick and the youngest of the three (21). He’s the one who intrigues me the most here, but I wouldn’t waste a high pick on any of them in my deep leagues.
In 30 of his 45 games with the Oilers, Justin Schultz had either zero shots on goal or one shot on goal. In four games with the Penguins and limited ice time he has at least two shots on goal in each of them.
Derek Stepan has points in five straight and seven of his last eight. He’s playing with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello and to me those are the best two wingers he can play with (yes over Rick Nash).
Speaking of Nash, he’s back and he’s pointless in two games. His return broke up the Staal-berg line (Oscar Lindberg – Eric Staal – Viktor Stalberg). Imagine that,