Ramblings: Baertschi and Ward Sign, Vrana/Marner, Morgan Rielly’s Upside (June 17)

Michael Clifford

2016-06-16

Baertschi and Ward Re-Sign, Vrana and Marner Next Year, Rielly, and more

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It’s probably worth noting that Sven Baertschi re-upped with the Canucks for two more years, carrying a cap hit under $2-million a season. Not a bad bet.

Baertschi did reasonably well for the Canucks last year, posting 28 points in 69 games. He now has 30 points in 72 games with Vancouver, which is a decent total for a kid getting third and fourth line minutes.

Behind Daniel Sedin, Baertschi seems like a reasonable option to slot on the second line’s left wing. With Chris Higgins a non-factor, and pretty much no one else nipping at his heels, I think Baertschi can start the year on the second line, and that would give him some fantasy value.

This is a guy that’s still only a deep league option, but I’ve always loved the talent here. He just has never been given much of an extended shot. Hopefully he can start the year on the second line and second power play unit, which means 40 points is within range.

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As I’ve repeated often here, I’m not a prospect guy. There are hundreds of players to “scout” that are currently NHLers; all the prospects just compound the problem. That’s why I lean on people that do scout the prospects that I trust, and use resources like Dobber’s Prospect Report, which is now available in the Shop.

I can’t help but fawn over Jakub Vrana, though. Washington’s first round pick from 2014 looked like he was on another level in the AHL Final games that I happened to watch. The speed and the skill were obvious, but anecdotally, he seemed to make good decisions with the puck, and that’s how you get to, and stay at, the next level.

We’ll see how he slots for the Capitals, but I assume he’s on the third line to start the year next year. This is a prospect I will be grabbing at the end of drafts, though. If they decide to slot him as a left winger, there is a second line wing spot that Vrana can probably grab with solid play through the first month or so of the season. It doesn’t seem to me like Andre Burakovsky is a lock to play there next year, and Marcus Johansson played very well on the third line last year.

One other player I’m curious about is Mitch Marner. It’s still way too early to wonder about where he’ll slot, because I assume the Leafs will have more than a few trades and signings over the next two or three weeks. But it’s clear he’s too good not to at least start in the NHL next year, and training camp will probably tell us a lot.

Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on Vrana and Marner for next year in one-year leagues. I