The Journey: Early Season Prospect Trends

Kevin LeBlanc


The Journey takes a closer look at a few hot and cold starts from prospects over the first week of the season and what their chances are for sustainability throughout the season.


Devin Shore – Dallas Stars

4 GP, 1 Goal, 3 Assists, 5 SOG, 2 Hits, 6 BLKS


Shore, a 2012 second rounder has been deployed in all situations through four games for the Stars this season. After playing 42 games at the AHL level over the last two seasons, he has proven to be a valuable asset at the NHL level, playing up and down the lineup and providing secondary scoring punch.


Playing on the third line at even strength and with the second power play unit, Shore has posted four points in four games and has the makings of player who can provide some peripheral stats, given his usage on the special teams.


A regression is likely from his early season pace, given that his shooting percentage, 5v5 SH%, and PDO are all high in a limited sample size. Much of his point production will be tied to how much power play time the young forward gets moving forward. 



Nick Ritchie – Anaheim Ducks

5 GP, 0 Goals, 1 Assist, 12 SOG, 20 Hits, 6 PIMS


Perfect deployment for Ritchie so far this season, slotting in right alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at even strength and with Jakub Silfverberg and Antoine Vermette on the Ducks second power play unit.


Although he only has one point this season through five games played, Ritchie fills the stat sheet with multiple secondary stats that will carry him through times of stagnant offense. On the season, Ritchie has six penalty minutes, 12 shots and 20 hits. 


He is playing over 17 minutes per game, and adding nearly two minutes of power-play time, and if this deployment continues, he is one to look at adding before he gets rolling with the inevitable point production. A good buy low option.



Pavel Buchnevich – New York Rangers

2 GP, 0 Goal, 1 Assist, 4 SOG, 2 PIMS


With only one assist and an a nagging injury to his name on this young season, Buchnevich may not have had the sexiest start to his rookie NHL campaign. However, he is another to look for as a buy-low option in dynasty formats.


In his two games this season, Buchnevich was penciled in on the second line alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider both at even strength and on the power-play. It will be interesting to see, when he returns from injury if he stays in that role, or fits somewhere else in the Rangers top-nine. Currently, Rick Nash is filling the spot formerly healed by the young Russian winger.


Buchnevich was averaging nearly three and a half minutes of time on the New York power play, which is favorable to the rookies point production.



Mike Matheson – Florida Panthers

4 GP, 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 12 SOG, 3 Hits, 4 BLKS


Matheson has been successful at every level, producing three 20-plus point seasons at Boston College, and adding on another at the AHL level in 2015-16. He has averaged 20 minutes per night in his four NHL games this season, featuring alongside Jason Demers on the Panthers second pairing.


Although he has had marginal power play time, Matheson has still produced three points in four games, chipping in with 12 shots on goal. He is an all-around multi-category performer on the blueline who should easily hit 20 points each season. If he starts receiving steady power play time, that ceiling could reach as high as forty points in the future.



Brandon Carlo – Boston Bruins

4 GP, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 6 SOG, 2 Hits, 12 BLKS


Carlo has been very good for the Bruins this year after being drafted 37th overall in 2015. Boston is off to a 3-1 start this season relying on their top line to carry most of the scoring burden.


The 6’5” blueliner has been slotted in alongside Zdeno Chara to form one of the largest defensive tandems in the league. To this point, Carlo has been a multi-category asset chipping in with blocked shots and shots on goal, but his ice time could get squeezed as Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller return from injury. Wait and see approach here.



Zach Werenski – Columbus Blue Jackets

3 GP, 2 Goals, 2 Assists, 14 SOG, 5 Hits, 2 BLKS


Many expected Werenski to be a stud at the NHL level, but it may be happening sooner then imagined. The 19-year-old has been playing nearly 21 minutes a night for the Blue Jackets and featuring nearly two minutes a game with the man-advantage.


The former Michigan Wolverine has averaged more than a point-per-game and over four shots a game in all three of his contests so far this year. Even better, his PDO (871) and his 5on5 SH% (4.76) lead to believe that there could be an uptick in his luck-based metrics.  




Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings. 


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