The Journey: Breakout Candidates

Brad Phillips

2018-07-14

 

In the game of fantasy hockey, it’s always satisfying to be ahead of the curb when it comes to prospects. So here are a few options for you to consider grabbing now before they become established and highly sought-after commodities. 

 

Denis Malgin – FLA

Looking at the top scorers from the 2016 WJHC you have Jesse Puljijarvi, Sebastian Aho, and Patrik Laine who formed at a ridiculously lethal line in first, second and third respectively. Following them are Auston Matthews (1st overall pick), Matthew Tkachuk (top 10 pick), Alexander Nylander (top 10 pick) and Zach Werenski (top 10 pick). Finishing in eighth was pick number 102 from the 2015 draft, Denis Malgin. Ever since then I’ve kept a close watch on Malgin and he has disappointed. After being selected he needed only one more year of home cooking before he was NHL ready as he jumped straight from Swiss hockey to the opening night roster for the Florida Panthers to begin the 2016-17 campaign. The production was spotty but it was still an impressive accomplishment for a 5-09, 19-year-old, fourth-round pick to make the NHL so quickly after being drafted. In total, Malgin suited up for 47 games for the Panthers, scoring six times and posting 10 points. He spent a bit of time in the minors as well posting a dozen points in 15 games. The 2017-18 campaign saw him double his production, jumping up to 22 points in 51 games. Once again he was given the AHL treatment as well and produced at better than a point per game with 14 points in 13 games.

 

Malgin’s not the biggest guy, so it really speaks to how high his skill level is that he has been able to advance so quickly. Although one year shy of Dobber’s ‘Fourth-year breakout’ threshold, I like what I’ve seen and really feel that he could be a valuable fantasy asset as soon as this season. I’m not saying he’ll touch 60, but 40-45 points are definitely attainable.

 

 

Anders Bjork – BOS

Bjork made the leap straight to the NHL from college to start 2017-18, seemingly leapfrogging himself to the top of the Bruins prospect heap. Things started out strongly for the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish as he was slotted into a top-six role and produced like one with seven points in his first nine NHL games. But as a lot of college players do, Bjork hit a bit of a wall come November, likely due to the compact nature of the NHL schedule which isn’t something encountered in the college game. His ice time dwindled from where he was regularly getting in the mid-to-high teens down to where he was more consistently seeing just 10 minutes a night. He was eventually sent down to the AHL at the beginning of January at which point he had put together a stat line of four goals and 12 assists in 28 games. Bjork spent a month down on the farm where he saw nine games of action potting two goals and dishing out