With the release of Dobber’s 2019 Fantasy Hockey Prospects Report, we will look at a few of the blue-chip prospects that could have an effect on existing roster players in the next year or two that might be on your fantasy rosters. Dobber Prospect Ranking in parenthesis.
Cale Makar (1D)
With only 10 playoff games under his belt, Makar put any doubts about his abilities to rest and Colorado fans are excited about the prospect of seeing him in the lineup for a full year next season. The players most affected will be Tyson Barrie and Samuel Girard. Barrie will be a UFA at the end of 2020 and will command more than $7 or 8 million AAV moving forward so the Avalanche will need to ask themselves if they wish to have both players fighting for PP time or can they fill another need in the lineup by moving Barrie. For next season, the short-term effect will undoubtedly take some points from Barrie on the PP as Makar gets more and more time.
As for Girard, if he is paired with Makar it has the potential to help his production at even strength as both players will start in the OZ over 60% of the time as they remain sheltered. Girard has gone from 10 to 18 ES points and could threaten to become a 35-40 point defenseman if he improves again.
Cody Glass (5)
If not for his 20 points in 28 games in the AHL regular season and playoffs, I would have Glass pegged for supplanting a regular on Vegas next year, but now I think it’s a foregone conclusion barring injury. Short-term it will be Cody Eakin the most affected with William Karlsson and Paul Stastny next in line. Glass will be a top-six center in the NHL, but when he cement that role is to be determined. There is a good chance that Glass will start his NHL career on the wing and ease into the center role. I can’t see Vegas wanting to pay Karlsson what he will get as a RFA, so perhaps they would entertain the idea of getting some pretty good value in return before that happens for either Eakins or Karlsson. Glass is a setup man, and it’s scary what he might do with Mark Stone on his wing in a year or two.
Martin Necas (13)
Necas had an impressive AHL rookie year after getting a seven game stint in the NHL at the start of the year. He finished with 16 goals and 52 points in 64 regular season games adding 13 points in 18 playoff games on the way to winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers. It’s conceivable that he pushes Jordan Staal to the third line and Lucas Wallmark to the 4th line next season and is given an opportunity to play with Andrei Svechnikov for a full season. Having a skilled player like Necas on the roster might improve the Hurricanes PP from a 17.8% and 20th ranking. The only players on Carolina that might not benefit statistically are Staal and Wallmark, but by adding offensive potential to the top two lines, anyone playing with him should improve.
Drake Batherson (2)
Batherson was only a 4th round pick in 2017 but emerged on people’s radar the following year when he had seven goals in seven games at the WJC and put up 33 points in 22 QMJHL playoff games. Expected to spend a few years in the AHL, he produced immediately at over a point per game and got called up to Ottawa where he played 20 games and had nine points after finishing with 62 points in 59 games with Belleville in the AHL. Going into next season, the center ice position for the Senators is not exactly a strong point with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Chris Tierney and Colin White ahead of Batherson on the depth chart and Batherson can play wing as well. Both Batherson and White have a chance to become the first or second line Center next season. My god, Ottawa is bad.
Rasmus Sandin (13D)
While the Maple Leafs blue line for 2019-2020 is in flux with the impending departure of Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev, it could open up a top four spot for Sandin but in looking back on Mike Babcock’s 16 years of being a head coach in the NHL he has never played a 19- or 20-year old on defense with any meaningful minutes (Travis Dermott’s 37 games in 2017-2018 at the age of 20 were the most). I’m not betting on that scenario changing so look for him to spend another season in the AHL.
Erik Brannstrom (3D)
If and when Brannstrom makes the Senators back line next season, the player he might have the most fantasy affect on is Thomas Chabot. Chabot was the main man last season for Senators with 55 points in 70 games with 17 of those points on the PP. Chabot faded a little in the second half of the season after putting up 38 points in his first 38 games and posted 17 points in the final 32 games, battling injuries as well. He averaged over 24 min/g and Ottawa would like to reduce the work load and share some responsibilities and work on the defensive side of his game. Ottawa has a new coach with D.J. Smith taking over so things could change in defensive pairings. Potential benefactors Dylan Demelo, Cody Ceci and Mark Borowiecki probably shouldn’t be on most people’s fantasy teams anyway.
There are some other prospects that could be listed, but you will need to check them out in DobberHockey’s 2019 Fantasy Prospect Report.
Any suggestions for future columns, please feel free to let me know at @gampbler15