The Journey: Next in Line – The Pacific Division

Brayden Olafson

2019-10-12


Just ten days into the NHL season and as can be expected, the league’s injured reserve has begun to pile up. To the disappointment of many fantasy owners, players like Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Montour and Nolan Patrick have already been put on the shelf for mid-to-long term durations. The reality of losing these players, and in the cases that are likely to come over the next couple of months, means that several young and developing players will have an opportunity to serve time in the NHL.

In some cases, NHL coaches may decide that a direct insertion of the prospect into the injured player’s role is appropriate as to minimize line shuffling. The more likely outcome, however, is that these young players will be placed in sheltered roles where the team can manage their exposure to defensive risk more cautiously. Nonetheless, the opportunity to join an NHL club, even for a limited amount of time can serve as a major stepping stone in a player’s development. Most importantly, it allows us an opportunity to more accurately assess their trajectory with as much of an apples to apples comparison as we could hope for.

With that said, and with the expectation that at some point over the next several months each NHL team will be forced to dip into their farm system for help, today we’ll begin a Journey divisional mini-series detailing my picks for the players who are most likely to be the next in line. 

A few technical/asterisk notes before we get into the list – I’ve selected only one player for each team based on who I believe has the best odds of being recalled on an injury or trade net negative player basis. I did not select one player per position for this exercise, however, did take into account how each NHL team has chosen to manage their NHL roster.

In some cases, where it was close between two players, I’ve included an honorable mention in the discussion. Some of these players may seem like obvious picks, but with the shuffle that takes place among NHL rosters at the beginning of each season, opening roster spots often become available to the player who has proven himself most recently, with pedigree going out the window quite quickly. 

Week 1: The Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks –