Welcome back to yet another edition of the fastest rising and falling prospects. This month we’re getting to know some of the players who’ve been significantly impacted by offseason trades or graduations. Transactions of a prospect, or even the players around them can often manifest into a change in production, but it’s important to surround those changes by context and make judgements accordingly.
We’ll continue on with the same formatting as several other of the most recent editions of this series. A formatting description can be found below.
Shallow Leagues: Shallow prospect leagues will be leagues where a typical team would own 2-3 players who are currently on the brink of playing in the NHL, or already making their way in the league.
Medium Depth Leagues: Medium depth leagues will be defined as leagues where a typical team would own 3-5 players who are true prospects in the sense that they, at most would have had a taste of the NHL, but more likely are still playing overseas, in junior or in the AHL.
Deep Leagues: Deep leagues will be defined as leagues where a typical team would own 5-10 prospects who vary from fresh second-round draft picks to fringe prospects.
So without further ado, enjoy the formatting and especially the content!
For shallow leagues
Rising: Victor Olofsson, 3 | October 2019 – 10 | September 2019 – 56
Despite slipping in his production since the second week of his rookie NHL campaign, Olofsson has become a mainstay on the Buffalo Sabres top line alongside Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. The 24-year-old Swede has been blessed with an incredible opportunity, which has allowed his offense and therefore confidence to blossom early – something that cannot and should not be overlooked. He is an excellent example of how critical deployment and opportunity can be in terms of allowing a player to make a substantial fantasy impact, especially in the early stages of their career. Again, while his wicked-hot pace has slowed, his opportunity remains, and the impact of a sustained trust between this rookie and his coaching staff is something that should allow him to lay the foundations of a positive NHL career.
Falling: Eeli Tolvanen, 22 | October 2019 – 7 | September 2019 – 8
The Nashville Predators prospect is having a peculiar start to his second season in the AHL. Because we’ve seen instances of it in the past, it seems that we’ve become conditioned to expect future top-6 NHL forwards to be dominating the AHL at 20 years old. While his production in the AHL to this point in his career has been disappointing, considering what had been done with Jokerit in his D+1 campaign, Tolvanen’s career is not falling apart – in fact, I would almost consider this an opportunity to buy low on the potential sniper. The Finn leads Miluwakee in shots per game with 2.8, but has struggled to find holes without stronger support.
For medium-depth leagues
Rising: Lukas Elvenes, 132 | October 2019 – 261 | September 2019 – 254
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the first few weeks of this year’s hockey season, there’s something you should know… Lukas Elvenes can play hockey in North America VERY well. Not only is the Swede leading all AHL rookies in points, he’s actively jockeying to lead the entire league in points. If you’re thinking that it’s still too early to offer a firm verdict on the 20-year-old, consider the fact that even if his rate of production were to drop by 50 percent today, he would still finish the year with more points than all but four of last year’s AHL rookies. Despite still being ranked at 132, the Vegas prospect is a player who even owners in very shallow leagues should begin to consider if they wish to get ahead of the curve.
Falling: John Quenneville 174 | September 2019 – 138 | August 2019 – 138
The former New Jersey Devil prospect had an impressive stint with the Devils’ farm club in Binghamton last year, eclipsing the point-per-game threshold in his partial slate in the minors. The offseason trade that saw him moved to Chicago/Rockford in exchange for John Hayden is something that raised a few eyebrows considering Quenneville appearing poised for an NHL job this year; however, the trade seemed to be in line with the goals of both organizations. At this point in the year, the former first-round draft-pick has been on the shelf for nearly a month with little to show in his first four games with Rockford. Being passed over in favor of other younger players in the Blackhawks’ organization is something that may have rattled the 23-year-old’s confidence, so close attention should be paid to his impact upon return from injury.
For deep leagues
Rising: Jansen Harkins, 193 | October 2019 – 335 | September 2019 – 325
The 22-year-old Winnipeg prospect is off to a rocking start with the Jets’ farm club, the Moose, in his third professional campaign. The North Vancouver native has surged since the beginning of the month, which began with a five-assist night versus the Grand Rapids Griffins. Since that night, Harkins has gone seven consecutive games with a point, quickly making up ground on league leaders Lukas Elvenes and Chris Terry. If he’s available as a waiver draw in your league, strongly consider a claim as Harkins could see time in the NHL before Christmas.
Falling: Nick Henry, 194 | October 2019 – 185 | September 2019 – 174
Kicking off his rookie professional stint with the AHL affiliate of his Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Eagles, the former 90-point WHL forward has struggled to muster any significant offense to this point in the year. The Eagles offense has predominantly been driven by their top line, which accounts for 43 percent of the team’s point production, as well as a much more favorable deployment portfolio. Despite his slow start, Henry’s projection of a longer-term development project hasn’t deviated significantly, and his 65 percent NHL odds are still quite accurate.