I know, I know, I can talk about the Canucks a little too much at times. I cover them at DobberProspects. I’ve cheered for them since I was wee. But c’mon, none of us are worthy of Elias Pettersson’s greatness. This is him just noodling around in warm-up

 

 

And he followed it up with his 20th goal of the season in the first period. Straight buttah. 

 

 

Unfortunately for Vancouver’s seven-game winning streak, that was all there was to celebrate on Tuesday evening as the Lightning dismantled them 9-2 with Jacob Markstrom giving up seven before getting the hook. Markstrom has been terrific this season and will get paid as a UFA this summer. But tonight was not his night. 

 

Carter Verhaeghe recorded the hattrick and Brayden Point dropped 1+3. The four-point evening extended Point’s point-streak to six games and nine points (so many points). The 23-year-old has 18 points in his last 13 games and is looking all the way caught up after missing the early portion of the season.

 

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If you’ve been following along, we at DobberHockey and DobberProspects have been championing Igor Shestyorkin as the best goaltender outside of the NHL. Well, we’ll need to change that moniker now because he’s in the NHL and he collected his first win against the ever-dangerous Avs on Tuesday.

 

Let's be clear, this kid is serious. If for some reason he’s out there in a keeper, sprint to pick him up. Yearly leagues can use a little more discretion because the Rangers will still suck this season. But long term, we could be looking at a Vezina-level talent backstopping an exciting young core. 

 

Oh, and apparently it's 100 percent Shestyorkin. Not Shesterkin. Adjust accordingly. 

 

 

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The Red Wings have 10 wins this season. Three of them have now come against the Habs. Not a great look for Montreal especially leading after two periods. It was Filip Zadina with the GWG with less than five to play as he made good on a post-draft prediction that he would fill the net against Montreal for passing on him at third overall. I love it. 

 

 

That's goals in back to back games for the 20-year-old. Give him a couple of years and he'll be a highly targetted asset. Buy-in early. 

 

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Don't forget to pre-order your copy of the Midseason Guide. It drops January 10

 

 

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Phil the Thrill and OEL both posted three-point games as the Pacific-leading Coyotes defeated Florida 5-2 on Tuesday. With both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta on the shelf, Adin Hill came away with the victory.

 

Hill is a pretty decent prospect. The 6’6, 23-year-old will be an interesting one to watch as he’s a likely candidate to move organizations in the coming seasons if a spot doesn’t open up in the desert. I have this feeling that he could be a starter somewhere down the line. 

 

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Well, John Hynes sure didn’t have to wait long in the unemployment line. The Nashville Predators have their newest bench boss. Perhaps this shouldn’t be such a surprise as it appears Hynes has some close connections with the Preds leadership group.

 

 

It’s easy to say that Hynes had a rough ride in New Jersey as his goaltending was putrid (as is the case with virtually every coaching fire) but there were also plenty of questionable deployment decisions made. Count me as one of the people who see this as a lateral move for the organization and unlikely to foster much gain in the team’s overall scoring metrics. 

 

The Preds didn't give the new bench boss any love on game one, getting thumped 6-2 by the Bruins. Pekka Rinne continues his putrid season. 

 

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Ho-hum, another game another two points for John Carlson. This guy refuses to slow down one iota. We're over halfway through the season and he remains on a 101-point pace. He's single-handedly buried point-per-game seasons from Roman Josi and Victor Hedman.

 

Impressive stuff. 

 

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With the World Junior Championships wrapped up for another year – and boy were we ever spoiled with a terrific event this year. It’s natural that some up-and-comers would grab the spotlight and that’s exactly what happened for consensus first-overall pick, Alexis Lafreniere. The 18-year-old was named the Top Forward and the tournament MVP for his impressive and impactful play. The 10 points in five games and gold medal sure didn’t hurt his bid either. 

 

Conversely, Quinton Byfield, who is 10 months younger than Lafreniere languished on the bench for the entirety of the gold medal game and saw under nine minutes per game on average throughout, saw his perceived value take a hit because he didn’t dominate a 19-year-old event. 

 

I won’t get into the details here (I will in an upcoming EP Rinkside post, however), but we would be remiss if we try to judge draft-eligible players at the WJC. It’s just not a spot where many thrive – especially on classic contending national teams. Doubly so if you’re not on the old side of your draft class as Lafreniere is. 

 

But today, I’d like to take a moment to discuss a player who has not received nearly enough attention for his body of work so far in 2019-20. Marco Rossi hails from Austria – a non-traditional feeder nation and one that wasn’t included in the 2020 WJC tournament. As such, Rossi was back in Ottawa tearing it up with the 67s while the rest of the world had eyes on the comings and goings happening in the Czech Republic. 

 

However, what the 18-year-old has accomplished this season in the OHL has been near-historic. He currently leads the OHL in scoring with 69 points in just 29 games. No, you did not misread that. He’s destroying the league as a draft-eligible at a rate we’ve seldom seen. In fact, only three other OHLers have every eclipsed Rossi’s 2.38 points-per-game as first-time eligible draftees.

 

 

He’s hanging with some seriously elite company. He should be targetted extremely early in drafts. Don’t let his 5’9 stature discourage you. Rossi is legit. 

 

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Sticking with prospects, as that’s what I do best, here are a handful of my favourite drafted kids that I feel could become serious fantasy assets within the next 2-3 seasons. Some have been given plenty of limelight, others not so much. In no particular order

 

 

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Blake Wheeler has 24 points in his last 19 games. Thank goodness that early-season nonsense is over. No one was clamouring for a third straight 91-point season out of the gate, but we’ll sure that pace in the back 60 if he’ll give it to us.

 

For those looking to buy, perhaps his muted season-long metrics can be used to get him at a slightly reduced cost. Worth a shot anyway. 

 

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A player myself and several other pegged as a breakout candidate is continuing to quietly be just that. Filip Hronek has nine points in his last 11 games and is on a 46-point pace. On BY FAR the lowest-scoring team in the league. The 22-year-old has managed to firmly grasp the top power-play job after splitting time early on.

 

The only downside is that he may be too good an all-around player. Detroit leans heavily on him in all situations. He’s currently chewing on the wrong end of a 40 percent offensive zone start rate. However, if he can maintain his spot on that top unit, the future presents a fuzzy picture. Despite the masterful tank job occurring before our eyes, the Red Wings will be good one day and it won’t be as long as some think.

 

Zadina is a serious talent and he’s just breaking in now. Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, and Tyler Bertuzzi are young, improving top-six contributors. Joe Veleno has that upside. Moritz Seider – Hronek’s future challenger for PP duties, is already a monster in the American League as an 18-year-old.

 

Oh, and they’re going to get a top-four pick in one of the most exciting top-10s in recent memory. With a little lottery luck, adding Lafreniere to the mix next fall will immediately jump-start the team offense. 

 

Keeper leagues, get on Hronek and just to be safe, take a look at Seider to hedge your bet. This is a future top power-play unit that you’ll want to be a piece of. 

 

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