Capped: World Junior performers
Building off of last week, I know one of my resolutions was to not take the World Juniors to heart, as it is much too small of a sample size, however we can still use it as a data-point to add to our existing knowledge. I wanted to look at a few prospects for cap leagues, but narrowing it down is difficult. I decided to use only 2019 draftees, as they are still relative unknowns in fantasy circles, and further from there, only those that have signed NHL deals to this point. Now that still left me with a lot of names, so I went with the five latest to be drafted.
Regarding the 2019 draftees that have already signed, this is a good indicator that the NHL team sees this player as someone worthy of one of their 50 contract slots over the next number of years. To the top drafted players that can be almost a given, however, to those drafted in the mid-late rounds, this is a feather in the cap for the player, and something to watch out for in dynasty fantasy leagues.
Connor McMichael (C) – Washington Capitals
The World Juniors provided another stage on which McMichael was able to impress this year, scoring seven points in seven games on route to helping Canada win the gold medal. Playing up and down the lineup, McMichael was able to showcase his well-rounded game that scouts docked him for at the draft last year because he didn’t “pop” in any one area. Well he’s sure popping the points now, and looking like one of the better value picks of the 2019 draft thus far after being selected 25th overall by the Washington Capitals.
He could be in the lineup for the Capitals as early as October, and is a good bet to make a splash sooner rather than later due to his high level of hockey sense which allows him to thrive in any role on a team.
Nolan Foote (LW) – Tampa Bay Lightning
Unfortunately, Foote’s most memorable play from the World Junior tournament was likely his big hit in the quarter-final game that got him ejected. Fortunately for him, he did have a lot of good moments as well, showcasing his dangerous shot, his physicality, and generally being an offensive force for a team already loaded with offensive talent.
Like the tournament showing, his prospect status has some positives and negative notes as well. Being in the Tampa Bay system means that he will develop for a few years, and be brought up at his own pace (that could be a little faster like Anthony Cirelli, or a little slower like Mitchell Stephens). That kind of strong developmental track record is excellent for prospect value is fantasy leagues, because it means their stocks seldom dip to low, regardless of wait time. However, the internal competition is going to hold Foote’s value ceiling back from getting too high. The Lightning are loaded up front in the NHL, AHL, and the minors, as well as currently owning two first round picks in an offence-heavy 2020 draft.
Samuel Fagemo (RW) – Los Angeles Kings
The Kings’ second round selection (50th overall) was the focal point of the Swedish offence and looked well adapted to playing against top competition, creating space for himself to get off a barrage of shots that led to him putting up an impressive 13 points in seven games.
The Los Angeles Kings have a very rich prospect system, but their current pro roster isn’t going to stop the promotion of players who show they are ready to produce in the NHL. As Dobber mentioned on Monday, this means Fagemo could be producing in the NHL sooner than a lot of players selected ahead of him in the same draft. Possibly coming over to North America next year to play in the AHL would be a big step in his development.
Nicholas Robertson (LW) – Toronto Maple Leafs
The first pick of the draft for the Maple Leafs in the 2019 draft was 53rd overall, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get a good one in Robertson. The five-foot-nine left-winger was not a key standout in the World Juniors tournament, but he did have a solid five points in five games, and display some excellent speed and hands.
He may require some adjustment to the pro game, as his brother has, but his contract and skill will be a big part in getting a longer look at the next few training camps with the blue and white. Depending on how much is spent in Toronto overhauling the blue-line in the summer, there could be a spot for the diminutive winger alongside either Auston Matthews or John Tavares next year.
Nikita Alexandrov (C) – St. Louis Blues
The latest 2019 draftee playing in the World Junior tournament was selected 62nd overall but the St. Louis Blues, and lit up the scoresheet to the tune of eight points in seven games. He helped Russia finish second in the tournament, and though he didn’t look dangerous on every shift, he certainly showed some offensive flare and power, which is exactly what he will need to do to succeed at the next levels.
With the St. Louis Blues coming off of a Stanley Cup win last Spring, unless Alexandrov is traded, he will likely be several years away from making the roster. However, his early contract signing shows some faith by the St. Louis brass, and the Blues have a lot of expiring contracts in the summer of 2021. That would likely be the earliest his NHL window opens. Just like the Blues’ current prospect Jordan Kyrou, even as a skilled offensive player, it takes a few years to crack this lineup.
The DobberHockey Mid-Season Guide is also available tomorrow! Buy yours today, and lock down your championship.
If you have questions, comments, or article requests, you can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.
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