The Journey: Highest Forward Prospects Risers in March
Hello fantasy hockey enthusiasts, thanks for tuning in to this week's edition of The Journey. If you are familiar with the fantastic work Brayden Olafson and the others before him, you know that I will be offering you weekly spoonful of prospect talk.
My name is Dave Hall, and I have been covering the Columbus Blue Jackets for Dobber Prospects since the beginning of the 2019-20 season. I am a West Coast (BC) boy, and a proud fantasy hockey die-hard. I look forward to casting some of my knowledge over to you in hopes to guide you one step closer to that prestigious championship you have been in the hunt for. Please do not hesitate to reach me through Twitter @hall1289 should you ever want to chat fantasy, prospects or basically anything hockey related.
There is no easy way to sugarcoat the matter. Hockey is suspended and times are a little hectic right now. However, with the help from the great people at Dobber, I hope that we can set your minds elsewhere and provide you with some great hockey knowledge. With that in mind, let's dive into my first installment.
If you missed it earlier this week, Dobber published its Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards for the month of March. There are prospects turning heads all over the globe right now and with that comes some giant movement in regards to rankings. I wanted to take a deeper look into a few of the highest risers from the latest list.
Samuel Fagemo – Los Angeles Kings (March: 73, February: 67, January: 256)
Let's begin with arguably the most noteworthy jump on the entire list, which is LA Kings draft pick Fagemo. Drafted in the second round (50th overall) in last June's entry draft, the Swedish-born winger has quickly become one of the leagues more intriguing prospects.
Playing in his sophomore season in the SHL, the 19-year-old has shown that his numbers last season, where he led all rookies in goals, were no fluke. While enjoying second-line deployment, Fagemo is up to 22 points (13G + 9A) through 42 games. While his points-per-game may be down a touch from his inaugural season, he has shown great consistency in his game.
So, what has warranted such an extraordinary jump you ask? Well, aside from his consistent statistical numbers since joining Sweden’s top league, it was his play in this year's World Junior Championship that put a real exclamation point on his early development. Not only did he lead his Swedish National team to a bronze medal finish, Fagemo led the entire tournament in both goals and points with eight and 13 respectively. It is clear that he has taken his game to the next level, and his experience playing with men has officially paid off in terms of his development.
With the Kings' core group only growing older, the 2019 draftee is becoming one of the organization's top conversation pieces in regards to their future. His nose for finding empty ice and shot utilization should make him a prominent point-producer at the North American pro-level in no time. Enjoy the ride, fantasy owners.
Julien Gauthier – New York Rangers (March: 34, February: 54, January: 117)
No surprise here, as the former Carolina Hurricane earns a nice boost in his rankings this month after a recent trade sent him over to the New York Rangers. Despite a brief cup of coffee with Hurricanes earlier this season, the 22-year-old has spent the previous three seasons down in the American Hockey League. While posting respectable statistical numbers with 102 points (69G + 34A) in 184 games, he failed to fit in with the plans of the big club. As a result, he was never given a fair shot in Raleigh.
Cue the trade to Broadway, where the former first-rounder was instantly fast-tracked to the Rangers' NHL starting roster. Despite skating on the team's fourth line, Gauthier is enjoying his time in the Big Apple, posting two assists through 12 games since the deal.
While he may not be flashiest of players on the ice, Gauthier possesses quality top-six potential and has been compared to the likes of former Ranger Rick Nash. At a staggering 6-4 stature, his size is NHL ready, no questions asked. He's got a cannon for a shot and tends to flourish alongside talented playmakers and on teams' power-play units. Depending on his deployment, there should be some decent fantasy potential within the next year or two.
Alexander Khovanov – Minnesota Wild (March: 97, February: 94, January: 141)
Perhaps the most offensively skilled players on this list, Minnesota’s 2016 third-round-pick is currently enjoying a monster season with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. WIth 99 points in 51 games, the Russian sniper sits second amongst all skaters, just 13 behind projected No. 1 overall Alexis Lafreniere.
The 19-year-old is considered a top-end playmaker with impeccable vision. His shot will get him by in the NHL, but it's his ability to find teammates from all aspects of the ice that sets him apart from his competitors.
With the Wild in desperate need of an offensive boost within their lineup, Khovanov could challenge for a spot on the roster as early as next season. If that is the case, fantasy owners will want to make sure they have him locked and loaded. He carries the potential to slot in somewhere in their middle-six and could step in and make an immediate impact. It's also important to note the potential of KHL superstar Kirill Kaprizov making his way to town during the off-season. Minnesota could have their first Russian dynamic duo on their hands for years to come, which is something you do not want to miss out on.
Morgan Geekie – Carolina Hurricanes (March: 92, February: 177, January: 194)
At this point, it would be wrong of me not to add Geekie to this list. While his jump was only 17 spots from January to February, the former third-round pick is (or was) having a year to remember. For starters, the 21-year-old was one pace to shatter his previous AHL career-high with 42 points (22G + 20A) in 55 games this season. That was until he got the call every young prospect dreams of receiving.
His solid sophomore campaign earned Geekie a much-deserved promotion to suit up for his first NHL action on March 8. It didn't take long for him to impress the Hurricanes brass, bursting out of the gate with a two-goal effort with a helper to boot. He wasn't done there, as he managed to tuck one home in his second game as well, giving him four points in just two games on the big stage
Unfortunately, due to the postponed matches, the Manitoba native may not be able to grow from his hot start. However, he should pose a strong chance of cracking a roster spot next season, given his impressive numbers in back-to-back seasons in the minors. If he wasn't already on your radar for next season, don't make the mistake by sleeping on him.
There you have it, some of the highest risers amongst the forward prospect group. As I mentioned, do not hesitate to reach me via Twitter @hall1289 for any discussion you may have.
Keep an eye out for my biggest declines on this list!
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