Fantasy Mailbag: Deciding on Top Prospects, Gurianov, Rantanen, Binnington, & Malkin

Rick Roos


They say absence makes the heart grow fonder; but it also helps fill the mailbag, as I got more inquiries this past month than sometimes when the season was still going! As per usual, I'll do my best to answer the questions while providing advice useful to poolies even if they don't own the specific players being discussed. And remember, if you want your fantasy hockey question answered in the next mailbag, be sure to check out the end of the column, where I explain the ways to get it to me. The earlier you send a question the more likely it is to be included, and the deeper dive I can provide with my reply.


Question #1 (from mcmcpher2 via the DobberHockey Forums)

My question is about Denis Gurianov. He'd already hit the 20 goal mark in just 64 games and despite limited ice time. Although I only watched him play a few times, from what I saw he passed my eye test, with an apparent combination of size and speed plus a desire to shoot the puck. I'm intrigued. What are your expectations regarding deployment and production for him over the next few years?


Gurianov might seem like he came from nowhere, but let's not forget he was a former 12th overall draft pick in 2015. Yes, it took him until his age 22 season to make an initial NHL impact; however, that's not entirely surprising since he's a "big guy" (6'3, 200 pounds); and as Dobber has pointed out, sometimes it takes larger players like him longer to connect the dots and fulfill their true potential.

Here's what we know – Gurianov's ice time increased with each quarter, and he responded with more goal scoring, although his SOG rate didn't really spike. As such, he sports a 15.2% shooting percentage, which is a bit high, although plenty of snipers can maintain a rate in that vicinity. Plus, if he starts to shoot more than the two per game he's averaging for the season, his personal shooting percentage might drop but the added SOG should result in more goals, for a wash.