The Journey: Top Fantasy Prospects In Europe

Dave Hall

2020-05-09

With even the potential of the NHL entry draft taking place next month,  I thought it would be best to dive back into the top prospects representing each region. So far, we have covered all of Canada, hitting the WHL, OHL and finally the QMJHL. All of which are filled with their fair share of studs.

Let’s take this overseas and dig into one of the more talented regions in this year’s draft, Europe. This year’s crop is one of the most interesting we have had in years in regards to parody. No matter whose ranking you look at, you’re likely getting a variation of results. With that being said, there seems to one common ground that everyone can agree upon. The top-10 is full of European, generational talent. 

Here are this year’s top prospects coming out of Europe. Four extremely talented kids who should be very high on your drafting radars.

Tim Stutzle

Current Team: Adler Mannheim

Position: Center

Draft projection: Top-5

Fantasy upside: 9.5

While most have him a lock in the No.3 spot at this year’s podium, there have been arguments made for him to be selected right behind QMJHL star Alexis Lafreniere. In my books, Stutzle is undoubtedly the best Euro in this draft, and is a part of a very solid young group filtering out of Germany this season. While playing against men in the DEL at the ripe age of  17, the rookie produced an impressive seven goals and 34 points in just 41 games. While the argument stands that the DEL isn’t as competitive as its rival leagues, it’s still an enormous feat to accomplish at his age.

Stutzle is a phenomenal skater with a high-end mix of both speed and agility. He’s got the quick strides to blow past defenders and the terrific edge work to beat those in tight. He has the ability to showcase his elite hands while performing at his top speed, feasting on defenders in one-one-one situations. He plays the game with a pass-first mentality, but can also finish it off himself with an excellent wrist shot and offensive instincts. 

In all honesty, although the debate is real, it would not shock me to see him taken second at the draft. He is an exciting player who plays the game at a high pace at all times. The league is trending towards players like him. Depending on the type of player you are looking for in your dynasty league, he should definitely be going off the board early. He’s got fantastic offensive upside and has the potential to grow into an elite 1C. 

Alexander Holtz

Current Team: Djurgardens IF

Position: Right Wing

Draft projection: Top-5

Fantasy upside: 9.0

Holtz is one of two sensational Swedes heading into the 2020 entry draft and is likely to go somewhere in the top-5. Playing as a 17-year-old in the SHL, he racked up 16 points (9G + 7A), while averaging just under 13 minutes a night. If those numbers don’t blow you away, keep in mind that only two U18 players have posted a higher points-per-game in the past 30 years – those being Markus Naslund (0.31) and Peter Forsberg (0.30). Not bad company.

Holtz is a pure goal scorer, plain and simple. His shot is not only powerful, but he is able to release it on a dime and place it within an inch of his intended target. In fact, he’s arguably the best pound-for-pound shooter in the draft and undoubtedly has 30+ goal-scorer written all over his future. He’s got a good stride and solid speed which are both amped up by his top-notch work ethic. He doesn’t quit on plays, especially when there’s a stray puck, he wants it at all times. Coincidentally, his biggest flaw is probably the fact that he keeps the puck for himself often, choosing the shot when he should have chosen to pass. He is destined to be a special teams juggernaut and will likely sit in the shooter’s box on a top unit one day. 

The offensive upside is through the roof in Holtz and he has all the tools to become one of your top-scoring wingers. Enjoy the ride.

Lucas Raymond

Current Team: Frolunda HC

Position: Right Wing

Draft projection: Top-5

Fantasy upside: 9.5

Swede number 2 is right there with Holtz, and depending on who you are talking to, could even go before him. At 17 years old, Raymond has amassed 10 points (4G + 6A), while playing a very limited role with Frolunda HC of the SHL. He has thrived on the international stage and has been one of Sweden’s top producers for years.

Oddly enough, he and Holtz are almost polar opposites in regards to their highlighted attributes. Raymond’s playmaking ability is top-notch. He has got tremendous vision and often leaves viewers wondering if the play he had made was a mistake or not. Don’t let his pass-first MO blind you though. His shot is no slouch either and will still manage to find the net at the top level, just not as often. He’s an elite skater with tremendous edge work, making him extremely dangerous in all areas of the ice. 

At just 5-8, he is slightly undersized and tends to lose puck battles because of it. In order to gain some strength and size, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him to take an extra year or two overseas before making the jump to the North American game. Therefore, he may be more for those fantasy owners with a little more patience. However, once he does transition, you will certainly be getting elite-level talent.

Anton Lundell

Current Team: HIFK

Position: Center

Draft projection: Top-10

Fantasy upside: 8.0

The fun continues with Lundell, who is yet another prospect who is likely to jump anywhere from third to just inside the top-10 in most rankings. 

The Finnish pivot showcases extremely different qualities than every player on this list and plays a much different style of hockey. While the others are on the smaller side of the spectrum and extremely offensive minded, Lundell carries a large, developed frame and focuses more on his two-way responsibilities. 

His positioning is extremely sound and is a beast when it comes to the faceoff dot. His offence is by no means elite and his skating needs much work. However, he has shown that he can put points on the board, all while being one of the best defensive players on the ice. I will call it right now and say we have a future Selke winner here.

Lundell is a great option for a mid-range, multi-cat formatted league. He will put up points, but will also add some extra points in the face-off and defensive categories. Stay away if you are into the flashy, point producing pivot, he’s not it.

It’s not everyday that we see a crop of European skaters like this. Four very talented, top-10 worthy players, all bringing four completely different elements. You have the high-end goal scoring in Alexander Holtz, the elite vision and playmaking ability in Lucas Raymond, the two-way force in Anton Lundell and finally the all-around entertainment level in Tim Stutzle. In closing, I have one question for you: What order do you have these guys going?

As always, find me on Twitter @hall1289. Until next week.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency WPG Players
36.1% KYLE CONNOR MARK SCHEIFELE BLAKE WHEELER
21.5% ANDREW COPP ADAM LOWRY JACK ROSLOVIC
16.1% CODY EAKIN NIKOLAJ EHLERS PATRIK LAINE

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