The Journey: Prospects Who Could Join Their Clubs This Summer – Atlantic Division
Hello prospect enthusiasts and welcome back to another edition of The Journey. If you have not yet done so, make sure to purchase Dobber's 14th annual Prospect Report (available here). This report is jam-packed with prospect analysis, projections, and comparables all geared to assist you in winning that fantasy hockey championship.
Now, for the task at hand. For the past two installments, I have covered prospects from each team who show potential to etch their names on a roster sheet this summer. Not all will see game action, but with the extended rosters, should receive a promotion at the very least. With the Western Conference covered, it is time to head out East to cover both the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions.
Now, if you are keeping up with your daily hockey news, you know that Friday was a gloomy day in regards to COVID-19 and the progress of the proposed summer playoff plan. However, regardless of my opinion on the matter, I am going to continue to assume the league does carry on and teams are able to play as planned.
With that in mind, let's hop into the Atlantic.
Sure, Carey Price is the unanimous starter in Montreal as they head into their surprise playoff run. In fact, odds are that Charlie Lindgren is likely to fulfill backup duties on the bench, meaning there is not much room for Primeau to slip in out of the gate. Yet, the prospect of seeing the future star between the pipes this summer is not as farfetched as you may think. In the unfortunate event that Price falls to an injury, it's no stretch to envision the Habs heading straight for the 20-year-old, keeping Lindgren on the bench.
Primeau has already made his NHL debut during this season while earning the start in two matchups, posting a respectable 1-1-0 record. Despite taking a loss, the New Jersey native was cool, calm, and collected between the pipes and looked right at home facing NHL-caliber players. We have seen teams look to rookie goaltenders before, and with a resume such as his, he fits the bill perfectly. To boost his case even further, his rookie season in the AHL was one to remember. He recorded a 17-11-3 record while his four shutouts sat third league-wide, earning him a spot in this year's AHL All-Rookie Team.
Coming in as one of the NCAA's top-performing goaltenders over the past few seasons, it's no surprise to hear rumblings of a potential deal involving the $10 million man, Carey Price. It is without a doubt that Primeau is on pace to become one of the league's top goaltenders, and fantasy owners should be in for a nice ride sooner rather than later.
Honorable mention: Ryan Poehling
Toronto Maple Leafs
Given his age (18) and his lack of professional experience, it's hard for me to imagine Robertson drawing into the lineup come playoff time. However, according to Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, it's not as far out as I may have thought. The club has announced that the 5-foot-9 offensive threat will join the team during the summer as a black ace. Granted, he may only see practice time, but the call-up serves as a great opportunity for him to get a feel for the environment nonetheless.
In the case where he lands a roster spot, he adds an elite level of offensive talent, bolstering both their top-9 and secondary power-play unit. He's an elite goal scorer. in fact, no one in the CHL scored more than him, as he exploded with 55 goals and 86 points in just 46 OHL games. What's more, he has improved his numbers drastically in each of his three seasons with the Peterborough Petes, showing fantastic development in his game. After dropping to the second round in 2019, all signs are showing that the Leafs may have a steal on their hands.
Yes, he is young and brings no professional experience. However, his speedy, up-tempo skillset could mesh well with the new scheme that is taking form in Toronto. Enjoy Leafs fans – here is yet another skilled goal scorer to add to your arsenal.
Honorable mention: Timothy Liljegren
It's no secret that the Boston Bruins carry one of the deepest four-line cores within the league. This, of course, makes it no easy to task for a rookie skater to ease his way into the lineup, especially come post-season time. However, if there was any prospect to sneak his way into the lineup right now, it's Studnicka.
The Windsor, Ontario, product is a skilled player coming off a very respectable AHL rookie season. His 49 points sat third among all rookies, along with his 154 shots on target, all of which earned him honors on this year's AHL All-Rookie team. Aside from a one-time 72 point-season, he was never the most explosive producer during his time in juniors. Yet, he has managed to elevate his game smoothly into the pro level, becoming one of the organization's top talents.
He has already enjoyed a cup of coffee in the NHL, suiting up in two games with the club this season. In those games, he produced one assist and a plus-2 rating and got a short glimpse of what the league has to offer. Injuries are bound to happen, and in his case, will likely need to happen in order for him to see some playing time. However, there is a high chance fantasy owner could be blessed with an appearance over the summer.
Honorable mention: Anders Bjork
With seven NHL games and a full season in the American League under his belt, Tippett has had a good chunk of time to adjust to the pro level. In fact, he has managed to transition seemingly as a rookie in the AHL, recording 40 points over a 46-game span, leading his entire team in that regard. The Peterborough native is a natural goal scorer and consistently finds a way to beat goaltenders. He is a constant threat on the ice and can play both wings if tasked to do so.
Assuming he draws into the lineup, Tippett’s style meshes well with that of the high-scoring Panthers squad. His ability to produce would undoubtedly boost their secondary scoring production as well as their PP2. I fully expect him to make a strong case for himself as a full-timer in the NHL next season, so this summer could be a nice preview of what's to come in the immediate future.
Honorable mention: Aleksi Heponiemi
Tampa Bay Lightning
Perhaps one of the most under-the-radar producers at the moment, Barre-Boulet is quietly contributing at a very high level in the AHL. Despite racking up 334 points over 224 games in the OHL, the Quebec native went undrafted during his eligible years. However, the Lightning would take a chance, signing him to an entry-level deal as a free agent just last season. Since then, he has exploded on the scene, producing 68 and 56 points over the past two seasons, finishing sixth and fifth league-wide respectively.
Tampa may be stacked and primed for a playoff run. However, if they were to run into any goal-scoring woes, much like they did last year, they should look no further than him. He sports a good shot and understands how to find the spots to beat goaltenders. While a top-six role will be a hard task, he should challenge for a role on the team in the next two seasons, meaning fantasy owners should keep a close eye.
Honorable mention: Alexander Volkov
Thanks again for tuning in to this week's edition of The Journey. Next week, I will cap off this mini-series with the Metro Division before jumping into some draft lottery talk. Have a great week and as always, you can find me on Twitter @hall1289.
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