Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing fantasy predictions and analysis along the way.
When it comes to acquiring new prospects cheaply, one-way poolies can happen upon fantasy gold is by scanning for players who finished just behind their league leaders production-wise. These players tend to have lower profiles despite posting comparable scoring numbers and should thus be available more cheaply in keeper and dynasty formats. A couple weeks ago, for instance, this column featured Flames prospect Rory Kerins as a lesser-known comparable prospect to Wyatt Johnston (DAL). While Johnston made waves with his 124 points in 68 OHL games, Kerins popped a comparable 118 in 67 but remains more under the radar.
While Johnston sits at #14 in Dobber's Top 200 Forward Prospects list and and #5 in the Dobber Prospect Report Writer's Consensus rankings (get the DPR here!), Kerins, a 6th round pick from 2020, still does not feature at all in the monthly ranking, and only three out of eleven Dobber writers ranked him in their top 50 players who haven't played a single NHL game yet. This is a superficial, purely statistical comparison, of course, and Johnston being a year younger gives him a higher ceiling, but you can likely pick up Kerins for free or at least cheaply, whereas acquiring Johnston would be an expensive proposition at this point. Value!
Sticking with the OHL but shifting our focus from points to goals, Martin Chromiak (LAK) is another relatively unheralded player slowly emerging from the ruins of the cancelled OHL 2020-21 season as a potentially high-end prospect. Chromiak, drafted a round earlier than Kerins in 2020, might just be the Rory Kerins to Brennan Othmann's Wyatt Johnston. While Othmann (NYR) stole headlines by breaking the 50-goal barrier (0.76 goals per game), the lesser-known Chromiak wasn't far behind him with 44 in 60 (0.73 gpg). Like Kerins, Chromiak is two years out from being drafted versus Johnston and Othmann's one, but that is still an impressive rate, especially considering that the Covid upheaval forced him to play in Slovakia for a year before returning to the OHL for his D+2.
With Chromiak, it's all about his powerful, accurate shot: