Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Vancouver Canucks
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – The Canucks added some great character guys who would make perfect additions for Stanley Cup contenders. Beagle is a winner – he’s won at every level he’s played in and he’s coming off a Cup himself. He can anchor a checking line and add dressing room character. Roussel loves to mix it up and is one of the better agitators in the game, but he also has a bit of scoring pop. Schaller is a solid penalty killer who has seen 17 games of playoff action in just two full seasons being in the league. The only problem? The Canucks aren’t Stanley Cup contenders. Best-case scenario has them three years away from that, with five years being more likely – long after Beagle is likely out of the league, and Roussel probably winding things down.
Still, adding these personalities to the dressing room can only help the youngsters and help prepare them for future challenges. But as far as fantasy hockey is concerned in the immediate year ahead – who cares? At least the newcomers won’t be hogging any precious power-play time from the prospects and youngsters we own.
Ready for full-time – Elias Pettersson currently sits atop the Fantasy Prospect Rankings list due to his tremendous upside, strong likelihood of sticking in the NHL, and minimal wait time – that checks pretty much all the boxes for fantasy owners. He may not be thrust out there on a scoring line immediately, but it won’t take him long at all to work his way up there. He is a must-own in any fantasy format with reasonable depth and a strong Calder Trophy candidate. (Read Pettersson’s scouting report here)
Nikolay Goldobin is NHL-ready and it’s a good thing too – he now has to clear waivers in order to be sent down. He was starting to dominate at the AHL level and, despite seeing the usual sheltered minutes that a rookie gets, looked pretty solid in the second half with Vancouver last season. His minus-14 rating disguises the fact that his possession numbers were actually pretty strong, albeit against the other team’s weaker lines. (Read Goldobin’s scouting report here)
Tyler Motte is a former college star who formed a part of the famed top line at the University of Michigan alongside Kyle Connor and J.T. Compher. Motte had 56 points in 38 games in that final year and indicated that he had the hands (32 goals) and agility to keep up with skilled players. The diminutive (5-9) 23-year-old was given chances on a scoring line with Chicago, but wasn’t ready. With the Canucks and in the AHL he has proven adept as a checking-line player, getting tough assignments and doing very well with them. The points will take several years in coming, if at all, but he should be a solid checking-line player despite his size. (Read Motte's scouting report here)
Adam Gaudette had a stellar college career (112 points in last 75 games) and turned pro in March, getting into five games with Vancouver. However, he is still only 21 (22 in October) and he does not have to clear waivers. Toss in the fact that Vancouver has 19 forwards competing for 13 jobs, and he’s an easy answer to be sent down. AHL time never hurts a prospect at this age. But he should still be an early call-up and could probably be penciled in for at least half a season of NHL time. (Read Gaudette's scouting report here)
Jonathan Dahlen is another victim of the numbers game. As with Gaudette, he does not have to clear waivers in order to be sent down. He was a star in Sweden’s second league and looked strong in six games with Utah (three points). But don’t count on him for more than a cup of coffee or two this year. (Read Dahlen's scouting report here)
Vancouver Canucks prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – The Canucks lack offense from the blue line but they have several very promising forwards who will put up points soon. In fact, Brock Boeser is already there, and if Bo Horvat stays healthy then check a box beside his name as well. Pettersson could be a star quickly, similar to Boeser last year, and while many fantasy owners have given up on Goldobin they may have done so about one year too soon. But the bottom line is this team is all about the future. A player being traded to this team will see his production dragged down unless he can slot in alongside Boeser. But in 2019-20 and beyond, that same player could actually see a boost. So this hypothetical trade would be a bad news/good news thing, depending on your fantasy hockey goals.
Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was C-)
Other Offseason Fantasy Outlooks:
- Ramblings: Canes Celebrating, Players Returning From Injury (Feb 17)
- Fantasy Take: Oilers and Flyers Swap Goalies
- Ramblings: Schneider Wins! Plus Thoughts on Schenn, Matthews, and more...
- Fantasy Take: Gagner Traded For Spooner
- The Journey: Fastest Rising Prospect Forwards - February 2019
- Top 50 Fantasy Prospect Defensemen - February 2019
- Saturday's NHL Picks: February 16, 2019
- 21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles