Fastest Rising Prospects: February 2016

by Kevin LeBlanc on February 13, 2016

Why Ty Rattie is one of the fastest rising prospects this month.

The Journey examines Dobber’s top forward and defenseman prospect lists and accesses the fast risers in February. Take a look at the Top 200 Forwards here, and the Top 50 defensemen here.

 

Forwards

 

Ty Rattie – St. Louis Blues – Up to 33rd from 45th Overall

 

Fantasy owners have been extremely frustrated with the handling of Rattie from the start of this season. Ken Hitchcock has always been one to play veterans over rookies, but on the scoring starved and injury ridden Blues, you would think that the offensively potent forward would get more of a look in the lineup. In 11 games in the NHL this season, Rattie has five points, despite averaging less than ten minutes per game and little to no powerplay opportunity. An AHL veteran at this point, the Blues 2011 second round pick has 115 points in 167 career games with the Chicago Wolves, and has proven he should get a prolonged NHL look.

 

Shane Prince – Ottawa Senators – Up to 37th from 47th Overall

 

Prince has been a bright spot on the inconsistent Senators this year. Ottawa has allowed the most goals in the NHL this season, yet the young winger is one of a handful of players on the team that is a plus player. His Corsi is tops among forwards on the team, proving that he can be utilized more than he currently is in the lineup. With 12 points in 41 games, Prince has played predominantly in the bottom six, but his future may lay more in a scoring role as he has scored at every level from junior to the AHL.

 

Tobias Lindberg – Toronto Maple Leafs – Up to 84th Overall from 108th Overall

 

As everyone was fawning over Dion Phaneuf’s contract getting moved from Toronto to Ottawa early in the week, Tobias Lindberg was quietly an impactful piece in the season’s biggest deal to this point. A talented scorer who has only played one and a half seasons of hockey in North America, the Swedish-born Lindberg bolsters the Maple Leafs already solid prospect group. In the short term, Tobias will help the AHL’s Toronto Marlies on their quest to a Calder Cup, but in the long term, he could become a piece that will grow with the Leafs fellow prospects in the hopes that their rebuild provides fruitful results. As big, strong, scoring winger, Lindberg is a player who has the size and ability to fit in well amongst the extremely high level talents that Toronto has in their system such as William Nylander and Mitch Marner.

 

Kevin Labanc – San Jose Sharks – Up to 99th Overall from 126th Overall

 

I wrote about Labanc here last week, and all the words from the player of the month version of the Journey seven days ago still resonate a week later. The current OHL scoring leader now has an eight-point lead over London’s Christian Dvorak with 98 points in 49 games. This month, the San Jose prospect has 13 points in four games, including back-to-back four point games this week. There is not a hotter prospect in any level of hockey right now.

 

Sebastian Aho – Carolina Hurricanes – Up to 112st Overall from 121st Overall

 

Aho had his coming out party with the gold medal winning World Junior team from Finland as the calendar turned to 2016, but he has been consistently solid for the duration of his Liiga season. Playing with Karpat, the Carolina Hurricanes second round pick has been close to a point per game player this year with 30 points in 36 games. Aho and teammate Patrik Laine made their senior debuts for Finland in the Euro Hockey Tour tournament this week in Sweden. Aho’s trajectory continues to move upward after many thought he was taken too high at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

 

Conor Garland – Arizona Coyotes – Up to 158th Overall from 539th Overall

 

Garland is another player who was highlighted last week in The Journey’s Prospects of the Month article, and his meteoric rise to fantasy relevance is acknowledged as he enters the Top 200 Forwards list. The Boston native continues his two-year domination of the QMJHL, with 107 points in 48 games this season. At 5-8 and 160 pounds, Garland relies heavily on his elite level skill from night to night. He has the balance and skating ability to be an NHL player, but his diminutive size will continue to raise questions as he moves up to higher levels of play.

 

Defensemen

 

Shea Theodore – Anaheim Ducks – Up to 3rd Overall from 13th Overall

 

The logjam that is Anaheim’s blueline is currently keeping Theodore in the AHL, but he may not be there for long. As the trade deadline approaches in the next few weeks, there has been some chatter that the Ducks are looking to trade one of their NHL defensemen for a forward that can push them towards a playoff run this spring. Theodore is NHL ready, and has proven that with a 13 game stint this season where he produced six points and played a predominant role with the man advantage. Projected as a top four defenseman who will also be a stalwart on the powerplay for years to come, Theodore will likely be in a Ducks sweater to stay sooner rather than later.

 

Dimitry Orlov – Washington Capitals – Up to 21st Overall from 47th Overall

 

Orlov is an interesting case on this list for multiple reasons. Most point producers from the blueline do so with some benefit of the powerplay, however only two of Orlov’s 19 points this season have come with man advantage. He currently sits with the best Corsi % among regulars on the best team in the NHL, and is averaging 1.19 points per 60 minutes. Orlov only plays just over 15 minutes per game, typically on the Capitals third pairing, yet is third among Washington defensemen in scoring. Although he doesn’t provide much in the terms of other category scoring outside of plus minus (he is a plus-12), Orlov could turn into an even more solid point producer if given more opportunity.

 

Esa Lindell – Dallas Stars – Up to 31st Overall from 58th Overall

 

Lindell has had a great season at the AHL level for the Pacific Division leading Texas Stars. Playing in the same defensive corps as fellow Finnish defenseman Julius Honka, Lindell has piled up 28 points in 49 AHL games this season, ranking him 12th among defensemen in the league. Although his four game stint in Dallas in January was by no means successful from a numbers and advanced stats standpoint, Lindell remains the Stars number one injury replacement option. He projects as a bottom four defenseman who can chip in and help offensively when called upon in the long term.

 

 

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