This week, I’m taking a closer look at three prospects who were big risers on Dobber’s latest Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards list. Who are they and why are they on the rise? Read further to find out.
The biggest riser of the month was Anaheim Ducks’ prospect Kiefer Sherwood. He jumped to number 151 after not being ranked at all. The second-biggest riser was Florida Panthers’ prospect Juho Lammikko. He jumped from number 279 to 158.
But these two are depth prospects, and unless you’re in an ultra-deep league, you don’t even need to know about them. So instead, I’ll focus on three prospects who cracked the top 80 despite being outside the top 150 last month.
Maxime Comtois – Anaheim Ducks – up to 55 from 162
Comtois made a huge impact in the QMJHL as a 16-year-old rookie when he scored 26 goals and 60 points in 62 games. He also had 68 minutes of penalties. Early rankings had him in the top five. Scouts were eager to see how much he could improve after such a strong rookie season.
But Comtois struggled during his draft season. He only had 22 goals and 51 points in 64 games. His penalty minutes went up from 68 to 88 but everything else went downwards which is always alarming. He was a hard-working two-way winger with good size and high NHL certainty. But lack of offensive production caused many to wonder how high his offensive upside is. The Ducks drafted him 50th overall.
After the Ducks drafted him, Comtois started to look more like the player he was at 16. Last season was his third in the ‘Q’. He finished the season with 44 goals, 85 points and plus-43 in 54 games – a huge improvement from previous years. He led his team in goals and points. His strong play continued in the playoffs where he scored four goals and 12 points in 13 games.
Comtois’ numbers were definitely helped by Vitali Abramov. Abramov joined the Victoriaville Tigers in a trade from Gatineau early in the season. But Comtois also got to represent Canada at the World Juniors. He was one of the few 18-year-olds on a team filled with 19-year-olds. He scored three goals and six points in seven games. All in all, it was a very successful season.
Comtois still has one year of junior eligibility remaining. But he surprised many by cracking the Ducks’ roster out of training camp this season. His cause was definitely helped by the fact they were missing some players due to injuries. A big factor was also Nick Ritchie not having a contract to start the season.
But Comtois had a strong showing at training camp, so he also earned his spot. What he’s done since then has been amazing: two goals and six points in seven games to start his NHL career. He’s playing close to 16 minutes per game with about one and a half minutes coming on the power play. He’s also added 22 hits which are great news for owners in multi-cat leagues.
The only thing raising a bit of a red flag has been lack of shots: eight shots on goal in seven games is not enough. But it looks like Comtois is here to stay, and his future looks bright. In points-only leagues, he’ll be a fine option. But in multi-cat leagues, he could be a stud.
Dillon Dubé – Calgary Flames – up to 71 from 152
The Flames drafted Dubé 56th overall in 2016 out of the WHL. During his draft year, he scored 26 goals and 66 points in 65 games. His production was good but not great. He was a multi-purpose forward with average size at 5-foot-11.
He followed that up with a season of 20 goals and 55 points in 40 games. Great numbers considering he played a little over half a season. During his fourth and final junior season, Dubé exploded to the tune of 38 goals and 84 points in 53 games. He also captained Team Canada at the World Juniors last season. He scored three goals and five points in seven games there.
Most people expected Dubé to start his pro career in the AHL. But he beat out a few more experienced players for a spot on the Flames’ roster. So far, he’s only scored one assist in five games and hasn’t provided much in peripheral stats either. But he’s played an average of 11:36 per game, with about one minute on both special teams.
Dubé has been dealing with a lower-body injury and missed one game because of it as well. It’s difficult to say how much that has affected his play to start the season but very likely it has. It looks like he’s earned the trust of his coach. But he needs to do more to earn the trust of fantasy owners in shallower leagues. His future may not be as bright as Comtois’ but it’s very likely Dubé has a long and successful career in the NHL.
Mikhail Vorobyov – Philadelphia Flyers – up to 79 from 164
The Flyers drafted Vorobyov, or Vorobyev as you’ll see in some places, 104th overall in 2015. In his draft year, he scored eight goals and 20 points in 39 games in the MHL, the top junior league in Russia. He also played at the U18 Worlds that season where he scored four points in five games.
Vorobyov split the following season between junior and pro. He scored six goals and 23 points in 21 games in the MHL, and three points in 28 games in the KHL. He was only 18 years old at the time, and the Flyers’ draft choice started to get noticed a bit.
As a 19-year-old, Vorobyov was a full-time player in the KHL where he scored three goals and 11 points in 44 games. His numbers don’t jump at you which is very common for youngsters in that league. What stood out, though, was his performance at the World Juniors where he had ten assists in seven games. He formed a great pair with Kirill Kaprizov who was the recipient of most of Vorobyov’s assists.
Last season, Vorobyov made the jump to North America. He spent his first season in the AHL where he scored nine goals and 29 points in 58 games. But even then, many questioned his abilities and talents. Is this former fourth-rounder going to be an NHL player?
Well, the answer seems to be yes. Vorobyov cracked the Flyers’ roster out of training camp. The Flyers have been using him as their number three centre. He’s averaged 12:20 of ice time per game with almost two minutes coming on the power play. He’s scored one goal and two points in six games so far.
Vorobyov is unlikely to provide much help in multi-cat leagues, though. He’s only fired four shots on goal, and he’s known as a playmaker. He has good size at 6-foot-2 but he doesn’t play a physical style of game. The Flyers like having big players down the middle but Vorobyov has only won 30% of his faceoffs. That’s something which needs to improve if he wants to keep his position.
But there’s offensive upside to be had here, and Vorobyov is very likely a free agent in shallower leagues. He started the season with points in his first two games but hasn’t added any in the four games since then. It’s important to notice that he was a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game, so his spot in the lineup isn’t secure yet.
And that’s all for now, thanks for reading. Feel free to add comments below. Remember to follow me on Twitter @JokkeNevalainen.
Previously on The Journey:
- Ramblings: Remove Dead Weight With Peripheral Category Killers, Weekend Waiver Options (March 23)
- Ramblings: Last-Day Goalie Options, Hellebuyck Heating Up, PK Subban Droppable?
- Looking Ahead: March 22 - April 3
- The Journey: Fastest Rising Prospect Defensemen - March 2019
- Saturday's NHL Picks: March 23, 2019
- 21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles
- Frozen Tools Forensics - Nashville Predators
- Geek of the Week: Keith Yandle Getting Better With Age