October’s release of Dobber’s Top-200 Forward Prospects gives us an opportunity to the first accurate representation of how offseason transactions and ultimately, roster decisions, have settled out for fantasy hockey prospects around the world. With the true spirit of the rankings returning, I want to revert the format of today’s article to one I had ran with for a small time towards the end of last season. Rather than simply providing insights for the players who have climbed Dobber’s list the most in terms of sheer numbers, I want to break down the discussion into what I believe can be more relevant insights.
Because we know that not all fantasy hockey leagues are created equal, I think it’s important to define our scope, and frame it definitively. In today’s edition of the Fastest Rising Forward prospects, the focus will be broken down into three windows of depth for fantasy hockey leagues. This month, the detailed changes in Dobber’s list also allowed for a unique opportunity to weed out some of the fastest falling prospects – an insight that I’ve chosen to include in today’s piece and one I hope to take advantage of going forward. Using the same rough definition as was presented in March, the categories will be broken down as follows:
Shallow Leagues: Shallow prospect leagues will be leagues where a typical team would own 2-3 players who are currently on the brink of playing in the NHL, or already making their way in the league.
Medium Depth Leagues: Medium depth leagues will be defined as leagues where a typical team would own 3-5 players who are true prospects in the sense that they, at most would have had a taste of the NHL, but more likely are still playing overseas, in junior or in the AHL.
Deep Leagues: Deep leagues will be defined as leagues where a typical team would own 5-10 prospects who vary from fresh second-round draft picks to fringe prospects.
So without further ado, enjoy the formatting and especially the content!
For shallow leagues
Rising: Ilya Mikheyev, 46 | September 2019 – 100 | August 2019 – 100
The Russian free-agent signee has been an outstanding blessing to the Maple Leafs’ depth to kick off the 2019-20 campaign. Only a couple of weeks into the slate, Mikheyev ranks third in Calder Power Rankings due not only to a productive offense, but also a widely respected 200-foot game. Mikheyev seems to have been poured from a similar mold to his common linemate Trevor Moore, which is bursting at the seams with intensity and lack of fear. Mikheyev has already become a relied upon source for speed and tenacious forchecking within the Leafs’ lineup, two traits that align the player well with the team’s overall vision.
Falling: Gabriel Vilardi, 94 | September 2019 – 41 | August 2019 – 39
At 20 years old, the amount of time that the former 11th overall selection has missed due to a lingering back injury is extremely disheartening. Vilardi hasn’t played in a competitive hockey game since December 7, 2018, and the factor of missing time seems to be weighing heavy on the mind of Dobber and other analysts alike. He has yet to be cleared to skate; however, LA Kings’ brass maintain that they expect the prospect to make a full recovery. The question of what type of player he will be when he finally does return, however, remains very uncertain.
Falling: Joshua Ho-Sang, 100 | September 2019 – 60 | August 2019 – 60
Opening the 2019-20 season on waivers was a tough break for Ho-Sang, especially considering the praise that he was given from Islanders’ head coach Barry Trotz regarding his consistency during training camp. Actions, however, speak louder than words, and in this case the irony is that the only thing consistent about Ho-Sang since leaving the world of junior hockey has been his continual demotion to the minor leagues. After being sent down, it was reported that the Islander prospect requested to be traded from the organization. He has since been asked not to report to Bridgeport so that the organization can find a suitable trading partner without fear of an injury.
For medium depth leagues
Rising: Carsen Twarynski, 116 | September 2019 – 195 | August 2019 – 192
As a surprise to many, the Flyers’ third-round selection from 2016 was chosen to remain on the NHL roster post-training camp in favour of top prospects Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost. While top-6 center Nolan Patrick nurses a migraine disorder, Twarynski will continue to take advantage of the opportunity to play a significant role in the Flyers’ middle-6. His long-term fantasy value pales in comparison to his aforementioned peers, however, if you’re looking for what is likely a minor eligible fantasy player to earn you some points in the short-term, Twarynski is your man.
Falling: Francis Perron, 174 | September 2019 – 138 | August 2019 – 138
After tripling his production at the AHL level with his new club in San Jose, it was curious to see the Sharks’ organization move on from Perron in favour of the nearly irrelevant 32-year-old Tom Pyatt, and the opportunity to select in the early sixth round, rather than the late seventh of the 2019 entry draft. Perron seemed to have the offensive potential of a player who would complement the Sharks’ and even the Canucks’ bottom-6 quite well. Rather, he was waived by the Canucks to open the regular season. Another productive year in the AHL could allow him to keep a foot in the door, but equally so, it’s disappointing to see him outside of a position to earn fantasy production right now.
For deep leagues
Rising: John Beecher, 173 | September 2019 – 313 | August 2019 – 312
The speedy centerman who was relegated to the third line of the USNDP U18 squad last season is a striking figure who pairs a surprising pace with a sizable frame. His initial ranking that saw him fall outside of the top-300 was representative of his projections to date. However, after making a positive impression and earning high praise from Bruins brass, it seems like Beecher could indeed be on the relatively short track, despite currently pursuing a college degree. Considering his package of size and speed, it’s possible that if refined well at the University of Michigan, Beecher makes a direct jump to the NHL after his sophomore or junior slate.
Falling: Cameron Hebig, 199 | September 2019 – 189| August 2019 – 187
The 22-year-old who had a respectable AHL rookie campaign with the Bakersfield Condors finds himself remaining outside of the Oilers’ inner circle of prospects after a relatively cavalier NHL pre-season. At one point during the Oilers’ dismal campaign last year it seemed as if almost any prospect on a hot-streak could find an NHL audition dropped into their lap, and at times, Hebig seemed front and center. Any long-shot bets that were made on Hebig over the course of the last year or so, however, haven’t paid off and it seems highly unlikely that they will now.
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