This week's Journey looks at late round NHL draftees that could be fantasy bargains.
The Journey this week examines which late-round picks of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft are fantasy value picks based on their drafted position and team, and is the third part in this series. Parts one and two of this series can be found here: First Round Bargains, Mid-Round Bargains.
Jordy Stallard - Drafted 127th Overall – Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg continued their strong drafting under Kevin Cheveldayoff by adding Calgary Hitmen forward Jordy Stallard with their early fifth-round selection. At 6’2” and 190 pounds, the Manitoba native has room to grow into his frame, and has an offensive game that is continuing to develop.
If Stallard is to make the NHL, it will be in an offensive role. His jump from 26 points as a Western Hockey League rookie to 49 in his sophomore campaign is promising, and there appears to be more potential that has not yet been reached. Although he is not much of a playmaker, Stallard is able to work his way into high-danger areas in the offensive zone, and is a scoring threat when the puck is distributed to him. He regularly plays on the half-wall on the power play where he is able to walk out and snap off his above-average wrist shot. He will be an interesting prospect to watch next season for Calgary where he will be given even more responsibility.
Max Lajoie – Drafted 133rd Overall – Ottawa Senators
There is a lot to like about Ottawa selecting this all-around defenseman out of the Western Hockey League in the fifth round. The left-handed shooting blue liner currently playing for the Swift Current Broncos has put up back-to-back years of 40 and 37 points, respectively.
Lajoie is a solid skater with a well-rounded offensive game who will fit in well in a Senators prospect group, a group which has a nice mix of stay-at-home defensemen and two-way players. He played tough minutes against first and second line competition, and put up solid numbers for a Broncos team that was one of the lowest scoring groups in the WHL last season. Although he does not project as a top-line NHL defender, he could be a depth option for the Sens down the road.
Eetu Tuulola – Drafted 156th Overall – Calgary Flames
At 6’3” and 225 pounds, Tuulola defines the modern day power-forward. He is extremely hard to play against below the circles in the offensive zone, where he competes for loose pucks and causes turnovers. Tuulola may not have the highest offensive upside, but he could develop into a middle-six winger who is valuable in multi-category leagues due to his peripheral stats.
Although he is not quick, when he does get time and space, he is able to unleash his hard, accurate shot for the finish. Tuulola is not afraid to go to the front of the net, opening space for his linemates, and making himself available for rebounds and deflections. After splitting time between HPK’s U20 and Liiga teams last season, he will come across the pond to play for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL this year.
Oskar Steen – Drafted 165th Overall – Boston Bruins
Steen is a classic undersized forward with skill that dropped to the sixth round, and into Boston’s lap. He is an incredibly hard-working player who currently plays with the Farjestad organization in Sweden. The young forward is a smooth skater who, despite his small stature, is not afraid to go to the tough areas of the ice. He battles hard along the boards and in front of the net, putting himself in position to make a positive impact for his team.
After playing just 17 games in Sweden’s top league last year, Steen will feature more prominently for his club in 2016-17. His added offensive responsibility should add to his numbers this season. Although he is a long way from NHL ice, Steen is a player who could be featured in a top-nine role, and eventually receive special teams minutes.
Dmitri Sokolov – Drafted 196th Overall – Minnesota Wild
Sokolov’s stock fell like a rock during the 2015-16 season, allowing Minnesota to take a flier on the talented prospect in the last round of the NHL Draft. The young Russian forward possesses a ton of talent but is rarely the most consistent player on the ice. He has an elite shot, and good offensive talent, with or without the puck, but doesn’t play a full 200-foot game.
Rarely is a player drafted in the seventh round mentioned as a potential fantasy asset, but if Sokolov can put everything together, he could be a valuable late round pick. His pedigree as one of the first three picks of the 2015 CHL Import Draft speaks for itself, and Sokolov shows flashes from game to game of his top-end ability. Surely he is a boom or bust prospect, but in this case the risk may be worth the reward.
Tyler Soy – Drafted 205th Overall – Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim used their final pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft on Soy, a player who plays the type of game that will fit the Ducks system. The Victoria Royals center is a good all-around prospect who could have a future as a bottom-six forward with secondary offense potential.
Soy skates well, and handles the puck with ease through the neutral and offensive zones. He could benefit from being more aggressive on the defensive side of the puck, especially if he is to make the NHL in an energy role. Offensively, Soy possesses a good arsenal of skills, relying on his movement and strong shot to open up room for himself and his teammates. The young centerman has produced at over a point-per-game pace over his last two WHL seasons, and there is no reason why he won’t do so for the third year in a row next campaign.
Don’t worry, there won’t be a Part Four of this detailing undrafted prospects! (Brayden Burke, Maxim Lazarev!)
Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.
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