Welcome back, Journey faithful! I hope you all had a safe and Merry Christmas, and along with me are now looking forward to ringing in the New Year with some fantasy hockey success. With the holiday season comes a time for reflection on the past year, whether good or bad, as well as an opportunity to set new goals for the year to come. While we might not all have had the success we’d hoped for over the last 12 months, I can tell you with some level of confidence that you’ve got another 12 to look forward to, and with that, time to bounce back from the year that was. (This is all in terms of fantasy hockey success of course… I’m really not concerned with how your 2018: The year of Keto went)
While us fantasy players might have goals a little more related to the beer gut that we’ve accrued over the holidays, we should also be paying attention to the resolutions of the prospects we’re following. Like some of us who struggled to make up ground in our leagues over the past calendar year, there have certainly been some prospects who have had a tough 2018. Today we’re going to have a look at a few of them, and examine what I think would be a resolution to get them back on track for 2019!
Jayce Hawryluk (-38)
New Year’s Resolution – Force the Panthers to keep him
Dobber Rankings: December 2017 – 55 | December 2018 – 93
The 22-year-old forward didn't do anything exceptionally bad to end up dropping a whopping 38 places on Dobber’s rankings. Rather, he stayed consistent amongst a group of rising prospects in Florida’s farm system. Luckily for him though, he’s the closest to making an impact of most of the organization’s top prospects, and thus will have the opportunity to claw back a few spots before being entirely overlooked. Prior to the Christmas break, he was recalled by the Panthers and wound up with a clutch two-goal performance versus the bottom-dwelling Blackhawks. Remaining on the Sunshine Coast for another couple of months would be a major step for the former second-round draft-pick on the road back to asserting his potential as a future top-six forward.
Jayce Hawryluk strips Cam Ward of the puck and slots it in the empty net to record his first career NHL goal (1-1): pic.twitter.com/2RPmUzjxfg
— The Rat Trick (@FanSidedTheRat) December 24, 2018
Anders Bjork (-26)
New Year’s Resolution – Get his game together in Providence, and sail up to Boston!
Dobber Rankings: December 2017 – 26 | December 2018 – 52
In the midst of yet another injury-riddled season for the Bruins, Bjork has come up short early in the season and found himself back in Providence for a shot at renewing his confidence. Since leaving Notre Dame, Bjork has tallied a measly eight goals in 69 professional game – a lackluster performance from a player who had much higher expectations after scoring twenty-one as a junior. Most prospects would kill for an opportunity similar to what Bjork had been gifted in Boston, but another stint in the AHL might be just what the doctor ordered. In his ten games since demotion, the 22-year-old has been racking up the assists and gradually been getting his swagger back.
Francis Perron (-29)
New Year’s Resolution – Keep doing what he’s doing, and carry it over in a Sharks uniform
Dobber Rankings: December 2017 – 108 | December 2018 – 137
This 22-year-old got a kickstart on his New Year’s resolution this fall when he joined his new AHL team in San Jose. After a disappointing professional sophomore season in Belleville, the former seventh-round draft-pick has been on a new level with the West Coast air in his lungs. The Barracuda are one of the AHL’s top teams, and are being led by the former Senator prospect in both goals and points – he’s proven to be a worthy replacement for another player at the bottom of this list.
Peter Cehlarik (-28)
New Year’s Resolution – Turn things up a notch in Providence and finish the year near a point per game
Dobber Rankings: December 2017 – 159 | December 2018 – 187
Once considered one of the Bruins’ more NHL-ready prospects, Cehlarik was sent to Providence after a solid pre-season audition in order to have a shot at more consistent ice-time. Unfortunately, the opportunity for him to return to Boston hasn't come knocking yet, and he seems to have been passed over by other B’s prospects including Colby Cave and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. His rookie season in Providence had given us hope that he could turn out to be a productive NHL player one day, but his trajectory has dropped off with the lack of opportunity. Finishing the season on a strong note in Providence will keep the wind in his sails and hopefully result in an opportunity back in Boston before the season wraps up.
Daniel O’Regan (-139)
New Year’s Resolution – An immediate surge in production… or a trade.
Dobber Rankings: December 2017 – 42 | December 2018 – 181
We wrap up the list with the gem of our New Year’s resolutions… The cold Rochester winter has not been kind to Mr. Danny O’Regan, who's struggled to bring his game to the next level since moving over from the West Coast in February. The growth of younger and similarly evaluated prospects in the Buffalo pipeline have also led to O’Regan’s catastrophic drop in Dobber’s rankings. Now 24 years old, the former Shark prospect is nearing the point of no return in the Sabres’ organization, and would benefit from either an immediate surge of production, or a fresh start with an organization who would benefit from his services as an NHL player now. In any case, the days of projecting reliable 50-point NHL seasons from O’Regan appear to have faded into the abyss.
Let me know your fantasy hockey resolutions, or let me know if you think there are other prospects who are more in need of a good New Year’s resolution on Twitter @olaf1393. As always, thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!
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