I have been hired on part time to write fantasy-hockey related articles for www.fantasyhockeycoach.com. My first one was published today, so I figured I would post it here as well.
The Canadian Hockey League playoffs kicked off last week. For fantasy hockey players, it’s a great chance to get a bit of a preview into which prospects could take that next step in the near future and become useful to us in the fantasy world. I’ve picked out 5 players from each Canadian league to keep an eye on now that the postseason is underway.
Ryan Johansen (Portland – Columbus Blue Jackets) - The big center showed it was no fluke that he was picked fourth overall last June. He put together a 92 point year and could be the Jackets long term answer down the middle.
Cody Eakin (Kootenay – Washington Capitals) - Eakin nearly made the Caps this past fall, but was sent back to junior where he put together an 83 point campaign. He could possibly use some AHL seasoning, but he is destined to be a 60+ point player soon with the Caps dynamic offense.
Ryan Howse (Chilliwack – Calgary Flames) - This sniper was second in the league in goals with 51 tallies. That type of offense is exactly what the Calgary Flames could use in their top six.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer – Undrafted) - 17-year-old is the best playmaker in the Dub with a league leading 75 apples. Look for him to be a top three pick in the June entry draft. Datsyuk-like potential.
Stefan Elliott (Saskatoon – Colorado Avalanche) - 81 points in 71 games shouldn’t go unnoticed. A short AHL stint could be in Elliott’s future before hitting and sticking with the Avalanche sometime next season.
Sean Couturier (Drummondville – Undrafted) - Couturier is a big bodied player with big time skill. He ended up T-fourth in Q league scoring this year and should be a top five draft pick into the NHL this season. He should also jump straight into the NHL.
Stanislav Galiev (Saint John – Washington Capitals) - The big, elusive Russian had 37 goals this season and could be a darkhorse to make the NHL next year.
Jonathan Huberdeau (Saint John – Undrafted) - He’s long and lanky and should be a top pick in this June’s NHL draft. He likely won’t jump to the NHL next year, but is a versatile and dynamic prospect for down the road.
Brandon Gormley (Moncton – Phoenix Coyotes) - Lauded as a two-way defenseman, point totals should follow Gormley once he makes his NHL debut. Will be a powerplay defenseman, which will help you if you can snag him.
Simon Després (Saint John – Pittsburgh Penguins) - Big, tall and a great skating defenseman. Had 41 points in 47 games this year, one of the top point per game averages among Q blueliners.
Tyler Toffoli (Ottawa – Los Angeles Kings) - Toffoli proved he was a sleeper of a draft pick for the Kings as he finished T-First in OHL scoring this year, including netting 57 goals. A scorer like this is hard to ignore.
Joey Hishon (Owen Sound – Colorado Avalanche) - The sneaky dynamo led the OHL in points-per-game average this season. He could be playing in the Avalanche’ top six next year as he is already pro-eligible.
Zack Kassian (Windsor – Buffalo Sabres) - Kassian had 77 points this year, a career high. But he also will be a guy that picks up PIM’s in the future, adding that extra element of fantasy value.
Peter Holland (Guelph – Anaheim Ducks) - This big forward can fill a number of different roles and should have a very solid chance at cracking the Ducks roster next year as a 19-year-old.
Ryan Murphy (Kitchener – Undrafted) - He’s not big, but his game sure is. The most dynamic offensive defenseman the prospect world has seen in quite some time. Murphy will provide a unique and explosive role for an NHL team soon.