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It’s finally opening week!  The season starts Wednesday and I can not wait.  I am going to set up some RCL’s later today that draft tonight and Tuesday night so if you haven’t joined a league yet, do so here.  To wrap up my team previews, I’m going to look at the prospects in the Pacific Division from the four teams who made the playoffs.  Let’s get right to it!

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Brandon Montour is the only blue chip prospect in the system.  Montour looked excellent in his 27 game stint for Anaheim last season.  What excites me about Montour is that he’s progressively offensively every year in his career, peaking last year with 32 points and 34 PIM in 36 games in the AHL.  The only problem with Montour in the short term is that the Ducks are loaded defensively.  He might get off to a good start due to the injuries but Lindholm and Vatanen should be back in November.  Long term, Montour could become a guy who plays on the top pair and first power play unit, especially with Theodore now in Vegas.  He’s not near the top of my list as far as fantasy defensemen go but I do like Montour a fair amount.

Sam Steel had a massive year in Regina last season after being drafted with pick 30 in the 2016 draft.  Steel finished with almost 2 points per game scoring 50 goals and 81 assists in 66 games.  He’ll be with Regina again this year before presumably spending a year in the AHL.  A lot of people who are in the know that I trust love Steel so I’m starting to have more faith in his long term projection.

There isn’t really any other Ducks prospects that I like for fantasy.  Jacob Larsson is their third best prospect and I like him a lot for real life but that’s because his defensive play is terrific for his age.  His offense has a long way to go as he scored only 5 points in 29 games for Frolunda last season.  He’ll be in San Diego this year and there’s a chance he puts it together as he’s a confidence puck carrier but Larsson is only a lottery ticket at this point for dynasty leagues.

EDMONTON OILERS

Despite starting awful for the Edmonton Oilers last year, Jesse Puljujarvi showed his upside once he went down to Bakersfield in the AHL last season.  He should be a main stay for the Oilers this year and for the foreseeable future.  He has plenty of upside as he fully deserved to go 4th overall in the 2016 draft.  He still belongs as one of the first picks in a prospect draft.

Kailer Yamamoto looks like he’s actually going to start in Edmonton at the beginning of this season despite being 5’8 and 150-160 pounds.  I don’t expect him to stick past his first nine games but you never know.  The offensive ability is massive but he obviously will go through a big adjustment period going through a bigger, faster game.  The penalty minutes and hits won’t be there but there’s no denying his potential offensive impact.

Tyler Benson also has a bunch of upside but he has had a ton of injuries.  Benson has hurt his groin and back along with additional setbacks to those injuries.  Additionally, he suffered from a sports hernia last season.  I really like Benson’s hands and ability to use his body when necessary, it’s just a matter of staying healthy.

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Most people have Jeremy Roy second in the Sharks system but I like him so much that I’d put him first.  The defenseman has excellent skill on top of having excellent on-ice awareness.  He reminds me of Duncan Keith at his age; obviously I’m not saying Roy is going to become Keith but he has that kind of upside.  I suspect he’ll make the Sharks in 2018-19 after spending a year with the Barracuda.  Overall, Roy simply plays a very steady game in all facets.

Joshua Norris is the player most people rank first in the system and it’s not a knock on him that I have him second, it’s just liking Roy that much.  Norris was just picked 19th overall in the 2017 draft and will be at Michigan this year.  I’ve only seen him briefly playing for the USA U18 team but Norris seemingly made the right decision on a regular basis.  He’s a pass first player but knows when to use his shot, one that has a very quick release.  Norris was drafted around where he should have been so take him in rookie drafts accordingly.

CALGARY FLAMES

The Flames don’t have any blue chippers, mostly because their guys have all graduated to the NHL, but they have very nice depth.  Mark Jankowski was considered to be a major project when he was selected in the 2012 draft but he’s finally closing in on the NHL.  After spending 4 years at Providence, Jankowski spent last season with the Stockton Heat scoring 56 points in 64 games.  There are so many forwards in his way in Calgary which makes things difficult for Jankowski to make an impact.  He’s already 23 years old so even though he’s the top guy in their system, he’s not my favorite.

One of the best goaltending prospects in the world right now is Tyler Parsons.  Parsons was outstanding for London and the USA team in the World Juniors.  Parsons will now be in Stockton or the ECHL just to ensure him playing time.  It’ll take some time for Parsons to reach the NHL but I do believe he’s the goalie of the future for Calgary.  He’s up there with Igor Shestyorkin, Juuse Saros and a couple others as far as long term goalie prospects go.

Juuso Valimaki, a defenseman from Finland, was the first round pick for Calgary in the 2017 draft.  He’s playing in the WHL again this year for Tri-City where he scored 61 points in 60 games last year.  He’s a great puck handler and puck mover giving him a chance to be an incredible fantasy asset down the line.  Look for Valimaki to play for Finland again in the World Juniors on their top pair.  I could see him as a guy who makes a jump in prospect rankings next offseason.

Rasmus Andersson makes some head-scratching decisions but the upside is certainly there for him to make an impact in all three zones.  The Swede will also be in Stockton this season where he scored 22 points in 54 games last season.  I’m hoping that he can take a significant jump and play his way onto the Flames roster in 2018-19.  He’s more of a lottery ticket but one worth mentioning because of his willingness to play a powerful game.

That’s all for now guys.  I’ll be wrapping up the prospects tomorrow with the rest of the Pacific Division, then have a podcast for Wednesday morning with the Western Conference over-unders along with a quick preview of Wednesday’s games.  I’ll also be sure to include streamers in the podcast post; the season is upon us!  As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below and be sure to join an RCL!  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    just drafted this. i hadn’t noticed that chabot was sent down when i drafted, and since i grabbed him probably too early i cost myself one of: landeskog, zibanejad, steen, vrbata, panik, hartnell, dubois or zucker. this is probably a grave mistake but i guess we’ll see. i won this league last year so drafted last (16th) in first round. keep 14, min 6 BOS players at all times (intended to grab mcavoy at 1.16 but he was nabbed about 5 picks earlier, did get spooner who’ll have value for if/when krejci/bergeron get hurt). all the normal extra stats (faceoffs too) but ALSO with D-man points as separate category (it’s why i went early on chabot). also saves and goalie minutes played (which i forgot about early in draft, but got reimer late anyway, and he doesn’t suck, albeit his minutes aren’t awesome, at least till bob is hurt)
    C (3) bergeron (K), krejci (K), hanzal (K), turris (1st), spooner (3rd)
    LW (3) marchand (K), hall (K), pasternak (K), sobotka (4th)
    RW (3) simmonds (K), reinhart (BUF, K), andrigetto (15th), b.ritchie (8th), r.smith (8th)
    D (5) krug (K), klingberg (K), chara (K), d.hamilton (K), chabot (2nd), severson (6th)
    1 util
    G (2) dubnyk (K), rask (K), reimer (7th)

    so with krug out i’ll grab another D man and i guess stream from chabot’s spot (weird espn locked me from drafting anybody with my last pick than a RW, it doesn’t let you slot your multi-position guys during the draft to any of their positions). damn i hate wasting pick like that.

    best D man for my roster (have top waiver but won’t use it now): stash sekera (3 IR slots, krug in one), dotchin, matheson, hutton, edmundson?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: We’ll see, I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s back sooner than later. You are able to adjust your player’s positions during the draft, I did so during an RCL, it’s under one of the tabs in the lobby. Anyways, I think I would go with Dotchin although Matheson is close.

      • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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        @Viz: yeah, nobody else in there knew how to do it either. i asked. only responses i got was ” you must be drafting too many X etc etc” when i know i hadn’t as i write down my drafts on paper and where i’m slotting them. when you say lobby do you mean the draft room itself, or the somewhere in the main league page?

  2. Max says:
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    I’ll just stick with razzball hockey from now on! Took your advice and chose Ehlers with first (after 10 keepers) pick. Got Mantha with the second. My dynasty team.
    C Mikael Granlund
    C Eric Staal
    LW Huberdeau
    LW Ehlers
    RW Aho
    RW Arvidsson
    D Burns
    D Bufuglien
    D Orlov
    D Morrissey
    BN Bo Horvat
    BN Mantha
    BN Kreider
    BN Gallagher
    Schneider
    Lehner
    Luongo + Reimer
    So Kyle Connor and Saros are still on the wire. It would be so cool to have one or both in dynasty. Which two players could I drop for them if you think the upside is worth it? Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Max: Thanks! Given that your rosters are small, I would probably just leave those guys on the waiver wire, mostly because I wouldn’t want to cut anyone on your team right now. If I was cutting guys for them, it would be Gallagher and Reimer, but I think I would stand pat for now.

  3. Bs Fan says:
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    Drafted Yamamoto in one dynasty league but I can keep him on a minor league reserve list if he doesn’t stick in Edmonton (I wasn’t sure what to expect but he was too tantalizing to pass on).

    Would you put Parsons ahead of Gillies in the Flames org? I figured Gillies will end up in the NHL full time at some point this year, Smith/Lack doesn’t seem like the most inspiring duo

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Bs Fan: Makes sense, might as well see what you get. Yeah, I’m higher on Parsons despite Gillies being further along than Parsons. I know others disagree and it’s not lopsided one way or the other but I’m all in on Parsons. I think you could see both of them in Calgary sooner than later, although one could certainly be used as a trade piece. I do like Gillies, more just an infatuation with Parsons.

  4. newbvic says:
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    hey once again Viz. got my last draft in of the season last night. big money league on yahoo so competition was stiffer than the hometowner. 10th spot was such a rough play. wanted kuch or march but both got snapped up. then the 1/2 round turn was tough and felt like i had to gamble with karlson since i was targeting gibson. really only got snipped once that hurt when darling got taken just before i was about to grab him. left me in a wait a see approach as to when i felt good with a 2nd goalie price. i’m lukewarm on fluery. i belive the sv% will be nice because i belive in the talent. realize im taking the bullet at W and GAA likely. other than that i felt i came away pretty balanced. ppp worry me a little but maybe over analyzing. would appreciate your breakdown of the balance and overall look of the team as always. looking forward to settling in with this page as my bookmark until the spring. thank you.

    1. (10) Jamie Benn (Dal – LW)
    2. (15) Erik Karlsson (Ott – D)
    3. (34) Blake Wheeler (Wpg – RW)
    4. (39) John Gibson (Anh – G)
    5. (58) Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Ari – D)
    6. (63) Jeff Skinner (Car – LW)
    7. (82) Viktor Arvidsson (Nsh – LW,RW)
    8. (87) Brayden Schenn (StL – C,LW)
    9. (106) Ryan Johansen (Nsh – C)
    10. (111) Jacob Trouba (Wpg – D)
    11. (130) Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK – G)
    12. (135) Dion Phaneuf (Ott – D)
    13. (154) Chris Kreider (NYR – LW)
    14. (159) Henrik Zetterberg (Det – C,LW)
    15. (178) Jacob Markstrom (Van – G)
    16. (183) Jake Muzzin (LA – D)

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @newbvic: I’m really liking the offense; I have to imagine you’ll be among the best in your league there assuming Karlsson doesn’t miss much time. You got great value on Wheeler, Skinner, Arvidsson and Kreider. I wouldn’t be worried about PPP, I think you’ll be solid there. Goaltending could obviously be a major issue. If you’re able to stream, you may have to use backup goalies in nice matchups quite a bit because your 2 and 3 (especially Fleury as a 2) are both poor. I would try to stream for the first month and see how things go but know that if things go south, you may have to try and overpay to get a second goalie.

      • Newbvic says:
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        @Viz: yeah when darling got taken it was like a dagger ha. If fluery goes south I can see myself using the sarros of the world to fill starts as you said. Karlsson was almost necessary gamble I felt in my spot. Bobber was the back up plan but felt value was sitting later. Here’s hoping flur can at least give me some sv%. If not I’m pulling a trader Joe looking for goalies . Thanks again and look forward to the opening streamer picks.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Newbvic: Haha I can imagine. The first few games should give us a better idea of how VGK will play tactically so it’s be interesting to see. No problem, any time! I know two of them already, have to do a little more digging, including looking at ownership percentages, for the third guy

  5. Saints says:
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    Hay Viz,
    Great stuff as always i really like that you are now on the Montour bandwagon (at least a little bit) last year i thought you underratet him a little bit :).
    Other than that i really like that Yamamoto is looking good in camp. I picked him in this years draft but i was a little bit worried. I hope your right on Parsons i got him for Ullmark last year and hope he develops in the starting goalie you imagine he can be.

    A thing that i wanted to suggest (but i forgot to) is that you can write a little article with “preseason Takeaways” something like camp battles line shifts and maybe some minor injuries. Maybe you can talk about it a little bit on your upcoming pod. I would like that to be up to date for the season. Im pretty hyped for it and hope my team does very well :).

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Saints: Thanks! Losing Theodore helps quite a bit in terms of clearing a long term PP option for the Ducks. I thought he was going to be used primarily in a defensive role but I could see him being used in all situations now.

      I’ll have my eyes on Yamamoto Wednesday assuming he is in the game just to see how he looks. Goaltenders are very fickle and have their values changes drastically year to year but I am a firm believer in Parsons.

      Good idea. We are planning on recording tomorrow morning for Wednesday so we can cover that at the end of the podcast for everyone. I’m getting pumped too, best of luck!

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