I noted three weeks ago that Juhamatti Aaltonen was possibly going to Dallas, per a source. And as 'Noma' in the forum dug up - his KHL team has announced that he is going to the NHL. Dallas has the room for him, but who the coach for Dallas is will make all the difference.
At the World Championships, Aaltonen was second in scoring for Finland with 11 points in 10 games, ahead of the likes of Lauri Korpikoski (five in eight), Mikael Granlund (three in four) and Niklas Hagman (one in 10). He also led his Allsvenskan team Rogle in scoring with 31 points in 42 games. Aaltonen is in a Roman Cervenka situation - he was a highly ranked prospect at one time on my Fantasy Prospects List. But the Blues never got him across the pond.
In February of 2006, I did a piece for The Hockey News - four parts - that outlined my Top 40 prospects. Aaltonen was 39th. Here is what I wrote:
Juhamatti Aaltonen, St. Louis. Another 20-year-old who lacks grit but can definitely find the net. Aaltonen was chosen late in the 2003 entry draft (ninth round), however his offense has dramatically improved in each and every season. He is currently playing in Finland and has about a point every two games. He is about three years away, and is still a project.
Mike Richards took pre-game warmups by was scratched with an upper-body injury. Tyler Toffoli filled in and picked up a nice assist on the Jeff Carter goal - and then scored late in the third. Prior to the game, Darryl Sutter said that Richards was fine and that the Dave Bolland hit was not an issue. I'm guessing that Richards was known to be a scratch all along and that skating the warmups was just an act. And I just want to be the first to say - well done. That little performance really gave the Kings an edge.
As soon as the coaches stop playing CIA with each other, maybe they'll realize that these little media games actually give no edge and that disclosing injury information makes little difference other than keeping the paying customer informed.
Toffoli, by the way, played 12:52. He's still Calder eligible for next year and you have to like his chances to at least be in the conversation a year from now. That ice time was his highest in these playoffs. I love it when players produce even though the coach is trying hard to control his ice time and ease him in.
If you didn't catch the game, Jonathan Quick got the hook after giving up the fourth goal. Bernier shut the door after that, stopping nine of nine.
Brandon Saad has been quiet in these playoffs, but he had two assists last night. Gives him four for the postseason. Still without a goal though.
Patrick Sharp is on a three game points streak. He's tied for second in postseason shots with 51 - behind Zetterberg (58).
Here's a good scrum - Corey Crawford gets involved. And you can see Bernier yelling down the ice at him:
Everyone is raving about how strongly Valeri Nichushkin was at the Combine. There's not a lot of room for him to move up, since he was already between fourth and sixth on most lists - but he probably solidified No.4. If his name was Joe Smith, he'd be in the conversation for Top 3. Myself, since both of my keeper leagues have me picking mid-round (fifth and eight in 13-team keeper, and 10th in 14-team keeper) I'll be praying that he gets to me. He might get as low as ninth in the latter league - with players like Brendan Gallagher, JG Pageau, Jacob Trouba and Torey Krug available on top of the Big 3 and Barkov.
I have Nichushkin ranked the ninth-best to own in a keeper league among skaters who have never played an NHL game, points-only (defensemen count 2x for goals) in my Fantasy Prospects Report.
The Syracuse Crunch have eliminated Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and move onto the Final in the AHL. WBS won the first game and managed to contain Tyler Johnson and Brett Connolly for the most part. But it speaks to the depth of Syracuse when Ondrej Palat steps up (six points in the series) and lesser guys like Philippe Paradise (hat trick in final game).
Palat now leads the AHL playoffs in scoring with 20 points. Johnson's not far behind with 17 (12 games).
Grand Rapids and OKC were deadlocked at two wins apiece heading into Sunday evening contest. Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson joined Grand Rapids in time for Saturday's game (and they combined on a goal). On Sunday, in the game in which Grand Rapids took a 3-2 series lead, Andersson picked up two assists. Nyquist was held pointless.
Petr Mrazek has earned back-to-back shutouts for Grand Rapids, facing 77 shots. Mrazek would be one of the best prospect goaltenders to own were it not for Detroit extending Jimmy Howard for so long. As such, I don't see much of a short-term future for Mrazek. But he's only 21, so I still like him for 2016 or 2017.
With the Fantasy Prospects Report done, I've now turned my attention to the Hockey Forecaster magazine. I'm profiling all the players for six teams, including Columbus - I'm doing that team for the seventh consecutive year. Chicago and Phoenix I've had five or six times each. I think at one summer or another I've done every single franchise in the NHL except I've never done Toronto. Go figure. Come to think of it, Boston or Montreal are teams I've also never covered for Forecaster.
Rask denies Malkin…then he says no to Crosby. This is the Rask Boston needs to win this series:
Crosby and Chara yammering at each other. How Crosby handles Chara will make an impact on this series. Chara is not what he once was…