A player has cropped up over the past week who has grabbed my attention. He has a decent shot of panning out – and continuing to pan out – for the long term. The player is almost certain to be a great short-term asset. A big part of our love for fantasy hockey is the hope that under-the-radar players bring. We’re dying for the respect and admiration of the other owners in our league for being the first to dig up the latest gem.
Undrafted winger Dan Sexton looks very promising. The 166-pound former Bowling Green standout is the latest in a long line of college players scooped up by the Ducks and seeing ice time at the NHL level. At 187th, he just missed cracking the DobberHockey Top 185 fantasy prospects – he won’t miss the January list, you can count on that.
Without delving into exact numbers, approximately 10 or 15 undrafted college players sign with an NHL team. You may see half of them play a single game in the NHL and you may see three of them actually forge an NHL career. So for the Ducks to sign Andy McDonald (Colgate), Dustin Penner (Maine), Andrew Ebbett (Michigan) and Ryan Shannon (Boston), it’s pretty impressive. Granted, Shannon is fringe, but perhaps if he had not been injured so often during key audition windows we would be singing a different song about him. At any rate, the Ducks seem to be reeling in a good one every two years, which is incredible. And now they can add Sexton to the list. Even if he turns out to be a fringe player, you still have to hand it to the Ducks NCAA scouting department.
It’s doubtful that he will be fringe, however. Just 22 years of age, Sexton is making his mark early. So early that if he were to hit a wall now, he will get a dozen more chances over the next three years before he would join the likes of Junior Lessard and Marty Sertich in Bustville.
Playing on a line with Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan, Sexton has five points in his last three games (five in five overall). He’ll have seven weeks to establish himself and secure a spot on that second line. Teemu Selanne will return at that time and the Sexton magic will probably slow. But if he can continue at a good clip – say 17 points in 21 games, give or take – he’ll stick around on the third line much like Ebbett did a year ago.
Since he’s three years younger than Ebbett, the outlook on Sexton is much brighter. Consider the same scenario that we saw this past summer – Ebbett came off a strong second half (thanks to a Selanne injury), but the Ducks filled their top six with Joffrey Lupul and Koivu, thus pushing Ebbett down to the third line. On the third line, he was a bust and was subsequently waived.
If this happens to Sexton – that is to say, if Anaheim picks up a couple of second liners this offseason and Sexton struggles as a third liner, he would be far too young to give up on and, unlike Ebbett, he would not have to clear waivers to be sent down next season. So long term, the outlook is pretty good. He certainly has the attention of Ducks’ brass.
And now he has ours.
Released on January 9th – DobberHockey’s fourth annual Midseason Fantasy Guide. Including an expanded midseason look at NHL prospects, Matt Bugg’s look at the 2010 Draft, second-half predictions, players on the trading block and how a move will impact them – and much more. Buy Now!