You can choose as many stats as you want for fantasy pools, but I've found that there are six categories that consistently come up and they include: goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power play points and shots on goal. Shooting the puck is important because points are allocated for shots on goal and goals. If you get lots of both you're going to be on the power play and get power play points. Penalty minutes also count, so ideally you're looking for someone that can score goals and get penalty minutes. You're essentially looking for a power forward along the lines of Rick Nash or Jarome Iginla. Today we'll take a look at a few of Dobber's top ranked power forward prospects and examine their potential for multi-stat pools.
Last week I wanted to end every column with a series on underrated prospects. It caused some confusion with readers and takes away from the general theme of the column so I have stopped doing it.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal, LW, 6'2, 205 pounds - 22nd overall in 2007
One thing about power forwards is that they develop slowly and Pacioretty is no exception. He'll turn 23 a month into next
season and although he was producing last season, injuries are an occupational hazard for power forwards. Pacioretty
suffered a severe concussion and a non-displaced fractured fourth cervical vertebra in his neck after being hit into a
glass partition between the benches by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. By all accounts "Patches" is healthy again and
ready to play. He got married this summer (usually a good thing for players) and worked out with notoriously hard worker
Martin St. Louis.
Pacioretty is blessed with speed which is rare for a power forward. He has the potential to be a point-per-game power forward at some point in his career. He led the Canadiens in scoring over his last 20 games with 11 goals and six assists so he was emerging as a go-to guy already. Based on his production last season Pacioretty should be good for 25 goals and 45 points to go along with 70 PIMs. Look for him to miss a few games to injury but he should get 225 shots and about 15 power play points. His plus/minus has never been great so I'd expect it to be anywhere from even to +5.
Luke Adam, Buffalo, C, 6'2, 210 pounds - 44th overall in 2008
Adam surprised a lot of people with his AHL production last season. A relatively weak skater, most had him pegged as a good
third or fourth line NHL centre, playing a sound, responsible defensive game. Prior to last season's point per game AHL
output, Adam had only one standout year. In his final season of junior he scored 49 goals in 56 games partly due to his
ability to out-muscle people in the front of the net. He wasn't supposed to be able to do the same thing in the pros and
yet he won AHL Rookie-of-the-Year with 29 goals and 62 points in 57 games. Now he's in a position where Buffalo need big
forwards and he'll get an opportunity to play third line minutes and test the top-six waters to see what he can do in the NHL. He's not worth drafting this season, even in a multi-stat league, but he's going to be a valuable second tier power forward in as little as one season.
Shawn Matthias, Florida, C, 6'4, 225 pounds - 47th overall in 2007
Unlike Pacioretty, it feels like Shawn Matthias has been a prospect forever. Matthias has been on my radar for years, but
has yet to break through. Matthias, however, is a real monster and if he can improve his skating sufficiently, he could
produce second line power forward numbers. Although he has good hockey sense and size, Matthias has never been able to put
up big numbers even in Junior. He scored a relatively modest 32 goals in 53 games in his last season of Junior, but hasn't been able to score at all in the pros. His penalty minute totals have also decreased significantly as a pro. He really struggled in his first
full pro season scoring 20 points in 61 games, but finished the year -34, by far the lowest on the Rochester Americans.
Last season, the Panthers gave him an opportunity to play 51 NHL games although a late season ankle injury cut into his NHL
experience. There is little to indicate that Matthias will be a big producer in the NHL. Because he's a big power forward, give him another season to see if his numbers increase to even mediocre levels. If they don't, then cut bait.
Zack Kassian, Buffalo, LW, 6'3, 226 pounds - 13th overall in 2009
Yes, Kassian is listed at almost 230 pounds. He is also a mean hockey player. Kassian has had numerous OHL suspensions and in May 2010 was arrested for assault at a Windsor bar. The assault charge was eventually dropped after he performed community service, however, Kassian's suspensions in Junior hockey alone speak to the kind of game he plays. Kassian has some skating issues, and although that's common with big power forwards, it's something he needs to work on. He can certainly handle the puck and has good hockey sense as he proved in the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship. Kassian played well, despite a controversial suspension, and proved that he's more than just a big body. He has only played three AHL games so he'll spend at least this season in Portland to get used to the pro game.
One thing different about Kassian is that in Junior he was more of playmaker than a goal scorer. That is odd for a big winger. It shows he can see the ice well and has more of a multi-dimensional game than most power forwards. He'll be encouraged in the pros to go to the net more and be a goal scorer, but having that on-ice vision is invaluable.