Although he's already 27 and he has never lit up the AHL in scoring, blue liner Corey Potter might be the most unknown fantasy "prospect" in the NHL right now.
The Michigan native spent four years putting up decent but not spectacular numbers for Michigan State before he joined the Rangers organization in 2006. Drafted in the fourth round by the Rangers in 2003 after his freshman season, Potter spent his first pro season shuttling between Charlotte in the ECHL and the Rangers AHL team in Hartford.
After another four seasons of modest AHL offensive production, Potter broke through offensively last season with a trade to Pittsburgh where he notched 37 points in 75 games for Wilkes-Barre Scranton. He followed that up with nine points in 12 playoff games, enough to seriously interest Edmonton who had knocked on his door the year before.
After playing nine NHL games in five seasons, Potter parlayed his AHL production last season into one goal and six points in seven games for Edmonton this season. He has the second best plus minus of Edmonton's defensemen, and after missing the first two games, has played a consistent 20 minutes for the Oilers.
Potter was rewarded for fine play against Vancouver Oct. 25th with 27 minutes of ice time, a sure sign the coach has faith in him. Actually, Edmonton's coach Tom Renney has some history with Potter. Renney was New York's vice-president of player personnel when Potter was drafted.
Potter is getting lots of time on Edmonton's power play with one goal and four assists so far with the man advantage. If that power play time continues look for his point totals to reach at least 35 as long as he remains healthy. The Oilers young guns have produced prodigiously on the PP this season and are currently ranked ninth.
Yes Ryan Whitney has had injury problems but for the skeptics out there, note that Whitney played 20 minutes in 5 of Potter's seven games.
Although he's tied for 15th in scoring among NHL defensemen, Potter, 6'3, 200 pounds, made his bread and butter as a defensive player. After last season's AHL breakthrough and this season's fast offensive start, keep an eye on his production and don't expect the world. Do expect a nice depth defenseman in most keeper leagues if you can pick him up. Watch his offensive improvement next year too because his offense is skewing upwards. Not bad for a guy who was considering Europe two seasons ago.