Yet another new feature here on NHLHS. ‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every couple of days, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. Similarly to our ‘Endorsed Pickups’ I will try not to focus too much on one position, which will leave some noteworthy players off the list.
Center: Brandon Sutter, Carolina Hurricanes – After only posting six points in 50 games last year, Brandon Sutter is breaking out. Through 11 games, he has eight points and five in his last three. With the injury to Eric Staal, his playing time has increased as has his role.
Prognosis: Stream him now for the points and monitor his progress once Staal returns.
Center: Tyler Ennis, Buffalo Sabres – Tyler Ennis, a high pedigree prospect, joined the Sabres earlier this week scoring his first goal in his NHL debut. The diminutive forward chosen with Buffalo’s first pick in 2008, played on a line with Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly and even got some power-play time.
Prognosis: It may be a bit premature to grab the kid after his first game, but it never hurts to get the upper hand. If playing with Connolly on a consistent basis, the kid may even get dual-position eligibility.
Left Wing: Ville Leino, Detroit Red Wings – Leino managed a measly four points in 17 games to start the season keeping him off most radars. Those who drafted the 26 year old Finn in hopes of him playing with an elite forward were burned, but their loss should be your gain. Playing on one of the hottest line in hockey with Henrik Zetterberg and Danny Cleary, expect Leino to turn it around soon or forever spurn himself in the fantasy universe.
Prognosis: Grab him, he should become a solid scoring winger.
Right Wing: Peter Mueller, Phoenix Coyotes – Similarly to Leino, Peter Mueller’s struggles have made him available once again. Despite his decent production playing with Shane Doan in the past, there is no reason to think Mueller will breakout any time soon. Couple that to him flanking a line with Matthew Lombardi and Scottie Upshall and it is not tough to see this as a lost year.
Prognosis: Watch him, but keep a distance.
Defense: Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues – Like Nikita Filatov, this prized prospect memorized the inside of a press box. Before the season began I saw Pietrangelo as a strong sleeper with the opportunity to blend in with an up-and-coming team. The Blues for the most part have struggled to score goals and rotate the likes of Darryl Sydor and Mike Weaver in favor of the young man.
Prognosis: Watch with your trigger finger on add. Still it would take a perfect storm of increased confidence and an improved overall team to get him going.
Defense: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning – The current 2nd overall pick starts his rookie season off slowly with only four points through 17 games. Growing pains are to be expected, but Hedman should be a stud in the long run. However, for the time being the young Swede really is not producing in any capacity besides TOI.
Prognosis: If Hedman starts producing and playing on the PP, he should be a safe pickup (duh?). Grab him if you can’t afford to wait or have the roster space.
Goalie: Jonathan Bernier, Manchester Monarchs (Kings) – Bernier remains in the AHL but speculation over when he will be called up is growing. So far in the A the former first-round pick boasts a 1.65 GAA and .951 SV%, which is good for any league in my opinion. Jon Quick may or may not be the answer in Los Angeles, keep your eye on the situation in ‘Hockeywood.’
Prognosis: Grab this guy the minute he gets called up, he will be a stud goaltender on a team with a str0ng offense.
Feel free to leave your thoughts below..