‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every Wednesday, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. We will also focus on young players once considered top prospects. 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.
Not many rookies on this list, as the rookie boom seems to have slowed in recent weeks. Still there are some young guys worth looking at in your keeper.
LW: Andrei Kostitsyn, Montreal Canadiens – The controversial winger, usually referred to as AK 46, returned to form in the last couple weeks. A former 10th overall pick, the older Kostitsyn now has 14 points over his last 12 games for a team that desperately needs scoring. One can only expect this scoring to continue as this player has the polish and the pedigree not to mention will receive large minutes in lieu of the injury to Brian Gionta.
Prognosis: Grab him and stream him while this trend keeps up.
C: Mikhail Grabovski, Toronto Maple Leafs – Playing primarily with Niklas Hagman and Jason Blake, this 25-year-old center has points seven points in eight games. Since the arrival of Phil Kessel to the lineup in Toronto, several players have stepped up their game. Kessel playing on the top line allows a player like Grabovski can slot back into the second line, a place where he finds himself comfortable.
Prognosis: Stream him while he’s hot!
RW: Bryan Little, Atlanta Thrashers – At this point it just seems like a case of the sophomore slumps. After scoring 31 goals last season, the 21-year-old squeaked out a meager three so far. Playing primarily with Slava Kozlov and Todd White is far from Ilya Kovalchuk. However, he is also on pace for less shots, which is somewhat alarming. This most likely is just not Little’s year, but next year he should be on top of your cheat sheets. Combine that with a older, stronger Thrasher team and you have a keeper for sure. This of course assumes Kovalchuk stays in Atlanta, which I think he will.
Prognosis: Not his year, revisit in next year’s draft.
D: Yannick Weber, Montreal Canadiens – The Habs fourth best prospect gets his second call up of the season. Managing a meager minus four with no points in three games in his first stint, Weber looks to improve on his previous showing. With injuries to the blueline all year, there is no question Weber will get his chance this time around. His ability to quarterback the powerplay should be seen as an excellent commodity, one that can only be helped by watching a pro like Marc-Andre Bergeron.
Prognosis: Watch him, as his value may come next year.
D: Braydon Coburn, Philadelphia Flyers – The play of Coburn has been disappointing to say the least. This year should have been the year in which he put both his offensive and defensive game together but instead he leaves most fans screaming for his head. At this point it appears that Coburn will decrease in production for a third straight year. Coburn will be an RFA at season’s end making him a prime candidate to be moved.
Prognosis: Make sure to move him while he has a shred of value.
G: Jake Allen / Martin Jones – These two have been officially deemed the goalies of the future for Team Canada. Be sure to see them in action when they represent their countries in the World Juniors.
Prognosis: Remember these names.
G: Cedrik Desjardins, Montreal Canadiens – This kid is playing at a simply elite level down in the AHL. No surprise that at this point current Hab backup Jaroslav Halak is getting shopped, so Desjardins should fill in admirably. The 24-year-old could have a Halak type impact on your fantasy team if the aforementioned goalie gets moved soon. Just for the record, Desjardins is 8-4-1 in 18 games with a 1.45 GAA and .944 SV%, including an AHL leading four shutouts.
Prognosis: Monitor this situation closely.
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