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Keeper Watch: First Rounders in Action

01/06/2010
Stanley Cup Champions, Pittsburgh Penguins Take to the Ice For Training Camp

‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every Wednesday or Thursday, 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.

This edition of Keeper Watch much like last week’s edition will take an extended look at some top prospects and their assent through the minors.  Most of those mentioned are either first round picks or highly regarded within their organizations.

C: Jiri Tlusty, Carolina Hurricanes – In his three games in Carolina before a recent demotion, the 21-year-old center scored a goal and an assist.  The talented Czech and former 13th overall pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006 shows tons of promise, adding to what could be an impressive young core.  With injuries to Eric Cole and Chad LaRose there should be some minutes available while the Canes rebuild.  I expect Tlusty to get a longer look this time around.

Prognosis: Lots of potential should he get good minutes.  Monitor his position on the team, he should get an opportunity once some veterans are moved.

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Keeper Watch: Another Wave of Rookies

12/31/2009
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils

‘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.

This edition of Keeper Watch much like last week’s edition will take an extended look at the rookies getting their chance around the league.  Most on this list are recent call ups with some already receiving their demotions.  Still there are some young guys worth looking at in your keeper:

C: Mattias Ritola, Detroit Red Wings – Ritola received a call-up from Grand Rapids on December 27th and coach Mike Babcock almost immediately inserted him on the second line alongside Valtteri Filppula and Drew Miller.  In 32 games in the AHL the 22-year-old scored eight goals and added seven assists a modest total but certainly not lighting the lamp.  At this rate second line seems like an absolute ceiling but you never know the way Detroit develops players.

Prognosis: I would not project more than 30-40 points as a career-high once he lands a full-time gig.

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Keeper Watch: More Like Rookie Watch

12/23/2009
Phoenix Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings

‘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.

This edition of Keeper Watch will take an extended look at the rookies getting their chance around the league.  Although most on this list are recent call ups the criteria does not apply to all the rookies mentioned here today.  Still there are some young guys worth looking at in your keeper:

RW: Brandon Yip, Colorado Avalanche – Here is one prospect rarely talked about.  Fresh off an excellent senior year with Boston University, Yip made the jump to the NHL rather quickly.  The 24-year-old spent only six games in the AHL before eventually getting his call to the majors.  This player brings a more polished game to the Avs, and drew the praises of beat writer Adrian Dater last night with his hustle and effort.  The youngster plays on the fourth line, lucky for him so does Ryan O’Reilly at the moment.

Prognosis: By no means do I advocate grabbing this youngster right now. However, the kid shows promise and produced at almost a point per game clip in his last year of college eligibility.  His development at a top US school certainly doesn’t hurt.  Another effort like last night and Yip should stick.

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Keeper Watch: HABitual Post-Hype Sleepers

12/17/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v New York Islanders

‘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.

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Keeper Watch: Two Russians & A Finn

12/09/2009
Colorado Avalanche v Florida Panthers

‘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.

Their must be something in the water, because there haven’t been a lot of kids making impact this week.  With the NHL getting younger and younger it is important for us to monitor the progress of prospects as well their role as they make the team.  In previous weeks, we had to make several cuts in order to cut it down to five or six.  This week we only can think of three.  Without further adieu, here are the kids we like.

C: Artem Anisimov, New York Rangers – In the preseason this kid looked like the next Russian superstar.  Why exactly this has changed is beyond me.  Did anyone realistically think he was going to have a rookie season similar to Ilya Kovalchuk or Alexander Ovechkin? The 21-year-old is currently on pace for 37 points but I see him capable of 50 points easily.

The New York Rangers essentially have zero secondary scoring.  As coach Tortorella shuffles lines two players remain constants together: Marian Gaborik and Vaclav Prospal.  Shuffling in and out of that line is Christopher Higgins, Brandon Dubinsky and Sean Avery.  With Arty playing with the two, the Rangers defeated a strong Buffalo Sabres team but now Avery finds himself back on the line .

Prognosis: Arty has too much skill not to play on a first line, eventually. Check out his highlight reel moves here.

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Keeper Watch: A Deeper Look at Kids with Impact

11/25/2009
Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes

‘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.

D – Jonathan Ericsson / Derek Meech, Detroit Red Wings – Although Brad Stuart is the first to get a start in place of Niklas Kronwall, there has been mention of both of these defensemen getting a chance.  Ericsson showed a lot of promise during last season’s playoffs so he certainly is on the radar while the coaching staff feels Meech has some untapped potential.

Prognosis: Watch the situation closely and see how this situation plays itself out.

D – Alexandre Picard, Ottawa Senators – The 24-year-old defenseman is on a tear, scoring five points in the last four games.  Seeing healthy time on the Senators second powerplay unit accounts for three of these points.  Picard is an excellent post-hype sleeper who plays a solid point.

Prognosis: Grab the kid and stream him while he is hot.  If he gets a bump onto the first unit his value should climb.

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