These prospects gained the most value this year. Keep an eye on some sleepers like Jake Walman, Andrew Poturalski, and Justin Bailey. Bigger names like Shayne Gostisbehere, Kyle Connor, and Mikko Rantanen are going to be hard to acquire and if you own them I wouldn’t sell unless you’re getting immediate impact in your lineup.
Shayne Gostisbehere has been an offensive machine this season for the Flyers, scoring 32 points in 38 games so far. Gostisbehere is only trailing Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Kris Letang in points per game. He is currently tied with John Klingberg with 0.84 points per game. He is riding a thirteen game point streak, which is an NHL record for rookie defenseman. Gostisbehere is really making his case for the Calder if he can continue to put up points at this pace. If he plays the rest of the year he will have played 63 games with a projected point total of 53. It will be tough to beat out Artemi Panarin but Shayne Gostibehere’s season, so far, has been very impressive to say the least.
Jake Walman’s defense last year was a huge part of the Providence team that won the National Championship. This year he has taken a large step in his offensive game scoring 28 points in 26 games. He is currently second in points per game for NCAA defenseman. Walman is a smooth skater and moves the puck well. He is similar to Shayne Gostisbehere in many ways, which has many excited about his game. Walman isn’t far away from the NHL and St. Louis Blues would certainly enjoy his services to pair with Colton Parayko.
Andrew Poturalski is having an amazing season for the University of New Hampshire in his sophomore year. Poturalski has 47 points in 30 games this season, only one point behind NCAA leader Kyle Connor. Poturalski enjoyed success his freshman year which led to the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins inviting him to their respective development camps. Poturalski played well at the Sabres camp scoring a dazzling goal in the Blue and Gold scrimmage. He is a small and shifty player that plays an unselfish game. Poturalski is undrafted but many teams will surely be after him in the coming years.
Justin Bailey started off quietly in his rookie year for the Rochester Americans but has recently turned it on. Bailey has 23 points in 47 games for the Amerks. Before being called up to the Sabres, Bailey had 11 points in his last 10 games. Although he hasn’t had any points yet with the Sabres, he created a lot of scoring chances with his speed and lethal shot. Dan Bylsma said that Bailey was their best player in his first career game and was promoted to Jack Eichel’s line as a result. Bailey looks like he should be staying with the Sabres with the way he is playing and he has a bright future in Buffalo’s top six. His speed, size, and shot are going make him a force.
Kyle Connor is currently leading the NCAA with 48 points in 27 games. Connor lead the USHL in points last season with 80 points and was then drafted by the Winnipeg Jets 17th overall. Connor has immense speed and skill that opposing defenses fear. Connor may have a shot to jump to the NHL next season. Connor brings it all to the table with smarts, speed, skill, and a great shot. His play this season has made him one of the top prospects in hockey.
Mikko Rantanen was one of the most surprising prospects this year making the Avalanche right out camp. Rantanen was sent down to the AHL and has been putting up points ever since. Rantanen has had 41 points in 33 games this season. Rantanen was also the captain of the Finland team that won the World Juniors this year. His excellent play has the Avs excited for his future. He will likely make the jump to the NHL full time next season after a year of development.