Happy Holidays and welcome to The Journey, where we follow hockey’s hopes and their path to the NHL, providing fantastic predictions and analysis along the way. This week we’ll take a look at an interesting aspect of U20 tournaments like the World Juniors: Every year some players see massive bumps in fantastic value that can be exploited during a high sell window after the tournament.
Treat yourself this Christmas and use your Journey insights to rip off a colleague manager who only follows prospects for a week at the end of December! You deserve it.
Many top prospects play regularly above their age group against older players, so this is a rare opportunity to see how they stack up against their peers. When a player performs well at WJC, the hype machine can really kick in. Remember when Samuel Fagamo scored 13 pts in just 7 GP at WJC 2020? Since then he has scored 28 pts in 53 AHL GPs, respectable totals for a young player in a league like this, but not mind-blowing. If you traded Fagemo in 2020 you probably haven’t regretted it.
The trick for fantasy managers is to use those somewhat over-inflated value jumps to your advantage. If you can grab the right player for free up front, there’s a good chance you can sell them high during or after the tournament once the general public realizes how talented they are.
Don’t overlook the power of nationalism at international events like these, either: if a player helps put your country’s team on top, you might feel a desperate need to have them on your imaginary roster. But this is where savvy managers can harness those emotional highs to leverage their competition.
Here are three players to acquire right now as good bets to see their value increase over the next few weeks. If things go well, you will either have a solid prospect or a desirable business chip.
Mackie Samoskevich (FLA)
Taken at the end of last year’s first round, Samoskevich was seen as a talented player but with a lower cap than the top picks like his (then) teammate Mathew Coronato. This year, Samoskevich is once again somewhat overlooked on the historically stacked NCAA team at the University of Michigan. His 11 points in 19 GP are pale compared to the points per game or better of the four other Michigan players competing in the WJC (Matty Beniers, Owen Power, Luke Hughes, Kent Johnson).
The upside of Samoskevich’s lack of impressive numbers at the USHL and NCAA levels so far, however, is that he’s likely still available in many goalie and dynasty leagues unlike other top players in the tournament.
So far, everything is preparing for a Samoskevich breakout at the WJC. Ahead of the exhibition game between the United States and Finland on Thursday night, Samoskevich was named the team’s best RW alongside Beniers and Brett Berard, moving both Coronato and Chaz Lucius. He also saw time on their best power play unit during training. There will most likely be a line shuffle, but it’s a great indication that America’s coaching staff is enjoying what they bring to the table.
Samoskevich is a quick and elusive skater with excellent wrist shot who thrives in transition and with man advantage. Watch in the three clips below how Samoskevich receives a pass, attacks the middle, beats his man with a skillful move, then gets a heavy blow from a high danger area.
In all three situations, Samoskevich doesn’t just shoot from the perimeter, hoping for a screen or deflection. He also doesn’t try to beat two or three players on his own or carry the puck all around the offensive zone instead of using his teammates, bad habits that skilled players sometimes pick up in juniors. This awareness of driving, changing angles, and then shooting quickly is one of the reasons Samoskevich’s skill set has been described as projectable or translatable in the NHL.
If you’re looking for another reason to love this guy, the NHL Network recently featured Samoskevich and his family, who live and breathe hockey and are from Sandy Hook, CT.
Xavier Bourgault (EDM)
Bourgault looks a bit like Canada’s Samoskevich: he’s a late-first-round pick that has been somewhat overlooked, but starts off as Canada’s top forward alongside Shane Wright and Cole Perfetti ahead of players like Dylan Guenther, Mavrik Bourque and eligible in 2023. Conor Bédard.
Chosen from two places ahead of Samoskevich in 2021, Bourgault was put down by the fact that he played in the QMJHL, the 36th best league in the world in terms of NHL with a tie of 0.113, a drop from the other two main Canadians. leagues, the WHL (0.141) and the OHL (0.144). So even though he scored 40 pts in 29 GP last year and has 42 pts in 24 GP this year (including almost one goal per game), statistical models and fantastic analysts tend to take this production with a grain of salt because of where it plays. .
Either way, scoring almost a goal per game is impressive, and this early promotion shows that Canada’s coaching staff have taken notice. Even if he does eventually descend into the roster in favor of someone like Conor Bedard, a 2023 draft-eligible phenomenon, Bourgault is another prospect to be acquired now in both the keeper and dynasty formats before managers do. realize how good it is. When Bourgault moves up next year to play for the Edmonton Farm Team in the AHL, he will be more and more immersed in the “could play with McDavid and Draisatl” conversation and it will be very difficult to acquire him.
Here’s a look at some of his recent successes when he scored nine points in three games earlier this month. It’s interesting how many of his goals appear to be hitting and shooting on reception with the goalie out of position, but you can still see his precise shot and tight quick hands.
Alexandre Pashin (RCA)
The Canes made an exciting project recruiting smaller, high-potential prospects like Pashin in the closing rounds of the draft. With a score of 5-7 and 154 pounds in his draft year, Pashin was passed round after round until Carolina finally rolled the dice on him with the 199th pick.
Even with the evolution over the past few years towards smaller, faster players, Pashin is definitely still small by NHL standards. Brayden Point is often presented as a poster for the little players who thrive in the modern NHL, but Point has three inches and 30 pounds on Pashin, so that’s a big difference when it comes to physical battles with the puck. It’s going to be tough for Pashin to go to the net and stand up to the men in a professional league.
… At least that’s what the leaders of the 31 other teams thought. But having passed one point per game during his draft year in the MHL, the Russian junior league, Pashin is currently performing very well in Canes’ scouting squad with an impressive 18 points in 24 GP (13 goals). against men in the VHL, the Russian equivalent of the AHL. The size doesn’t seem to slow him down yet.
Pashin started the tournament this year as Russia’s second row left winger, scoring an unlikely goal along the goal line in an exhibition game against Canada.
He was of course lucky on that one. But also, it was a hard and unexpected blow and it’s the kind of creativity you like to see in attacking prospects like Pashin. As this tournament goes on in earnest, we hope to be able to see more of the speed and precision that got him to score two goals in that VHL game last month.
Compared to teams from years past, Russia’s submission to the 2022 tournament seems a bit light on high-end attacking talent. If Pashin can continue to find ways to work on the scoresheet in the WJC and then back in the VHL, his fancy stocks will continue to rise.
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