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Waiver Wire: Prospects Edition

The season has approached the first quarter mark, and any and all sleeper picks and darkhorses have long since been plucked from the waiver wire.

As a result, this week’s edition is devoted to the fantasy player who is in a dynasty keeper league. A league that is designed to as closely as possible simulate the NHL by having close to 30 teams with full rosters and a prospect roster as well.

This week, the waiver wire looks at the long game. To help you find players who you can possibly add for free today, that may have tremendous value to you in a few years.

Recently, I have managed to identify such players in a few of my leagues. Players like Petr Mrazek, Mike Hoffman, Seth Griffith, Mark Borowiecki, and Torey Krug. All these players were acquired as free agents in various leagues, sat on my prospect roster for a few years and are all now contributing members, or were traded for a significant return.

To be an elite level team in the NHL, or in such a competitive league as some of the ones I am in you have to have make good decisions drafting and in trading, but also in scouting for diamonds in the ruff.

There is no sweeter feeling than identifying a player who went undrafted in you league, and or the NHL draft and adding him to your roster before any of your peers even knows who he is. Then after a year or two or even three of sitting on him, he breaks out and is the talk of the league. While all your friends are saying “where did he come from?” Or “nobody knew about this guy!” You can sit back with a smug grin and say “I did!”

Nick Paul of the North Bay Battalion. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.
Nick Paul of the North Bay Battalion. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.

Nick Paul – Ottawa Senators

Paul has begun to gain notoriety for being involved in the Blockbuster trade involving Jason Spezza, but also for his play with the North Bay Battalion in the OHL. In 21 games this season, Paul has 26 points and stands 22nd overall tied with Robby Fabbri and Zack Nastasiuk. Paul was invited to Hockey Canada’s National junior team selection camp in the summer and stands a strong chance of making the World Junior team. At 6’3” and 198 pounds Paul has the size to compliment his skill and speed to become an effective pro. After a OHL career under Stan Butler learning defensive responsibilities, Paul may make a quick transition to the NHL and start producing on your fantasy team quickly.

Andreas Athanasiou – Detroit Red Wings

Athanasiou is a boom or bust type of player. He is blessed with great speed and skating ability. He has All-World level skill and hands scoring amazing breakaway goals. But what has always made Athanasiou pass my eye test is his ability to be offensively creative and handle the puck while at top speed. There is no question he has all the potential to be a boom player. The bust potential lies in his consistency and defensive responsibilities. As a product of the Red Wings, he should be expected to continue seasoning the AL for a few more seasons. In that time if he can become a reliable back-checking player and score at a consistent rate, he will make it to the NHL and be a fantastic fantasy option.


Pavel Kraskovsky – Winnipeg Jets

Kraskovsky is a player I recently discovered while watching the Subway Super series tournament. Being that he plays in the MHL in Russia, I had never seen him play before. But during the Super series games he certainly appeared on my radar with his standout performances. He is already 6’4” and 187 pounds at the age of 18 and has that Russian high skill level and he uses his size to his advantage playing a physical style as well. He was dominant at times during the series and should be back in Canada for another preview during the World Junior tournament. There is always the Russian factor to consider, but he was drafted by the Jets in the 6th round this summer.

Tyler Graovac – Minnesota Wild

Graovac developed a scoring touch during his final OHL season, and in his sophomore AHL season he is beginning to rediscover his scoring touch with 15 points in 18 games. Graovac has good size and goals scoring ability that will earn him a NHL look. I believe he will be a NHL regular, but perhaps no higher than the third line.

Juuse Saros – Nashville Predators

Saros has not yet come to play in North America, but the Preds draft pick was a big bright shining light for Finland at the World Juniors in their Gold medal run. His club team stats are impressive and while he is still a few years away, he appears to be the heir apparent for Pekka Rinne in Nashville.