Must-watch fantasy hockey prospects, including those playing in the 2022 Frozen Four

It is over. Either your head-to-head club has not received an invitation to the fantasy playoff dance, or your still active rotisserie list is about to tumble out of real controversy. Either way, it’s time to brush it off and look forward to competition in 2022-23. With that perspective, here’s a look at several future fantasy stars who have not yet made their mark, but who will no doubt do so; potentially prominent artists to keep in mind next fall in the redraft competition or right now in the dynasty’s game.

I intentionally focus on prospects who have signed (or are signing) with current non-playoff challengers, given that they are likely to be offered greater opportunities right out of the gate. Also included are four must-watch individuals – future NHL stars – engaged in this year’s NCAA Men’s Frozen Four.

Bobby Brink, F, Philadelphia Flyers: No doubt the little winger is on rim (ahem) to make an impact at the professional level. Brink represented the University of Denver at this year’s NCAA men’s Frozen Four and scored 56 points in 39 collegiate matches this season. No wonder he is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Minnetonka natives were also a standout at the 2021 World Juniors. Drafted as number 34 overall in 2019, Brink is ready to play on the wing with the rebuilding Flyers club soon. Fantasy managers in dynasty / keeper leagues should keep an eye on when this aggressive and skilled playmaker officially puts the pen to paper in Philly, and grab him when he qualifies.

Owen Power, D, Buffalo Sabers: Another year of college competition has certainly not done the impressive defender any harm. When he trampled through 2021-22 at a point / match pace ahead of competing for the Wolverines at the men’s Frozen Four, the clock on last summer’s draft ball attaches an impressive arc to his pre-NHL career. He also did not look out of place wearing the maple leaf and fighting against adult men at the Olympics. A future top-pair defender for the Sabers, Power is going to play a ton of minutes, block shots, throw shots and collect a healthy number of points this year and year to come. Buffalo fans are understandably excited about the pending arrival of their No. 1 selection – so should invested fantasy managers. If your (currently uncompetitive) goalkeeper / dynasty team is cultivating blue-line holes, consider acquiring Power now that the move is still possible.

Matty Beniers, F, Seattle Kraken: Reasonably or not, some are already comparing this kid to Patrice Bergeron. Yet another member of a Wolverines powerhouse assembly engaged in Frozen Four-action, Beniers is widely admired for his two-way game involving fierce advance control, exceptional puck-movement abilities and through-taken hockey IQ The Kraken chose him overall number two. with good reason. After keeping up with both children and adults on the international stage – including a tour at this winter’s Olympics – and dominating at the college level, the Beniers’ next step is the NHL. The 43 points in 36 games with Michigan only gives his appeal. This creative center is already (unfortunately) spoken for in my most competitive, fantasy roto keeper league. Did not sleep on him too long as I did.

Kent Johnson, F, Columbus Blue Jackets: It’s hardly fair to saddle a 19-year-old center with the hope of revitalizing a once again sub mediocre Columbus club, and yet we are here. If all goes according to plan, the University of Michigan will line up with RFA-to-future Patrik Laine and create a formidable forward pair in the coming seasons. A worthy experiment, at a minimum. This kid sparkles like a creative playmaker who always seems to think at least one play ahead. It’s less a question of whether Johnson earns a top-line / power-play role with the Blue Jackets, but when. And the fifth overall draft committee (2021) is already available in the fantasy competition.

Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators: Armed with a new three-year entry-level deal and already getting acquainted with the Senators community in Ottawa (he’s queuing with Brady Tkachuk), Sanderson is probably still a few months from getting his first real taste of NHL games. An appetizer of games to end 2021-22 is not out of the question if the defender’s newly repaired wrist heals quickly, but not guaranteed. But once Geoff’s child is ready to dive in, he’s able to make an instant impression with this developing team. Sanderson was more than ready to put a series of injuries and COVID-related cancellations behind him, and he collected 26 points in 23 games before watching his season with the University of North Dakota interrupt. This fifth overall draft pick (2020) is expected to fully recover and is a must-list in deeper fantasy keeper / dynasty leagues.

Dylan Guenther, F, Arizona Coyotes: Aside from some unexpected blips in the narrative, there is no noticeable reason to exclude Guenther from playing in the NHL next year. After scoring 42 goals and 42 assists in 55 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings, the nearly 19-year-old (April 10) has nothing left to prove in the junior competition. And god knows, the Coyotes could use the scoring assist. Guenther, who was drafted as number nine overall in 2021, expects to fill a top-six role in the dessert, sooner rather than later.

Alexander Holtz, F, New Jersey Devils: This young winger is going to score piles of goals when he’s ready to permanently break the Devils’ list. With a sampler of seven NHL games under his socks, Holtz otherwise runs a point / game pace (23G / 22A) with North Division-leading Utica Comets (AHL). Not bad for one’s first full season in North America. I want to see Holtz finally skate on line with Jack Hughes, and why not? New Jersey did not draft the 20-year-old sniper as number seven (2020) to use him in some diminished capacity.

Justin Barron, D, Montreal Canadiens: Before suffering a leg injury, the 25th overall draft pick (2020 / Colorado) scored his first NHL goal in five shots in Tuesday’s loss to the Senators. And this young defender has just begun. Relinquished through the trade of Avalanche – a club that does not exactly hurt the talent department on the blue line – Barron is in a better position to secure a more prominent role in Montreal. He expects to serve as an important top-4 defender who is able to contribute to the results schedule in the coming years. Fantasy managers in deeper dynasty leagues will not sleep long on him.


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