Every dedicated sports fan has that one piece of memorabilia that is very dear to them. Usually it was obtained as a youth at one of the first major sporting events you attended–maybe a ticket stub or a program. Or, perhaps you grabbed it later on as an adult on a auction site. Either way you would never let it go from your possession.
For fantasy hockey coaches in a dynasty or keeper format, the time is now to get the jump on your pool. Depending on your league set up, your options may be limited to the amount of keepers allowed or number of years before you go back to a redraft. With the off-season’s NHL draft not offering a McDavid type anytime soon, there are several marginal keepers that will provide tough dynasty decisions. Keep in mind keen opposing coaches may have already scooped up most of these young players, or perhaps they may not even be available to pick up yet in your league.
Here are my recommended rising stars that should be on your keeper radar now:
Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning)
- 60 GP, 13G, 19A for 32 Points, 10 on the power play.
Pegged as undersized at 5’10 and 166 lbs he is a young playmaker with a huge ceiling. Point is playing extremely well right now for the Lightning. With snipers like Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson back fully healthy to go alongside Kucherov and Drouin, Tampa Bay should be a high-scoring lineup for the next few seasons.
Rickard Rakell (Anaheim Ducks)
- 32G, 13A put him at 45 points in 63 games.
Despite his top linemates missing games earlier this year, Rakell has reached 30 goals at age 23. He has 10 game-winners this year to go along with a strong power play presence. Along with Jakob Silfverberg, they are the future of the franchise.
Conor Sheary (Pittsburgh Penguins)
- 21G and 29A translates to 50 points in 54 games.
Also undersized at 5’8, Sheary has produced with almost a point-per-game pace. Currently cemented on a line with Sidney Crosby–enough said.
John Hayden (Chicago Blackhawks)
Straight from Yale to the NHL at age 22, Hayden is a talented scorer playing a top-six role with future Hall of Famers. A very strong player at 6’2 and 220 lbs, he has shown a fast transition from the college game. Coach Q has displayed his growing faith in Hayden by using him on the top lines and during special team situations.
Kenny Agostino and Wade Megan (Chicago Wolves / St. Louis Blues)
- Agostino: 21-54-75
- Megan: 27-27-54
This pair of high-scoring Wolves would give a jolt to the Blues offense when called up. They are currently 1st and 7th in AHL scoring.
Taylor Beck (Hartford Wolf Pack / New York Rangers)
He signed a one-year NHL contract on July 3, 2016 with Edmonton and has played in the NHL. He skated in the CHL Top Prospects Game in 2008-09, and in 2007-08, Beck won a Gold Medal with the U17 Canadian Team. Beck sits 2nd in AHL scoring at 17G and 43A; good for 60 points.
Chris Terry (San Jose Barracuda / San Jose Sharks)
5th in the AHL scoring race, Terry powers the Pacific Division leading the ‘Cudas with 24G and 31A totaling 55 points.
Troy Grosenick (San Jose Barracuda / San Jose Sharks)
Minor-league workhorse netminder appearing in 42 games this year. Top marks at 2.08, .928 with a stellar 26-9-3 record that includes a league-leading 9 shutouts. A goalie of the future, he seems ready now.
Anatoly Golyshev (New York Islanders)
The 5’8 super sniper was a top 4 goal scorer in the KHL in 2015-16 with 25 on his way to 44 points in 56 games. His overall numbers are down this year but he may be in an Islanders sweater as soon as late next year. Given the unavoidable Panarin comps throughout his career, Russian-born Golyshev is still only 22 years old.
Dominic Furch (Omsk Avangard)
Paced the Czech squad in this year’s World Championship tournament with an outstanding 0.95 GAA and .960 save% in four games. Playing 6 years in the Czech league before 3 in the KHL, Furch has the success and experience to be a better option in net for several NHL clubs right now but somehow remains undrafted.
Jan Kovar (Magnitogorsk Metallurg)
Czech league totals were 162 points in 236 games before nearly a point-per-game average for his efforts in the Russian league. 2016-17 current numbers are 23G, 40A for 63 points in 59 games. After almost 10 years in elite leagues, he may be slowly running out of time to show his skills in the NHL.