Which player in the upcoming draft will have the most fantasy impact the fastest, and why?
Coach Brouwer - Ryan Murray is NHL ready. He is playing like a vet over in Europe for Team Canada at the World Hockey Championship. Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe who is also Team Canada GM is an extremely smart GM. He knows the Oilers need to add a young defenseman to their young core so why not bring their potential pick to play against men and see how he does. Lowe gets several weeks to scout and really get to know this kid during the tournament. The Oilers need to trade down at the draft so they can add a few more pieces to their organization and draft Murray. Murray may never be an elite #1 offensive defenseman but he will be a solid #2 guy who can score goals, run a power play and still take care of his own end. He is the perfect fit for the Oilers and will instantly make them better. Get him in the roster now so that all these young players can bond and grow as a unit. He will likely finish somewhere between Jay Bouwmeester and Ryan Suter.
Coach Perry - If Nail Yakupov is drafted by the Oilers I think that Alex Galchenyuk will have the most fantasy value next season. Nail will play in the NHL next year. However, in Edmonton he’ll have a hard time cracking the top line and top PP. Who does he leapfrog for time on the wing? Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Smyth? It isn’t that he can’t jump past these guys in one year, but the odds are against him. Galchenyuk should be drafted by the Montreal Canadiens or the Toronto Maple Leafs and forced into action very quickly. You have to think that with Brian Burke, potentially fighting for his job, would feel very comfortable trusting another American player to fill out his top six. If he centers either Phil Kessel or Max Pacioretty there is potential for some very dynamic chemistry right out of the gate. The problem is that Galchenyuk is a perfect fit for either of the Canadian franchises, both of whom are known for making the wrong decision. If the Oilers take Dumba or Murray over Yakupov (unlikely) or trade out of 1st (more likely) he will be the player to beat. If he is in Columbus, Montreal, Toronto or any franchise where he gets a sniff at decent even strength and power play minutes he will earn the most fantasy points. I haven’t been sold on him yet, but his numbers are close to that of Hall as a winger and even respectable when held against Tavares and Stamkos. I’d wait until the draft, but I think Nail goes to Edmonton and Galchenyuk scores the most points in seasonal leagues next year. In the short-term, three to four years, I think Yakupov is the easy choice to outperform the rest.
Coach Harling - Filip Forsberg. Yakupov has been a disappointment for me this year in his final junior campaign. He was a third team All-Star, was eliminated early in the OHL playoffs and was only “good” not “great” in the World Juniors. In Edmonton (assuming that’s where he goes) if he makes the team, he will not see prime time immediately behind Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ales Hemsky. Assuming Columbus selects a defenseman (Ryan Murray, or Matt Dumba) Forsberg could fall to the Canadiens, Islanders, or Leafs. Any of those teams desperately need a number one center and Forsberg fills the bill. Playing on a line with John Tavares or Phil Kessel could make him fantasy relevant immediately!