Itís a bird, itís a plane, itísÖ The Coming Thing, back after a lengthy hiatus for a new season of prospecting action! As always, Iíll be focusing on kids who earn the call from the AHL (or elsewhere, when relevant) or arenít cutting it and get demoted. Letís jump right in to the first edition, which features some familiar names and some not-so-familiar ones.
Comings and Goings
Charlie Lindgren, G, MON Ė Thanks to Carey Priceís injury-damaged 2015-16, the undrafted Lindgren jumped straight from playing for St. Cloud State University into NHL action at the end of last season, and he acquitted himself well in his first and only start, stopping 26 of 28 shots en route to a 4-2 victory. This year, Priceís flu prompted the Habs to keep Lindgren around as the backup to Al Montoya, but he didnít pick up any ice time. With the star netminder over his illness and back in the Canadiensí net now, Lindgren will go get his first taste of AHL action. As he can be freely moved back and forth between the majors and minors on his two-way deal, expect to see Lindgren back in a Montreal sweater whenever either Price or Montoya gets banged up. Still only 22 years old, he posted a .925 save mark for St. Cloud State last year and a .919 the year before, so itíll be quite interesting to see how fares as the presumptive No. 1 netminder for the St. Johnís Icecaps.
Mike Reilly, D, MIN Ė The 2014-15 Hobey Baker Award finalist had a mixed bag of a first pro season last year. He scored decently in the AHL (23 points in 45 games), but was easily the most dreadful defensive liability (a team-worst minus-27) on a team that was full of them. Reillyís defense didnít look quite as bad at the NHL level, but he managed only a fantasy-irrelevant eight points in 29 games. Now, the 23-year-old is back from the AHL after a brief stay, and he suited up for Thursdayís win over Toronto, but skated only 12:30, managing two shots on goal. The good news is that he skated 2:13 with the power play Thursday; the bad news is that heíll almost certainly be the odd man out when Marco Scandella (illness) and/or Jared Spurgeon (upper body) can return.
Ryan Pulock, D, NYI Ė Pedigree, pedigree and pedigree Ė thatís about all that Isles fans and hopeful fantasy owners can point to with Pulock, the No. 15 pick in the 2013 draft. His AHL production has been lackluster, including last yearís seven goals and 24 points in 51 games, and his NHL action has been minimal to this point. The 22-year-old blueliner was made an emergency recall Wednesday, and with Nick Leddy (upper body) day-to-day, Pulock could draw in for Fridayís game against Arizona. Keep expectations low, but there might be some power-play time available for him.
Mikko Rantanen, RW, COL Ė Hereís a guy whoís almost ready to make good on his pedigree, but not quite yet, as an ankle injury prompted the Avs to send the 19-year-old Rantanen back to AHL San Antonio for a conditioning stint. After making the jump from pro hockey in Finland and racking up a 24-goal, 60-point season over 52 games for the Rampage last year (following a nine-game NHL stint that didnít quite work out), he clearly has nothing left to prove in the minors. Itís hard to imagine the 2015 No. 10 pick needing more than a couple weeks of rehab action, and heís already a week deep into it. When he returns, he could make a run at Mikhail Grigorenkoís second-line spot on the left wing.
Laurent Brossoit, G, EDM Ė With Jonas Gustavsson (head) on the sidelines, Brossoit has been serving as Cam Talbotís backup, which has meant exactly zero playing time so far. That projects to continue being the case for a while, as the Oilers donít have any back-to-backs until Nov. 5 and 6 Ė by which time Gustavsson could well be back. The 23-year-old Canadian has delivered strong results at the AHL level over the last two seasons, posting .918 and .920 save marks, but his five-game NHL trial last year was a disaster Ė he lost all five while putting up only an .873 save percentage. Thereís not much to see her for fantasy owners outside of dynasty formats.
Prospect of the Week
Filip Chlapik, C, OTT Ė The Senators took a chance on Chlapik in the second round last season, and he didnít give them much of an immediate reward, scoring a terrible total of 12 goals and a mediocre 54 points over 52 games for QMJHL Charlottetown (down from 33 goals and 75 points in 64 games during his inaugural junior campaign). To be fair, though, his team wasnít particularly strong on offense, as Chlapik nonetheless finished second on the squad in points. Eight games into this season, heís almost entirely erased those bad memories. The 19-year-old pivot has only gone one game without scoring a goal, and he notched an assist in that one; heís already got 10 goals (yes, just two short of last yearís total) and seven assists on his season stat line. Itís one (amazing) thing to average a goal a game; itís another altogether to do that while averaging almost an assist per game, too. The young Czech is also sitting on a plus-5 rating after going minus-16 and minus-15 in the past two seasons. He faces an uncertain NHL future if he canít improve his skating, but Chlapik is a hard worker and a strong defender, and thereís no question about his playmaking. Judging by what weíve seen this year, heís also developed his shooting ability significantly, displaying a much stronger and more accurate wrist shot than ever before. The most reasonable comp I can come up with here is a young Antoine Vermette, but maybe with a little more flash.