Sometimes hot starts are just that. Some prospects come out of the gate flying, produce at an unsustainable rate and then fall back down to earth. We’ve got a hunch that that won’t happen for the three prospects we’ve highlighted in the Stock Rising section of today’s article.
They may not generate offence at this exact same clip over the balance of a season, but the legitimate improvements to their game suggest that they’ll be highly effective for their respective teams over the balance of the season.
In this edition of Stock Watch, we also take a look at the early start of a prospect who finds himself at the opposite end of the spectrum, suffering a cold streak that never seems to end.
Stock Rising 📈
Mavrik Bourque, C, Texas Stars (Dallas Stars)
As a smaller forward with some skating issues, Mavrik Bourque was always going to take a bit longer than most prospects to reach an NHL spot, but it looks like he’s finally putting himself on track for one this season.
There hasn’t been any one specific change to Bourque’s game, but a series of minor tweaks around the margins that have elevated his profile and made him a more effective, dangerous player.
His speed still grades as about average, but he looks faster because he’s in the right spot more often than not, running the right routes, and his give-and-go game is improving, too. He gets involved defensively, often playing the low, engager role on his line, gets the puck, moves it quickly to a teammate, and sprints at full force down the ice to get open for a return feed.
In the offensive zone, the former Dallas Stars first-round pick understands spacing and positioning and how to best complement the plays of teammates. He’s become much stronger too, which has allowed him to shield the puck from opponents with more ease than before
Bourque controls and orchestrates the game better now. It’s his hockey sense that will carry him to an NHL role and it’s good to see it on full display more regularly in the AHL.
Logan Stankoven, RW, Texas Stars (Dallas Stars)
The stars couldn’t have possibly asked for a better start to Logan Stankoven‘s professional career. At least not on the scoresheet. He has nine points in seven games, and the chemistry he’s developing with Bourque suggests there’s many more on the way.
Like Bourque, Stankoven can’t rely on much of a speed advantage as a skater on professional opponents. Instead, he’s adapted by driving the net to get his stick on rebounds and by making precise, quick plays from the wall.
Even with this new approach, his skills continue to shine. Stankoven can thread passes through, below, or above sticks and traffic and can still beat goaltenders with his shot.
This time in the AHL will be beneficial to Stankoven’s development. The AHL season is long and arduous. Living through its ups and downs will help him develop the diverse, well-rounded game he needs to succeed in a potential future top-six role with the team.
Joshua Roy, LW, Laval Rockets (Montréal Canadiens)
We already made a video on Joshua Roy’s exceptional play to start the season on the Elite Prospects YouTube page, but we couldn’t leave out the AHL Rookie of the Month for October in this latest edition of the AHL Stock Watch.
Roy’s value just continues to soar. What he’s doing right now as a fifth-round pick that we once left off our board completely doesn’t always make sense to us, but at this point, we are done doubting him.
It doesn’t matter if we can’t figure out how he got there and where he’s headed next. It doesn’t matter if we can’t trace his development path. We are content just watching him evolve. He has been one of the most fascinating prospects to follow over the past few years.
Like everyone else, we want to enjoy the five-point nights, the puck steals on the backcheck, and the times when he drags two defenders on himself and feeds a puck to his teammate at the net-front.
Will his production last? Will he continue to fill the highlight reel? Will he make the NHL in a top-six role? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. By that same token, who wants to bet against him at this point?
Stock Steady ↔️
Hendrix Lapierre, C, Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals)
Hendrix Lapierre has continued to score at about a half-a-point-a-game pace for the Hershey Bears, just as he did in his last year with the team. His offensive game hasn’t bloomed as much as we hoped in the AHL. Looking past the production, other facets of his play have improved over the passing months, earning him his first game back with the Washington Capitals in two years.
Lapierre is more responsible with the puck than he was in his first year with the Bears and better defensively, too. He picks the right option as he attacks off the rush and his energy on the forecheck and backcheck has increased, too. More attentive in the defensive end, he also earned regular minutes on the penalty kill.
This is a big season for Lapierre. There’s a decent chance he’ll be sent back down to the AHL as the Capitals get reinforcements from the IR. To earn an everyday role with the Caps, the first-round pick has to continue developing his off-puck habits and hard skills with Hershey. The more his line controls the puck, the more occasions he will have to make his playmaking skills shine.
Stock Falling 📉
Marco Kasper, C, Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)
Marco Kasper’s stock was ascendant last season after a strong campaign in the SHL and an NHL debut where he managed to more than hold his own against tough competition, in spite of playing through an injury that limited his time with the Detroit Red Wings to just the one game.
But after watching him over the last few weeks, it’s clear Kasper will need more time to fully adjust to the North American game. He didn’t perform as well as we expected in training camp. Nate Danielson, the Red Wings’ recent ninth-overall pick, outshined him. And his recent play in the AHL doesn’t suggest that he’s ready for the big league either.
At this stage, the production doesn’t really matter. It will improve. As he’s an inside-driven, high-energy player, Kasper will find ways to get more pucks in the net and his work on the forecheck will earn him some assists, too, but currently, he’s not connecting on enough of his plays. Defenders easily read his passes. They’re predictable and lack deception. And Kasper just doesn’t seem willing to hold on to possession and shift the defence to find better plays.
From afar, it looks like a lack of confidence. Kasper’s playmaking was never his main quality, but he did create for teammates in the SHL. We usually saw a couple of clever, advanced rush plays from him per game and he also generated his share of chances off the cycle, by taking pucks off the wall and attracting more than one defender.
So, for now, Kasper’s stock is on the decline, but his style of play should fit the AHL and NHL game well long-term. A bit more deception and confidence, a bit more assertiveness and aggressiveness and the center will put himself right back on track.