If you study my fantasy hockey cheatsheets, you may notice a distinct lack of rookie presence, particularly on offense. There's a good reason for that. As a rule, there's too much risk to spend an early pick on a guy who may not even make an NHL roster. Trying to predict where a rookie will finish is a total crapshoot, particularly when you've never seen them play. That said, this season, as with every season, there will be a handful of rookies who will ultimately have an impact on your fantasy hockey season. Here are a few worth considering in your draft or as players to watch as the season progresses.
1. Jordan Eberle (EDM)
Despite the fanfare around Mr. Hall, it seems like Eberle is emerging as the potential star for 2010-11. His preseason (not that I put much stock in that) has been impressive. He's a good a bet as any to lead rookies in scoring this season.
2. Tyler Ennis (BUF)
Ennis had a good showing in a 10 game preview last season with the Sabres. He followed that up with a solid playoff performance. He should crack the top 2 lines this season and produce 40 to 50 points.
3. Taylor Hall (EDM)
No need to ramble on about the number #1 draft choice. The Oilers have little choice but to showcase him this season, so he'll have every opportunity to put points on the board.
4. Tyler Seguin (BOS)
There were/are doubts as to whether the Bruins would keep him with the big club for this season or let him grow for a year in the AHL. With Savard's absence and the likelihood of Krejci playing a full season seeming dim, they'll likely be forced to give him the 3rd line center role. That shouldn't amount to much in terms of fantasy value this season, but may give us a glimpse of what's to come in 2011.
1. P.K. Subban (MON)
The one rookie I wouldn't hesitate to draft this season is Subban (in fact, I have in almost all of my leagues). He's been on the radar for Montreal for awhile now, and showed his tremendous offensive abilities in the playoffs last season. Particularly with the losses of Bergeron and Markov, the Habs will feature him early and often.
2. John Carlson (WAS)
Carlson has shined in the AHL and is ready to press Mike Green for the puck-moving spotlight in Washington. With all the guns the Caps have up front, he's bound to gets his points this season. He played in over 20 games late last season and showed he belongs in the NHL now. Bench worthy now.
3. Jamie McBain (CAR)
McBain had a tremendous audition at the end of last season when there was no pressure and teams weren't taking the Canes very seriously. He should have no problem sticking with the club all season and should be a solid point producer over the course of the year. Worthy of a late pick.
1. Sergei Bobrovsky (PHI)
The injury to Boucher opens the door for the Flyers' prospect to step in and make a case for the starting job. I wouldn't dare spend a draft pick on him, but I plan on watching him closely to see if he gets some starts early on. If he does, he'll be off the waiver wire early.
2. Corey Crawford (CHI)
With Huet now officially out of the picture, all that stands between Crawford and a #1 job on the defending Champs roster is a bad stretch or injury to an aging Turco. Again, probably not worth spending a pick on, but keep your finger on the trigger for claiming him when his chance eventually surfaces.
3. Michal Neuvirth (WAS) & Jonathan Bernier (LA)
Neuvirth and Bernier have similar stories and similar potential for fantasy owners in 2010-11. All they need is for the guy above them on the depth chart to struggle out of the shoot and they'll be pulling in wins for some powerful NHL squads. Both are close enough to merit a very late draft selection.
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