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Toronto, ON • Canada • 2011 Years Old • Male
Looking for sleeper picks in your upcoming fantasy draft or interested in who to look for as possible up-and-comers next season? You've come to the right place. After hours of statistical analysis, I have compiled a top-10 list (featuring video evidence) of rookies/prospects who are likely to breakout next season as bonafide NHLers or even superstars.

For the purposes of this article:
Eligible players must have played two NHL seasons or less (of more than 5 Games Played)

Note: Players mentioned in this article are expected to either enter their first NHL season and make an immediate offensive impact or improve on their previous seasons' NHL totals by at least 20 points.


Age: 20
Drafted: 2009 - Round 2 (60th overall)
NHL seasons: 1
Best JR Season: AHL 70 GP 24-33-57

Leave it to the Red Wings to find the uncovered european talent in the NHL draft. Tomas Tatar comes out of Slovakia and if it wasn't for his dominant performance at the WJC in 2009 (7 GP 7g-4a-11), his junior stats would seem relatively weak as he only put up 15 points in 48 games in the Slovakian league. Tatar is highly skilled and has a knack for the net, posting 24 goals last season in the AHL. With the recent departures on the Red Wings roster, Tatar could find himself in a contributing position, especially if Jiri Hudler underperforms once again this season. The sky is the limit for this player but I see him playing third line minutes to begin the 2011-2012 campaign. He's a good gamble to take in a late round for large fantasy leagues as he could pay huge dividends if he manages to score 20 goals this season.

2011-2012 projection: 82 GP 15-20-35


Age: 21
Drafted: 2008 - Round 2 (44th overall)
NHL seasons: 1
Best JR Season: QMJHL 56 GP 49-41-90
AHL 57 GP 29-33-62

The departure of Tim Connolly will give Luke Adam an increased role with the Sabres this upcoming season. After netting almost 50 goals in his final junior year, Adam followed that up with a strong season in the AHL, proving that his skills could adapt to the pro game. Adam is coming off a 29-goal, 62 point campaign in the AHL and is part of an organization with arguably the best coach in the league. Adam struggled with his first NHL stint scoring only 4 points in 19 games, although he was limited to roughly 10 minutes a night. With a solid AHL season under his belt, Adam should be ready to make the jump to the show next season. If he manages to hit the 20-goal marker next season, Adam could be a great late round pickup in Fantasy leagues.

2011-2012 projection: 82 GP 20-20-40


Age: 24
Drafted: Undrafted
NHL seasons: 2
Best JR Season: NCAA 39 GP 29-24-53
AHL 47 GP 22-11-33

Bobby Butler was a heavily sought after free agent coming out of the University of New Hampshire scoring 29 goals and 53 points in only 39 games in his final year. Butler began last season with Binghamton but was later called up to the big club where he scored 21 points in 36 games. If Butler takes an increased role this upcoming season with the rebuilding Senators it is not out of the question that he could hit 40 or even possibly 50 points next season.

2011-2012 projection: 82 GP 25-20-45


Age: 18
Drafted: 2011 - Round 1 (5th overall)
NHL seasons: 0
Best JR Season: OHL 65 GP 33-73 -106

Ryan Strome was drafted to a young team oozing with potential this past June, giving him the opportunity to step right into the NHL next season. If Strome can develop some chemistry with Tavares, Moulson, or Grabner next season then the sky is the limit. Strome is coming off a junior season in which he potted 73 assists, showing his ability to see the ice and make plays. Strome is still young and could benefit from development in the minors, but the Islanders fanbase is hungry for playoff action. Therefore, if Strome demonstrates his ability to contribute in training camp, it'll be next to impossible for management to send him back to junior.

2011-2012 projection: 82 GP 15-25-40


Age: 20
Drafted: 2009 - 1st round (7th overall)
NHL seasons: 1
Best JR Season: OHL 56 GP 35-58-93
AHL 44 GP 17-24-41

Nazem Kadri has taken a lot of heat playing in hockey's hotbed, but it's important to remember that he has yet to play even 40 games in the NHL. Not to mention, he's often criticized for his inability to contribute thus far, although being drafted only two spots behind the #1 prospect on Hockey's Future (Brayden Schenn, whose NHL stats notably sit at 9 GP 0-2-2). Next season will give Nazem Kadri a chance to compete for a spot in the top-6. This young winger has added size since being drafted and was able to dominate at the AHL level last season. His adjustment to the pro game paid dividends when he was called-up for his second stint in the 2010-2011 season. For Leaf fans looking to get that late sleeper pick in their fantasy leagues, don't be wary of picking Kadri as he could be relied on to score 40 points this season depending on how he stands up to MacArthur and Lupul in training camp.

2011-2012 projection: 82 GP 15-25-40

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