Rookies to Watch in 05-06

Because of the lock-out, several notable rookies that would have debued last “season” have had a further year of development. This means that the race for the Calder Trophy, normally a race between a one-year-lucky goalie and a couple of 40 point scorers, could become just as exciting as that for the Hart, Norris, Vezina, or Art Ross. Here’s a preview in my view of the rookie class of 2005-06. An “A” means they should be able to win it, no matter what their supporting cast, a “B” means it will take luck, and a “C” means that they might not make they’re debut, or else they’ll be a darkhorse, but shouldn’t be counted out.“A”

Kari Lehtonen:

The most hyped goalie making a debut as a starter, it’s between him a Fleury as the goalie candidate, atleast one of them will be nominated.

Jeff Carter

The leading scorer of the AHL champs, as a rookie a few days out of junior, except big things, unless Sharp, Primeau, Handzus, and Forsberg block his way.

Sidney Crosby

The player with the biggest chance and undebatably the person expected to win the Calder, older teammates taking up roster spots might stunt this expectation.

Marc-André Fleury

Still a rookie by a few games, he might even be able to beat Crosby as rookie of the year, and has the outside edge over Lehtonen.

Carlo Colaiacovo

The second best defenseman in the rookie class, if he makes the top-4 he could legitimately be a finalist, at least.

Kyle Wellwood

One of the best rookies in the AHL two years ago, and the 4th leading scorer this year, his chance rests with good line-mates, but even without them he’s a threat.

Alexander Ovechkin

Most people would but him up against Crosby as the only two rookies with a shot at the Calder, but I think he’ll need abit of development before reaching his potential and his subpar team won’t give him much support

Dion Phaneuf

The best defenseman of the class, he probably would have won it in 2004-05 if there’d been a season.

Mikko Koivu

Minnesota’s slowly hyped and developed centre, if he plays with Gaborik and plays like his brother he could put up really good numbers, especially if his play at the World Cup is any indication.


Brandon Coburn – Might get playing time

Zach Parise – Madden or Kozlov’s replacement, might take abit of time to adjust to the new Devil’s lack of talent.

Andrei Meszaros – It’s between him and Volchenkov to crack the top 4, if it’s him…watch out!

Mike Richards – Depth at centre will scar him from being in the A class, because he’s only 6th on the Flyers depth chart at centre. Doesn’t posses quite the skill as Carter.

Eric Fehr – The best player in the WHL last season could do decent if he plays with Ovechkin.

Ryan Getzlaf – A top 6 forward because of Anaheim’s lack of depth, especially at left wing, He might be a slow developper but he’s been one of the WHL’s best and most consistant players.

Dany Fritsche – Already played a game or two for Columbus, if he makes the team, imagine him between Nash and Zherdev. This London Knight could put up real good numbers just do to sheer star power among line-mates.

Niklas Kronwall – Niklas Lidstrom’s eventual replacement, Delmore, Lilja, Schneider, Lidstrom, and Chelios will make him last of the top-6, but if he plays well enough he could be #2 next year, given Schneider and Chelios retiring.

Jiri Hudler – It’s doubtful he’d make the team at Centre, but if he plays rightwing he could play alongside Datsyul and Zetterberg, or Yzerman and Shanahan, or Draper and Maltby. Either of the 3 pairs would give him a good season.

Dustin Brown – Still a rookie, he might have a decent season, but the Kings don’t have a history of fast-developping rookies.

“C” (Other Notable Rookies)

Jack Johnson, CAR

Cam Ward, CAR

Rostislav Olesz, FLO

Tomas Plekanec, MTL

Josef Balej, NYR

Hugh Jessiman, NYR

Al Montoya, NYR

Henrik Lundqvist, NYR

Brandon Bochensky, OTT (AHL Rookie of the Year)

Antero Niittymaki, PHI

Ryan Whitney, PIT

Alexander Steen, TOR

Miroslav Zalesak, WSH

Corey Perry, ANA

Milan Michalek, SJ

Jeff Woywitka, STL

171 Responses to Rookies to Watch in 05-06

  1. eric_empire says:

    Perezhogin… Is he a Devil?

  2. WYflyerfan says:

    Pittsburg did the same with Fleury. They should have waited a year before playing him. Nothing could be worse then sticking him behind one of the worse defensive teams in the league. I’m not saying it ruined him by any means but it sure can’t help his confedence. I would put Crosby on the second line and once in a while put him on Mario’s line.

  3. WYflyerfan says:

    Don’t you remember how all the leaf fans pointed out how big and slow the defense is. What a joke.

  4. WYflyerfan says:

    I think but I could be wrong but do canadian fans see or acknowledge NCAA players. I’m not trying to start anything but I just think they don’t give NCAA any credit. Probably because it is in the US.

  5. WYflyerfan says:

    Why don’t you and that soon to be flop crosby go pound sand!!!!!!!

  6. TheCoach says:

    This list is pretty bad. I don’t think Koivu, Coliacovo or Wellwood belong on the A list. Koivu doesn’t have the offensive skills of his brother, Coliacovo has done absolutely nothing to prove that he’ll be a good defenseman and Wellwood doesn’t have the physical tools or skating ability to be a force in the NHL.

    Here are my rankings for your prospects:

    Kari Lehtonen: A-

    Jeff Carter: B+

    Sidney Crosby: A

    Marc-André Fleury:A-

    Carlo Colaiacovo: C+

    Kyle Wellwood: C

    Alexander Ovechkin: A

    Dion Phaneuf: A-

    Mikko Koivu: B-


    Brandon Coburn – B+

    Andrei Meszaros – B+

    Mike Richards – B

    Eric Fehr – B

    Ryan Getzlaf – A-

    Dany Fritsche – B

    Niklas Kronwall – A-

    Jiri Hudler – C+

    Dustin Brown – B

    And guys like Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney, Anton Babchuk belong on this list.

  7. TheCoach says:

    Coliacovo does not belong on the A list, and Wellwood doesn’t belong on the B list.

    Sorry, but thats the truth.

  8. Kraut182 says:

    The last time Carlo played against a collection of his rookie-type peers (World Juniors) he was the best defenseman in the world. All of the players you just listed he was either better than, or older and now more experienced.

    Will this translate? Who knows, but I defintiely don’t think its too crazy to be putting him up there with the best. That said it will be interesting to see what Quinn does with him. I think this should be the year he makes the jump.

  9. titans says:

    Man this defense is spectacular! What a combination of size and toughness (Hatcher & Rathje) and sped and Skill (Johnsson & Pitkannen) Plus throw quality veteran Eric DeJardins (however you spell his name) too!

    These Leaf fans are soooo jelous of our team!

  10. WYflyerfan says:

    How can everybody keep rating Fleury an A. He hasn’t shown anything yet weather nhl or ahl. I would drop him atleast to B or B-.

  11. Neely4Life says:

    I like carlo, i think he is gonna be solid. That being said, i dont think n e young D can touch Phenuff. This kid is 20 and plays like a seasoned vet. As it goes for D, this kid is in a league of his own. Thank god he is in the west. As for Carlo, and i don’t know why i think this, but i just think Quinn is gonna trade him. He doesnt really know how to win with rookies or youngsters, and i think he will push the panic button if they arnt in a good spot at mid season. JFJ might have other plans, but i say the Rookies get a real shot this year or next for the Buds, or Quinn is gone. Quinn can’t rely on the vets forever. Sundin is always money though.

  12. Neely4Life says:

    I have a couple of buddies playin in the NCAA, so i tend to pay more attention that a lot fans. But, id have to say no, they NCAA isnt looked at like the OHL, or WHL, or QJMHL. That being said, The raining NHL MVP played college, same with a lot of the great young players. Plus, the forwards that come out of the NCAA, tend to be a bit smaller, and arnt given a chance based on that as well. But the NCAA hockey is great too, THE CHL still has the better players, but NCAA should not be over looked what so ever. I just wish more games were broadcasted in Canada.

  13. Neely4Life says:

    I dont like the leafs much, but i think Carlo is gonna be solid. I just dont know if he is in the right position on the leafs meaning, somthing has to give in the organization. Either go with youth, or keep signign the vets. But you cant hold down the young players forever. Id much rather have my young players, playing with Gary and Joe, and Lindros and Allison. Sundin and Domi will be a good influance on the young players, but they just ownt get a fair shot as long as Quinn keeps going with vets.

  14. Neely4Life says:

    Goalies got a lot to learn for sure. But this group of rookies, are an exception to the rules. in every position. Crosby, Praise and Carter play like vets. Phenuff and Coliacavo, Phenuff being a bit younger and tougher, but Carlo having waited his time, are boh seasoned and rready to go. And Kari Lehtonen, WATCH THIS KID! If atlanta makes the playoffs, its cuz of him, and will win the Calder if they make the playoffs. I think that taking the Thrashrs to the playoffs is a bigger feat than getting 60-60 points on a lin ewith lemiuex, or foresberg. If lehtonen doesnt make the playoffs, look for crosby or carter to take it home. I like Carter, but ive seen Sidney play and would never count him out.

  15. Avahoic says:

    It’s tough to say how well Svatos will do this year. The kid’s got great speed, soft hands, and can see the ice very well but his lack of size and shoulder injuries have been a heavy weakness for him. But if he stays healthy all season then i agree that he could put up some huge points.

    Svatos is still considered a rookie because he only played 4 reg. season games.

  16. ethan says:

    Even without the atrocious grammatical and spelling errors. Hire an editor. Wellwood and Colaiacovo? As lousy as the Leaf’s lineup is, if those two are playing regularly in the NHL, you can start fitting Phil Kessel for one of those ugly blue and white sweaters. Both of them are career minor league types. Undersized and without enough speed or skill to overcome the fact.

  17. BC15 says:

    I agree. That’s why I think the Quinn re-signing was a questionable move. He is one of the best coaches in the NHL, BUT the fact that he leans toward veterans despite the attempted “youth movement” sets up conflict. Paul Maurice is the heir apparant, if the Leafs wanted to go young, why not start with a new coach to match the new team philosophy?

  18. orrfour says:

    You didn’t mention Brad Boyes for the Bruins who should have a decent rookie year after honing his game in the minors.

  19. NemiNA says:

    Dude. McSorley was the one who assualted Brashear. Brash is the victim here.

  20. NemiNA says:

    Cuase we all know this is the word of god and can’t be doubted. All hail Mikster

  21. NemiNA says:

    Yeah he honed.

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