This Years Rookie Crop

The long wait is almost over!! Summer is done and training camp is just around the corner. This time of the year the average hockey fan is trying to figure out what his respective team will look like, how well the new players will mesh with the team, and most importantly in today’s salary cap era…Who and how well will your team’s prospects fill the gaps left by UFAs or retirements.

So I thought Id give you all a look at this years rookie crop in no particular order:

Bobby Ryan (ANA): The kid so far has been known as the “guy who was picked after Sidney Crosby”. Will this be the year he finally cracks the Ducks roster and prove his worth of being picked 2nd overall? He had a GREAT year in the AHL last year with 49 points in 48 games and not to mention 10 points with the Ducks in the NHL. He is listed as 6’1 and 220 pounds and is ur prototypical power forward.

Jakub Voracek (CBJ): He is coming off a 101 point season in the QMJHL and a summer where apparently he has gained quite a big of weight. With arguably only 4 top 6 forwards on the team (Nash, Huselius, Modin, Umberger) there is a spot for him to showoff what his new 6’2 200 pound frame can do.

Kyle Okposo (NYI): Hw was taken 7th overall in 2006 and is going into training camp with arguably the worst team in the league devoid of any talent. He will have the chance to play big time minutes on a team in desperate need of offence, cant wait to see what the kid can do after scoring that amasing goal in the NCAA. (worth seeing if you havent yet)

Troy Brouwer (CHI): Not so many people know about this kid so let me tell you! He might be a sleeper this year but place him with Kane or Toews and he could be a goal scoring machine. In 141 games in the AHL over 2 seasons hes scored 76 goals! Hes a big boy at 6’3 220 pounds and not to mention is older at age 23 so we will see come training camp what hes got!

Steven Stamkos (TBL): Dont worry guys, I havent forgotten him…lol. The first overall pick from 2008 is already pencilled in to be the 2nd line center behind all star center Vincent Lecavalier. The question is will he have an immediate impact at the ripe age of 18 like Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner from last year or will he take a while to adapt to the rigours of the NHL. He has been surrounded by plenty of veterans (Gary Roberts = amasing mentor) with the retooling of the Lighting and is in a place where he should be able to succeed. My money is on him succeeding!

Nikolai Kulemin (TOR): The long wait for Leafs fans to finally see a blue chip prospect hit our forward ranks is over. He scored 27 and 21 goals in the past two seasons in the RSL and is ready for the NHL. The scouting report on the kid is that he is a rugged power forward with skill. He is a physical player and is apparently very good at holding onto the puck. With the retooling of the Leafs he will get plenty of playing time under a new coach who isnt afraid to play rookies.

Shawn Matthias (FLA): Scored 2 goals in 4 games last season for the Cats and is expected to make the team since they are lacking in the scoring department due to the Jokinen trade (although that did help the team quite a bit). He is a big kid and a goal scorer. He averaged 35 goals in the past 2 seasons in the OHL and was exceeding the point per game mark by many points.

Kyle Turris (PHO): Big things are expected from this kid who was drafted 3rd overall in 2007. He has been a point per game player at the very least everywhere he has played. He has size, speed and skill and not to mention Gretzky things VERY highly of the kid. Unless something unforseeable happens he will most likely be a Calder candidate, the kid’s gonna be a good one.

TJ Oshie (STL): Hes a smart hockey player known for his speed. He is older then most of the other aforementioned prospects because he spent 3 years in the college ranks but figures to crack his NHL lineup this season. Finalist for the Hobey Baker award last year meaning he is one of the best college players last year.

Blake Wheeler (BOS): Formerly drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, Wheeler decided to not sign with them and become an unrestricted free agent. He is another big body and had very good numbers in college playing along side Phil Kessel. Maybe there was a hidden agenda why he signed in Boston.

Fabian Brunstom (DAL): This undrafted Swedish late bloomer was the center of hockey talk earlier this summer, have you all forgotten about him already? I know i almost did.. Anyways cant wait to see what this 23 year old has got.

Brian Lee (OTT): With the departure of Redden and Mez and Corvo there is a need for offensive defencemen in the Senators system. A former first round pick seems almost pencilled into a lineup that currently only boasts 4 quality NHL dmen (Kuba, Phillips, Volchenkov, Smith). He is almost assured a spot in the lineup.

Karl Alzner (WAS): There was a recent article on that featured Alzner. It was regarding how he is a workout king just like the likes of Roberts and Chelios. If you didnt ALREADY have him pencilled into the Caps lineup that should be enough of a reason as any to have him there. He was captain of his junior AND world junior teams. He is very mobile, confident and is a very good puck carrier. He will rack up assists with goalscoring machine Alex Ovechkin on his team.

Drew Doughty (LAK), Alex Pietrangelo (STL), Zach Bogosian (ATL), Luke Schenn (TOR): We are all familiar with these 4, some will make their clubs some wont. They are all sopposed to be amasing but keep in mind they are only 18. It is hard to play defence in the NHL when you are a teenager so I did not put them in my top prospects list. Just look what happenned to both Johnsons, they are both sopposed to be amasing talents but they did not have dominating performances as of yet. I am sure they will all become amasing talents but as of this year im not so sure.

Honourable mention: Derrick Brassard (CBJ), Kevin Porter (PHO), Micheal Frolik (FLO), Colton Gillies (MIN), Claude Giroux (PHI), Brandon Sutter (CAR), Tuukka Rask (BOS)

I am almost positive Im missing some names so I ask of you HTR crew (that rhymed lol) who do you think will emerge this year as the Calder Champion?? And which rookies will have the largest effect for their respective teams?? Let me know if I missed anyone.


29 Responses to This Years Rookie Crop

  1. mojo19 says:

    Okposo playing on Long Island could be on the top line by mid-season. Might be a good sleeper pick if you're in a pool where you have to take rookies and you miss out on Turris and Brunnstrom and Stamkos etc. I could see Okposo put up around 40 points or so.

  2. leafy says:

    Great article.  It's going to be interesting to follow the Stamkos vs Turris battle.  I think Turris has the edge here because he has that extra year of seasoning.

    As a Leaf fan, I can't wait to see Kulemin.  Let's hope he's not another dud.

  3. nordiques100 says:

    you've definitely included all the favorites.

    stamkos has to be at the top though. he should fit in nicely.

    turris should be a favorite as well.

    jack skille is a bit of a sleeper. he might play on the top line wiht the other 2 youngsters in toews and kane. he could light it up if he made the team in that role.

    nikita filatov is also another darkhorse. he has been cleared to play here and has a great shot to make the jackets.

  4. nordiques100 says:

    he wont be if people put things in perspective.

    there is a feeling among some he is this world class offensive player because he played with malkin.

    i think realistically he is more along the lines of a ales kotalik. can fill in all roles, score like 25 goals, 50 plus points and be a quality 2nd line support scorer.

  5. mojo19 says:

    Hopefully he passes more than Kotalik. Kotalik is a play killer. Keith Hernandez called him a 'chucker'

  6. habswinthecup-again says:

     Max Pacioretty.

  7. KingCanada says:

    Yea he might crack the roster but I doubt he will have much of an impact with the Habs.  The top 2 lines he wont crack unless they decide to spread out the scoring.

    Tanguay, Koivu, Sergei and Andrei Kostitsyn, Plekanec, Kovalev, Higgins and even Latendress will fill out the top 2 lines and most of the 3rd line so play time might be an issue for him.

    But then again he might surprise us all and tear up training camp and find his way onto the 2nd or 3rd line.

  8. KingCanada says:

    Yes i definatly forgot to mention Skille at the very least in "Honourable mention"  but i do like Brouwer more then him.  Brouwer seems like a more complete player that can be placed in all situations from what I have read.

    I didnt mention Filatov because I dont think he is big enough for the league just yet.  The kis is only about 170 pounds at 6'0.  Thats a very skinny kid.  Can you just imagine him standing next to Rob Brind'Amour lol.  The Colombus organisation made a mistake of rushing Brule into the oprganisation when he wasnt big enough.  Look what happenned, a couple of bad injuries that halted his development to a near stop, I dont think they want to make that mistake again.

  9. KingCanada says:

    The notion that people have that Kulemin's numbers were padded by Malkin are FALSE.  Kulemin played with Malkin in 2005/06 where he only had 13 points.  Malkin left for the Penguins that summer.

    Kulemin #s
    2006/07   27g/12a/39p
    2007/08   21g/12a/33p

    So those great numbers that he scored in the RLS where without Malkin.  Malkin also praised him saying that he will be a great player in the NHL, let's hope he's right.  He is scoring 2 points per 3 games roughly and always has more goals then assists.  Im hoping he gets 15-20 goals and a good 40 points.

  10. KingCanada says:

    So far before training camp I think the Calder race is between:

    Steven Stamkos
    Kyle Turris
    Jakub Voracek

    Everyone already has the first 2 picked but I think Voracek will be better then people think.  He is playing on a improved team poised to make their first playoff appearance.  He also has a roster spot to loose playing on one of the 2 first lines.  If he ends up playing with Nash he could rack up several assists due to the all star's goal scoring ability or one time any pass taken from Huselius who is a great passer.

  11. KingCanada says:

    I like Okposo as well, I see him as this year's Peter Mueller.  Great player but on the outside looking in when it comes to the Calder mainly due to his horrible team's play. 

  12. habswinthecup-again says:

     I do not think he will win ROTY but I thought he should be mentioned as potential top rookies in the NHL this season.

  13. pezzz says:

    Mikael Backlund, from Calgary, could surprise. He'll likely play in the minors, but if he cracks the lineup, it's gonna be on the top 2 lines. If the kid ends up playing with Iginla…watch out.

  14. pezzz says:

    oh, yeah, I forgot. great article, keep up the good work.

  15. Kramer says:

    Today is the birthday of a future NHL player who's gonna be drafted in 2026.

  16. habswinthecup-again says:

     He made the team last and then got hurt I believe.

  17. leafy says:

    I hope he's as good as Sergei Berezin in his rookie season.  I always liked Berezin in his Leaf years, even though he never passed. lol

  18. KingCanada says:

    Congrats Kramer, u got urself a newborn baby boy?

  19. pezzz says:

    if you meant last year, he was playing for Vasteras in Sweden and for Sweden at the World Junior Championships. It'll be the 1rst year he plays in North America.

  20. Bure96 says:

    Come on, seriously I just wrote like the exact same article lol

  21. Bure96 says:

    But, it was still a good read. Good work.

  22. KingCanada says:

    A little off topic here…

    If Tuukka Rask makes the Bruins lineup and plays great ill be madd.  The Leafs traded Rask because we had 2 goalie prospects and desperatly needed a starting goalie.  JFJ opted to keep Pogge since he was a year or 2 older.  We already know that the trade of Raycroft/Rask was a HUGE mistake but how much WORSE would it be if Rask makes it to the NHL before Pogge!!

    Thanks for wasting yet another important draft pick JFJ.  If it wasnt for Anton Stralman picked in the 7th round (216th overall) we would have NOTHING to show for the 2005 draft!

    Thats my rant for the day..

  23. habswinthecup-again says:

     K, I must be thinking of someone else.

  24. KingCanada says:

    LOL I know man, when I saw yours posted last night I figured you just beat me to the punch.  But much to my surprise there it is the next morning…haha

    I liked your article too, props bro!

  25. mojo19 says:

    Good rant, truly JFJ is an evil tyrant. If Rask goes on to become a star, Ferguson will always be remembered for that trade.

  26. Bure96 says:

    Thank man.

    I was going to write an article on defensive forwards this time and then rookies lol whatever though, who cares.

  27. Rico420 says:

    Well there is the possibility that Rask won't make it this year because the Bruins have a plethora of goalies up already with Fernandez and Thomas – Rask is a year or two away and well…I'd say he made up for trading Rask by getting Toskala.

    So all is good.

  28. mitchamac says:

    dont forget about the defence ……..
    Phaneuf could have had the calder that year but he was up against ovechkin and crosby………

    i doubt the lafs will play him but schenn is a very good dman that will surprise a lot of people

  29. mitchamac says:

    my bad i should of read more lol all the dman are listed

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