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.