Advertisement

NHL Fantasy: Prospects Watch

Let's try something new here: some NHL fantasy. Like it? Hate it? Want to see more or less of it? Shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

For now, with NHL fantasy drafts rapidly approaching (and underway), let's take a look at some rookies who should make a fantasy impact this season:

Advertisement

Nicklas Backstrom, C (WAS): Backstrom, a talented center, will be playing along side either Alexander Semin on the second line or Alexander Ovechkin on the top line. Either way, he's going to rack up a lot of points playing next to both of those snipers, and should be the early Rookie of the Year candidate. He could have played last season, but the Washington Capitals were extra patient with his development. He should be ready to go and ready to make an impact this year.

Patrick Kane, W (CHI): Selected first overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Kane will have a tough time making a Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin-type impact. But he is a skilled scorer on a team that doesn't have high expectations for this season. Keep your projections low, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Kane will be a contributor this year. The Chicago Blackhawks might keep him on the team, rather than sending him down, because they need to sell seats and he's a good draw.

Jonathan Toews, C (CHI): Toews has the potential to make a much stronger fantasy impact for the Blackhawks, simply because he's not so raw. In keeper leagues, Toews is a must, but even in regular leagues, expect Toews to be a factor. He should make the top two lines as the coaching staff keeps raving about him.

Carey Price, G (MTL): Of all of the rookie goaltenders, Price probably has the best shot to make an impact, but it might not be much of one to begin with. The Montreal Canadiens' goaltending situation is convoluted as Cristobal Huet and Jaroslav Halak are also in the mix. But Price had an outstanding developmental season last year, and since the Habs are going through a youth movement everywhere else, it only makes sense for him to crack the lineup at some point. Price could provide the spark at the back end that gives this young team some confidence to make a playoff run.

Peter Mueller, C (PHX): The Phoenix Coyotes have been a decrepit organization so it is hard to trust them any time they are high on a prospect, but if you have to put faith in one for fantasy, Mueller might be your guy. He'll bang along the boards and has more quickness than speed, but the bottom line with Mueller is that he is going to get a ton of playing time. There aren't many other scoring options in Phoenix, which makes Mueller a person of interest.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are chalk full of prospects, but it is difficult to differentiate who is ready and who will get minutes. Sam Gagner was outstanding in the Canada-Russia Super Series with 15 points in eight games. Andrew Cogliano, a 2005 first-round pick, has had a good preseason so far and is making a push. Robbie Schremp is a deep sleeper, mostly because he is recovering from an MCL and quad injuries, but is possibly the most NHL-ready prospect the Oilers have. Kyle Brodziak and Robert Nilsson are other prospects that are jockeying for time.

Advertisement
Advertisement