It's the best time of year!
As we continue ‘Fantasy Week’ here at RLD, we take a look at five rookies that should make an impact in fantasy leagues this season.
1. Tyler Ennis
09/10 Stats: 10 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 Pts, -1
Buffalo’s first-round pick from 2008 had an impressive cup of coffee late in the year, tallying 9 points in 10 games, along with a decent postseason debut. Ennis has a bright future in this league, and will get an opportunity to play in the Sabres’ top-six in 2010/11 (probably at wing). Given Tim Connolly’s inability to stay healthy on a year-to-year basis, though, Ennis could see some time as the team’s number two pivot at some point. He’ll eventually be an 80-point producer, but 60 could be his max this year. But what more would you want from a rookie?
2. Jordan Eberle
09/10 Stats: 57 GP, 50 G, 56 A, 106 Pts, +8 (WHL)
Taylor Hall shouldn’t be the first Oilers rookie you draft… it’s this guy. Eberle’s ceiling is huge, and he has produced at every level before the NHL (including 14 points in 11 AHL games). Eberle and Hall – who are expected to be linemates in 10/11 – could be that next great young combo that we’ve seen elsewhere around the league recently (Crosby/Malkin, Toews/Kane, etc). Eberle’s goal-scoring touch could net him 25-30 goals, but I think he will struggle in other areas. 2011/12 will be his big coming-out party. I’d even take him over Ennis in a keeper league.
3. P.K. Subban
09/10 Stats: 2 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, +1
Similarly to Ennis, ‘Little Bird’s brief debut in the playoffs (and just prior) raised a lot of eyebrows. Subban’s maturity on the blueline at his age (21) was astounding, especially under the playoff microscope in Montreal. Everyone you talk to loves this kid, and his potential is through the roof. Subban's fantasy value this season will probably depend on the amount of power play time he sees… notably with the first unit. 40-45 points is a fair expectation, and that number could grow if Andrei Markov doesn’t recover from injury by the start of the year.
4. Jonathan Bernier
09/10 Stats: 3 GP, 3-0-0, 1.30 GAA, .957 SV%
Give him until the New Year; no, check that… give Bernier two months before he begins getting starts on a regular basis in Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick won’t lose the job; Bernier will steal it. I saw him shutout a hot Nashville team in late March, and was amazed how good this kid was. With the Kings, Bernier will undoubtedly rack up the wins – just how many is the question. Don’t forget to give Bernier a look… I’d take him over the likes of Kari Lehtonen, Steve Mason, and maybe even Carey Price. It’s only a matter of time before Bernier becomes a star between the pipes.
5. Taylor Hall
09/10 Stats: 57 GP, 40 G, 66 A, 106 Pts, +46 (OHL)
Every number one pick has their growing pains in their rookie season. Just look at Steven Stamkos, who only tallied 46 points after being the centerpiece of an abundance of hype. Look at what he has become! Taylor Hall can relate to those lofty expectations, and is being counted on to bring the Oilers franchise back to contending status. That won’t be this year, and Hall will go through peaks and valleys. I’d anticipate a 50-point campaign from the rookie sensation, but nothing more.
at 9:00 AM
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