We continue our look at the Top 40 rookies in the NHL this up coming season. Here’s Part 1 if you need to catch up.
Top 40 NHL Rooks -PART2 – #21-30
(Accompanied by their 2012-13 stats prediction & Razzball Recommendation for drafting)
#21 Justin Schultz – (EDM D) (76gp/6g/18a/24pts) Edmonton won the battle for Justin Schultz as he ended up heading to Oil Country to play this season, and his presence will be known when he hits the ice in Alberta. Granted he may not live up to the sheer amount of hype that’s surrounded him, he will certainly do his part in contributing to a meager Oiler blueline. Look for Schultz to see time in the top 4 and also on the powerplay, less to start and most likely on the #2 unit, but even at that, there’s enough scoring power to go around in Edmonton with all of their young guns hungry to produce and full of energy.
(Razzball Recommendation: Take a mid-late round flier on Schultz as he could end up becoming a top 2 Oiler dman by mid season if he gets off to a strong start, it’s a risk but one that could pay off.)
#22 Eric Wellwood – (PHI LW) (68gp/12g/9a/21pts) The Flyers just seem to have a constant influx of young talent that keeps streaming through the system and onto the pro roster. Wellwood is another one of those young talents that exemplifies the Flyers brand of hockey as he’s a a solid two way player who’s not afraid to go up against the top guns on the other side of the ice night in and night out. He and Sean Couturier will be a strong compliment to each other and very well could end up being the 2nd PK unit given the pair’s innate ability to shut down top players and minimize scoring chances. Look for Wellwood to shuffle between the 3rd and 4th line this season as he’ll play a shutdown role as well as a power forward role along side sophomore Matt Read.
(Razzball Recommendation: If you’re league counts SH points, he could be worth a late flier given the teammates that surround him and his two-way play.)
#23 Brayden McNabb – (BUF D) (60gp/5g/14a/19pts) With a logjam of D-men in Buffalo with McNabb, Alex Sulzer, Mike Weber & Adam Pardy all looking to snag that 6th and final spot on the depth chart…. It appears as though Brayden McNabb may just step into one of those last spots as he’s continued to grow his game and progress into an all around defender. His size will only help him as the Sabres are not exactly the largest team (Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis anyone?!), and with some refining of his offensive prowess McNabb could land himself a spot on the #2 PP unit as well as a roster spot.
(Razzball Recommendation: Looking for a young d-man to fill out your roster? Take a late flier on McNabb this year as he could be in for a quality season approaching the 20 point threshold, maybe even the 24-30 range if he sticks on the 2nd PP unit and stays out of the penalty box.)
#24 JT Brown – (TB RW) (50gp/8g/11a/19pts) So…. JT Brown is LIGHTNING fast…see what I did there..?! On that note, Steve Yzerman picked up Brown after two seasons at Minny-Duluth and the Tampa GM will look to plug him into a 3rd/4th line role if he does in fact break camp with the Lightning. Both Brown and Cory Conacher will compete for the last few winger spots on the team and it should be interesting to see if Tampa roles with some seasoned vets in the bottom 6 or if they’ll continue their youth movement up front.
(Razzball Recommendation: Could be worth the gamble if he slots in to the top 6 at some point this season for any stretch of time, otherwise his ceiling may be in the 20-30 point range if he’s lucky)
#25 Matt Donovan – (NYI D) (65gp/3g/15a/18pts) A home grown USA boy, Donovan is poised to step into top 6 role on Long Island this fall. Mark Streit is not getting any younger or less brittle for that matter, Lubomir Visnovsky fought a trade to the Islanders and that leaves Andrew MacDonald and Travis Harmonic. Looking at the depth chart, one could assume that with a strong start, Donovan could very well move up into a top 4 slot and onto the 2nd PP unit. He’ll eventually be THE guy on the point along side recently drafted Griffin Reinhart, granted that’ll be 3 seasons from now, but that’s the direction the Islanders should head.
(Razzball Recommendation: Great depth pick on defense with the potential from some points on the powerplay. +/- might break even, but that’s to be expected on Long Island.)
#26 Patrick Maroon – (ANH LW) (63gp/7g/11a/18pts) Going on on a limb here and predicting that Patrick Maroon will stick with the pro club this season as he could be just what they need in a bottom six role. The kid has similarities to Ryan Malone in his Pittsburgh days, where Malone excelled along side top playmakers and goal scorers because he wasn’t hesitant to go in the corners, park himself in front of the net or basically do whatever it took to put the puck in the net. Maroon possesses that ability as well and with the ‘help’ of some injuries or a potential trade, he could see time along side the likes of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and/or Bobby Ryan when the teams needs to shake things up and rattles the cages of the other teams top d-men.
(Razzball Recommendation: Tough call as Maroon may not contribute to the points column right away, but if PIMs are your game, then this kid will fill your void in that department)
#27 Joe Colborne – (TOR C) (24gp/5g/9a/14pts) One thing’s for sure when it comes to Tim Connolly, he won’t last long.. so look for Colborne to move into one of the last 2 Center spots on the roster and contribute from that role until next season when things could open up a little more in Colborne’s favor. He could end up playing on the wing in order to get him on the roster and bruising bodies sooner rather than later with that 6’5″ frame of his.
(Razzball Recommendation: Dual position eligibility alert if Colborne finds himself on the wing to start the year, not guaranteed but it would be an added bonus to snagging a quality young centerman.)
#28 Drew Shore – (FLA C) (24gp/6g/8a/14pts)
Pauly Drew Shore stands to be one of the dark horse sleepers this up coming season after improving with each year in Denver. Shore will be a great compliment to Nick Bjugstad a few years down the road as the two could tear up some defenses with their two way games. This year though, Shore could see time in a checking line role, but he’ll most likely polish up his game a bit more before obtaining a full time spot on Florida’s roster.
(Razzball Recommendation: Stash Shore away if you’ve got the roster spot, otherwise hold off until he sticks with the Panthers for an entire season.)
#29 Andy Miele – (PHX C) (24gp/4g/8a/12pts) The former Hobey Baker award winner will look to utilize his quickness and offensive skill set to make up for his smaller frame. He has a great college resume in which he put up a stellar 71 point season in just 39 games his senior year at Miami, but will his game translate into the pros? His rookie season in the AHL was not something to be ashamed of (54p in 69gp) and he even added AHL All-Star to his resume. The Yotes could look to plug Miele into a 3rd liner role if the opportunity presents itself but that opportunity may not come until 2013-14.
(Razzball Recommendation: Very talented but will see limited action in the NHL this year, hold off until next season.)
#30 Peter Holland – (ANH C) (22gp/5g/7a/12pts) The Ducks certainly have some quality youngsters coming up through the ranks in Anaheim, with names like Devante Smith-Pelly, Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem along with the aforementioned Patrick Maroon. So, that could present a little roadblock for players like Holland who have had success in juniors and even on into the AHL last year (60pts in 71gp). Holland will eventually break camp with the Ducks but it won’t be this season.
(Razzball Recommendation: Look for a few short stints in Anaheim if/when injuries show their ugly face this season, but Holland won’t provide too much in terms of fantasy production this year unfortunately.)