It’s almost that time of year again, the kids are off to school, the coffee is flowing and the fantasy hockey drafts are about to be in full swing. Whether the season starts on October 11th or December 11th, fantasy hockey drafts roll on… the delay justs gives fantasy owners more  time to tweak, trade and trash talk with other GMs until the season finally kicks off.

Until the puck is dropped officially, we’ll be here giving you our best recommendations to give you the best chance at winning. You could go out and spend $10 a pop on a fantasy hockey draft guide or what will surely be an outdated fantasy hockey magazine that was printed the first week of July. Instead, stick around and let us do the work for you… all you have to do is fill up that coffee mug and read on my friend.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to preview the top rookies going into the 2012-13 NHL season. This 4-part series will take a look at the top 40 rookies that could play a major role in your championship run. Now, keep in mind that this ‘top 40’ is based solely upon whether or not this player will help you THIS season. We’ll take a look at prospects to stash for a keeper league at a later date, but for now… we present to you the top 40 rookies for the 2012-13 NHL season:

Top 40 NHL Rooks -PART1 – #31-40
(Accompanied by their 2012-13 stats prediction & Razzball Recommendation for drafting)

#31 Ryan Murphy – (CAR D) (22gp/3g/8a/11pts) Personally, I think Murphy is the odd man out in Carolina again this year. Granted last year it was Justin Faulk that overtook his minutes and Murphy went on to put up 54pts in 49 games with Kitchener. But yet again, Murphy appears to be on the outside looking in, which might not be a bad thing for him, he’ll have another year to improve upon is lack of discipline in his own end. Although he is quite offensively skilled, Murphy could stand to gain some composure and patience when breaking out as well as being smarter on the puck which should help his turnover problem. If any one of the top 6 or 7 D in Carolina go down to injury for an extended period of time, look for Murphy to step in and step up, he could easily be a dark horse who could give you 10-16 goals, 18-26 assists if he plays 60+ games.
(Razzball Recommendation: Take a late round flier on him if you’ve got room, otherwise.. wait until he makes the squad fulltime.)

#32 Tomas Tatar – (DET LW) (19gp/7g/4a/11pts) After two full seasons in the AHL, one would think that Tatar would be slated into a top nine role with the pro squad, maybe even a top six role along side of one Detroit’s big guns… *Ehhhaahhhh* try again fella.. Gustav Nyquist appears to have over taken Tatar’s top prospect slotting and until one of them proves otherwise, it could come down to a strong showing out of the gate for whoever gets the top six minutes. My guy feeling is that Tatar spends another year in the AHL, floating back and fourth due to injuries and the normal wear and tear in HockeyTown.
(Razzball Recommendation: Worthy of a  late round flier if you’ve got room, otherwise.. hold off until he makes the squad fulltime.)

#33 Tyler Toffoli – (LA RW) (12gp/7g/3a/10pts) Too much talent at the pro level for the dominant Toffoli to break into the NHL on a full time basis. Injuries may give him an opportunity with a call up and if he ends up sticking, look for an outside shot at 12-16 goals and 26-34 pts.
(Razzball Recommendation: Late round flier worthy, otherwise hold off.)

#34 Mikhail Grigorenko – (BUF C) (9gp/4g/5a/9pts) A lot of predictions have Grigs (new nickname.. not sure if anyone calls him that but who cares ,Grigs it is..) making the team and playing 70+ games in Buffalo this season. I’m not drinking that kool-aid kids… Given his past reputation of dominating on the puck but being lazy at times, that doesn’t help him from the start. With the Sabres depth up the middle and the potential that another year of molding could do for Grigs, I see him getting a trial run but that’s about it for this dude in 2012-13. IF… (and that’s a BIG if…) Grigorenko sticks with the team out of camp and beyond 9 games… look for 70+ games and 11-16g and 26-33pts.
(Razzball Recommendation: Late round flier worthy.. OR you could draft him and name your team the Grig Newton’s..)

#35 Emerson Etem – (ANH RW) (8gp/6g/3a/9pts) 61 goals… 107 points… in 65 games played in 2011-12. And 45g/80p in 65gp the year before last in the WHL. This is Emerson Etem, everyone say hello. The kid boasts a wicked pair of hands, tremendous skill on the puck and a quick release that apparently has caught any goaltender he’s come across, off guard. I personally would love to see Etem get his shot this year in the top six in Anaheim, mold him into a true scorer and a well rounded player. But unless he gets top six minutes, it’ll do him more good having a year in the AHL to transition his dominance to the professional level.
(Razzball Recommendation: Worth a late round flier if he breaks camp with the team and has a shot at top six minutes, otherwise, wait until next season)

#36 Dougie Hamilton – (BOS D) (9gp/2g/6a/8pts) The Bruins are in need of some form of secondary offensive production from their blueline after the loss of Joe Corvo in the off season, if the youngster can get off to a decent start and pick up where he left off last year (as the reigning CHL Defenseman of the Year) there could be a spot for Hamilton on the pro roster and he could break the 30 point mark if given the chance to play a full season at his young age. There will be a fairly short leash as the Bruins don’t want to rush him, but the B’s are in need of another offensive d-man and Hamilton could step into that role if paired with a vet who will help mold Dougie into an all around defenseman.
(Razzball Recommendation: Not a huge fan of young d-man in terms of fantasy production out the gate, hold off until he’s on the roster full time)

#37 Charlie Coyle – (MIN RW) (9gp/4g/3a/7pts) Prospects, prospects and…. MORE prospects.. Minny has the depth in the youth department locked up with youngsters like Zucker, Phillipes, Bulmer, Prosser, (go ahead, grab a drink.. I’ll be here for a while..) Genoway, Larsson, Dumba, Hackett… OK, hope you enjoyed that tasty beverage because Charlie Coyle may just make you raise another glass if he breaks camp with the big boys, which COULD happen but given the depth Minnesota already has up front, I doubt we’ll see Coyle or any of the other prospects with the NHL squad for more than a few games here and there.
(Razzball Recommendation: Hold off until next season)

#38 Christian Thomas – (NYR RW) (9gp/2g/5a/7pts) Could prove to be a worthy commodity a couple years down the line, given his grit and his tenacity. He plays a similar game to his father, Steve Thomas, and given the blood lines you know the potential is there. Look for Thomas to break onto the scene in another season or two.
(Razzball Recommendation: Hold off until next season)

#39 Alex Galchenyuk – (MON C) (9gp/2g/4a/6pts) After an injured shortened 2011-12 season, look for Galchenyuk to be sent back for a little more seasoning in the minors this year.. that is unless Scott Gomez has a horrid year.. which would NEVER happen to a guy who gets paid $5.5mil ($7,357,143 cap hit). Holy hell, let me lace up the skates one more time and I’ll put up better numbers that Gomez did last year (2g/11pts in 38gp).. and we all remember this masterpiece
(Razzball Recommendation: Really like Galchenyuk’s upside but it’s doubtful you’ll see him for more then 6-9 games this season, hold off until next season)

#40 Ryan Strome – (NYI C) (8gp/3g/3a/6pts) At 19 years of age, Strome posted 106 pts and 68 pts in 2010 and 2011 respectively for Niagara of the OHL. His offensive upside is stellar and Strome will be a nice little compliment to go along with Tavares in a couple years, but for now… he’ll tailor his game for another year in the minors before joining the big boys in 2013-14.
(Razzball Recommendation: Hold off until next season)

Honorable Mention:
Carter Ashton (TOR RW)
Mike Connolly (COL C)
Matthew Dumba (MIN D)
Stanislav Galiev (WAS RW)
Hampus Lindholm (ANA D)
Philip McRae (STL C)
Brock Nelson (NYI C)
Griffin Reinhart (NYI D)
Mark Stone (OTT RW)
Jason Zucker (MIN LW)

  1. Cheese says:

    Interesting list. So I take it you assume most of these guys will be rookies next season as well based on their projections. On this list, I see Strome playing the full season with the Isles. He was close to making the squad last year, and I think he sticks around this year. He has nothing left to prove in Junior, and I don’t think he belongs in the AHL.

    Also, on your honourable mentions list, I understand that Mark Stone has put up decent numbers, and especially considering he was a 5th (?) round draft pick, he’s doing very well for himself. Unfortunately, I only see his max upside being that of Tomas Holmstrom. Great for where he was drafted for the Sens, but in terms of fantasy, I don’t see him ever really being too relevant.

    • Frank

      Frank says:

      @Cheeeeeeeeeeese Yes, the bottom tier of the top 40 ‘rookies’ will MOST LIKELY be rookies yet again next season, some may get a full 9 game trial before being sent back to the minors, others.. who knows, they may just stick around all year.
      I would LOVE to see what Strome could do at the NHL level, could you imagine that Isles power play?! Visnovsky/Streit on the points with some combination of Tavares/Moulson/Okposo/Strome up front.. Not to mention throwing Nielsen, Boyes & Grabner into that mix.. that’s a lot of talent to go around on the man advantage.
      As for Stone..he just keeps climbing in the ‘experts’ prospect rankings.. and numbers don’t lie my friend! The kid’s put up 106pts in ’10-’11, 123pts last year in only 66 games played.. and he only missed time because he was off doing something.. oh yes.. scoring some MORE at the WJC for Canada, putting up 10pts in 6gp. Now.. I’m not saying he will or even CAN translate that success to the NHL level.. but with his size and ability, he’s an injured-star away from seeing time with the Sens on more than a trial basis.

  2. Curt says:

    Strome will be on the 3rd line with Josh Bailey.

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