2006 fourth overall pick Nicklas Backstrom has eight goals and 25 points in 28 games with the Capitals this season. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Looking through the top 100 NHL scorers this season, a lot of players listed aren’t really a surprise. Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin sit 1-2-3 and will rotate in those positions moving forward.
There are some revelations, though. Simon Gagne, who played only 25 games last season, is sitting fifth, Devin Setoguchi, in his second NHL season, is at 10th and Mikko Koivu of the defensive Minnesota Wild is 13th.
But one item of interest you may not have noticed is the success of the forwards taken in the 2006 draft.
The impact of these kids, only 20 or 21 years old, has been profound. Granted, none of them are among the top 20 in scoring right now, but more than a few of them are well on their way to topping the 60-point plateau.
Boston’s Phil Kessel (selected fifth overall) leads the ’06 pack with 25 points in 27 games and his 17 goals put him on pace for 51 this season.
Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom (taken fourth overall) is tied with Kessel, notching 25 points in 28 games. Considering he started the season with just four points in 12 games, this is quite an improvement.
Atlanta’s Bryan Little (12th overall) is also breaking out this year and is looking at a 69-point season if he continues his current pace. Columbus’ Derick Brassard (sixth overall) is tied for the rookie lead in scoring with 22 points in 26 games.
Jonathan Toews (third overall) has 22 points in 25 games and is already a team captain. Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal (second overall) and Phoenix’s Peter Mueller (eighth overall) each have 15 points.
Twelve of the top 14 draft picks in 2006 were forwards and these seven I’ve mentioned are already making their mark. Three of the remaining five draftees are currently in the NHL and will no doubt make their own mark soon. Kyle Okposo (seventh), James Sheppard (ninth) and Michael Frolik (10th) are currently lacing up for the Islanders, Wild and Panthers. The last two, Jiri Tlusty (13th overall) and Michael Grabner (14th overall), currently play in the American League.
Looking past those picks at the top end of the draft class, you’ll see even more 2006 draftees making an impact.
Boston left winger Milan Lucic was drafted 50th overall and has eight points in his past 10 games, while St. Louis rookie Patrik Berglund (25th overall) has 14 points in his past 12 games to vault him into Calder Trophy contention.
Nikolai Kulemin (44th overall) has been a fixture on a scoring line in Toronto, while Andreas Nodl (39th overall) and Nick Foligno (28th overall) have worked their way into regular roles in Philadelphia and Ottawa.
It’s a remarkable draft for fantasy-worthy forwards and could conceivably go down as the best class in history. Certainly the early impact of this many players is unprecedented…
Farm Report: Philadelphia prospect Claude Giroux began the AHL season slowly with just a pair of points in seven contests, but has since picked it up with 22 in his past 19. The Flyers drafted him 22nd overall in – you guessed it – 2006. Giroux should be on the Philly roster full-time next season… Washington prospect Francois Bouchard has 16 points in his past 15 AHL games. He was drafted 35th overall in, yes, 2006, but is still a couple of years away from the NHL.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the 1st of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.