Mikael Granlund was taken ninth overall by the Minnesota Wild in the 2010 NHL draft. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Rookies offer a great way to get an edge in your fantasy league. But outside of drafting the first overall pick, there doesn't seem to be a sure-fire way of knowing whom to target. Even given the upside, it isn't worth taking the chance on a rookie in your fantasy draft until well after the mid-rounds. Since Evgeni Malkin's 85-point season in 2006-07, the better rookies pretty much produce in that 50- to 60-point range.
Here are the 10 best rookies to target in your fantasy draft:
10. Mikhail Grigorenko, Buffalo
The big, skilled pivot was a top three prospect in the 2012 draft, but fell to Buffalo at No. 12 on selection day. Well, 10 teams are kicking themselves now, as Grigorenko dominated the Quebec League, was a force at the WJC and is now putting on a show in training camp.
9. Dougie Hamilton, Boston
For the next couple of years, the 6-foot-5 Hamilton and the 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara will scare the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of opposing forwards in their own end. And they'll light it up at the other end.
8. Justin Schultz, Edmonton
Ridiculously and embarrassingly good in the American League, Schultz will hope to have even half that impact at the highest level. Tremendous upside.
7. Sven Baertschi, Calgary
The Flames need a goal-scoring winger and no prospect has the potential to earn that moniker more than Baertschi. He had 47 goals in 69 regular season and playoff contests to end his Western League career and started strong in the AHL this year. He'll get a long look in the top six.
6. Jakob Silfverberg, Ottawa
The reining MVP of the Swedish Elite League has 25 points in his past 24 AHL games. I'm betting those are his last AHL games, period, as he makes the big club here and now.
5. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis
Dazzling winger with elite hockey sense, he is the game-breaker the Blues lack on the wing. You say this team is just a bunch of 55-point guys? Tarasenko begs to differ.
4. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida
Penciled in on the second line in Florida, Huberdeau is currently centering Peter Mueller and training camp tryout Alex Kovalev. If the line stays together, it’s a nice blend of skill and experience.
3. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal
Probably the best all-around rookie in the class, Galchenyuk does a bit of everything at a high level. That should translate into points coming early and often, as he earns the coach's trust in all situations.
2. Nail Yakupov, Edmonton
The top pick in the draft is always going to be a Calder favorite and the first rookie to go in your draft. The problem is, they often get selected too early. Although Yakupov will probably be a Top 3 rookie scorer, chances are you can get one of the other two in a much later round.
1. Mikael Granlund, Minnesota
Last year he would have competed in the rookie scoring race. This year he wins it hands down. You saw it here first. Actually, you saw it here 10th - his skill is so obvious that many prognosticators are picking him.
Gustav Nyquist, Detroit - Thanks to Damien Brunner, Nyquist gets another year of seasoning in the AHL. He would have been No. 6 on this list had he been in training camp.
T.J. Brennan, Buffalo - A dark horse to consider. Brennan leads Rochester in scoring - and he's a defenseman. Brennan would have to clear waivers to be sent down, so he's pretty much on the team.
Brendan Smith, Detroit - This is a great pick in roto leagues because if he does little offensively, he'll still provide heavy penalty minutes. So the downside is still pretty good.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.
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