Rookie Tournament results – best fantasy value – Galchenyuk vs. Yakupov, Huberdeau vs. Tarasenko
So it's here. The final matchup of the Cage Match Rookie Tournament is finally upon us. Only two remain. Are they the best rookies? That's debatable but according to you as of right now they are. Only time will tell the rest as we push forward there is still another half of a half-season (which is normally a quarter but not this year) to be played so there is still time for these rookies to make an early impact and to change their narrative. Of course, for the purposes of this tournament time has run out for 14 competitors. Let's see who remains:
#3 Alex Galchenyuk over #1 Nail Yakupov – 64 votes to 49 votes
So this is kind of an upset isn't it? Well not really, Galchenyuk is a huge third seed and this poll was pretty damned close. I don't know that the right guy won here but I also don't know that the wrong guy lost. The comforting thing is that my own indecision here is reflected by the tightness of this poll. It could've gone either way and still could but right now the perception is slightly in favour of Galchenyuk. My only concern is that this may be something of a false result based on the backlash to some unfulfilled hype, the sort of thing that happens when expectations are unfulfilled.
Yakupov's rookie season could easily be deemed a failure. He's skating for the forever dwindling Oilers and doing so at a not ground-breaking scoring pace. Contrast that with Galchenyuk, who is skating for the upstart Canadiens and surpassed the expectations of many simply by making the NHL roster. The reality is that these were the best two forwards in their draft class and had Galchenyuk not been injured last season he could have swung the hype machine in his favour by earning the top draft spot in 2012 and proving that he was every bit as ready for NHL action as he so clearly is now. There is also the fact that at the time of writing this both Yakupov and Galchenyuk have scored exactly 13 points in exactly 13 games. They are in essence tied. Has one really been more impressive than the other? By my count Galchenyuk has only been more impressive relative to his expectations coming in.
I do think there is merit in voting for the guy who exceeds your expectations rather than the one who disappoints you but remember that