5 Prospects to watch this year
This week in The Journey we will look at prospects with potential to make waves this season
It's always a huge question at this time of year, who do I draft from the rookie class? There are numerous answers to that question dependant on the rules of each individual league but here are some guys you should be keeping close tabs on:
Drafted 3rd overall by Tampa in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft
Ranked #65 in Dobber's 'Top 300 Fantasy Hockey Keepers'
Drouin may be one of the most anticipated rookies coming into the league this year. After he was selected in the top three with fellow Halifax Moosehead Nate MacKinnon, many expected him to make his Lightning debut last fall. It didn't happen for the youngster but he did manage to turn in a healthy 108 points in 46 regular season games and a whopping 41 points in 16 playoff games for the Mooseheads. That was actually an improvement on his stellar year prior where he posted 105 points in 49 regular season games and 35 points in 17 playoff games on the way to the Memorial Cup championship.
Drouin slots in fourth on the depth chart at left wing according to Capgeek.com but there is no place for him in the bottom six. Let's be honest he isn't old enough to play in the AHL but a checking role isn't what he is built for. Drouin alongside Stamkos could be deadly but won't likely happen straight out of the gate. He has elite level passing but he has to contend with Valtteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat who should fill the top two left winger roles ahead of young Jon. Palat seems the easy choice to be supplanted by Drouin allowing the latter to slide in beside Tyler Johnson who had a great campaign last season. The only issue is that Palat himself is coming off a great year where he had 59 points in 81 contests. I guess we could always see him center the third line.
No matter how you shake it Drouin will be in a Lightning jersey this season and he should get ample opportunity to take a good run at the Calder trophy won last season by his good friend and former team-mate Nate Mac.
Drouin rips up first round (QMJHL 2014 Playoffs):
Drafted 2nd overall by Florida in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft
Turned 19-years-old on September 2nd 2014.
Ranked #71 in Dobber's 'Top 300 Fantasy Hockey Keepers'
Unlike Drouin, Barkov began his NHL career straight after his selection in June of 2013. He signed a three-year entry-level contract and made the opening night roster for the Panthers. From there on his rookie season could be described as inconsistent. You may expect that from an 18-year-old playing in a man's game but nonetheless the youngster showed flashes of greatness. He went on a tear putting up 12 points in 12 games before being named to the Finnish Olympic roster but really struggled to find his groove. When he did get in his "groove" so did the Panthers as they showed signs of what the future may hold posting a 10-5-1 record in 16 games during Barkov's hot streak in January. At one time he was tied for seventh in rookie scoring just seven points back of the lead.
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