Ramblings: Evaluating Rookie Adds, High-Scoring Games (Oct 10)

Ian Gooding


My leaguemates might not all be happy because of my high bids, but I added a cluster of prospects to my auction keeper team over the weekend. I was thrilled to learn that all of my bids for Henri Jokiharju, Juuso Valimaki, Jordan Greenway, and Kristian Vesalainen all went through. Tough problem to have, but now I have to decide which of these prospects I can use this season and which ones I will need to reserve until next year. Having these prospects (especially when I didn’t think I’d land them all) is a nice problem to have, but because of roster space I will only be able to use one of the defensemen and one of the left wingers.

Among the d-men, I’m going with Jokiharju this season. I’ve had my eye on Valimaki for a while, and the fact that he made the Flames only reinforced my decision to add him. The only problem is that Calgary’s top 4 is more solidified than Chicago’s, so I don’t see Valimaki making a major impact this season unless there’s an injury. But the Flames have a couple of solid blueline prospects in the system in Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson.

Jokiharju looks like he could be a top-4 defenseman right away because the competition in Chicago is more wide open. Being paired with Duncan Keith right off the bat has helped, as Jokiharju exploded for five assists over the weekend. He obviously won’t score at that pace, but 30 points is well within reach. Joel Quenneville isn’t easy to impress, but he seems happy with all aspects of Jokiharju’s game (Chicago Tribune), not to mention that he reportedly practiced with the first-unit power play on Monday. The Hawks might be chained to Brent Seabrook for six more seasons and he might still be on your fantasy radar out of habit, but Quenneville has already begun to reduce his minutes (under 20 minutes for all three games so far).

Jokiharju jumps to the front of the line of rookie d-men, but should you drop an established blueliner to pick him up? This is a tricky one. If Jokiharju hits a rookie wall and struggles, then he could be moved into a 5/6 role. Or worse yet, he is made a healthy scratch. If it means dropping a d-man that you had penciled in for 40+ points, I wouldn’t add Jokiharju quite yet. But I’d certainly keep an eye on the situation. More on a couple of those d-men shortly.

I’ve also decided to play Greenway this season and hold Vesalainen for next season. Vesalainen may have been the higher pick, but Greenway was drafted two years ahead of Vesalainen and appears more NHL-ready. Plus like Jokiharju, Greenway appears to potentially hold more opportunity right away. He has slotted in on what appears to be the Wild’s third line along with Charlie Coyle and