September 30, 2008

GFH '08-09 Season Preview Day 2: Rookies to Watch

We all know about the Stamkos', Bogosian's, Doughty's, and Turris' of the hockey world that might be making a Calder Trophy-worthy impact for their respective NHL teams this season, but what about the rest of the crop? There's plenty of new players around the league that you could be hearing about as the season goes on.

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Shawn Matthias, Florida, F
The Panthers stole the young kid out of Belleville in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi. (How did Ken Holland get ripped off like that?) He's got the size at 6'4, 204lbs to be a quality power-forward. With Ollie Jokinen in Phoenix, Matthias will get his chance at center if he makes the big club. Should Jacques Martin decide to start him in San Antonio, expect him to work his way back to the Panthers quickly.

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Janne Pesonen, Pittsburgh, F
The unknown signing by the Penguins over the summer will likely find himself on the wing on the fourth-line to begin the season. He won the Finnish league scoring title a year ago, so he has the ability to put the puck in the net, it's just that the Pens lineup is pretty crowded. He'll need to stand out and put up points quickly if he wants to move up on Michel Therrien's depth chart.

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Teddy Purcell, Los Angeles, F
Dean Lombardi is looking to his youth for some future success with the Kings. Purcell is part of that group who has the potential to bring some scoring to Staples Center. He was the AHL Rookie of the Year and made the all-star team, which he tallied a hat-trick. He's got the hands and speed to be a successful top six forward, but he'll need to transfer his AHL scoring talents to the NHL.

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Derick Brassard, Columbus, F
A high-valued playmaker, Brassard put up killer numbers in the high-scoring QMJHL with Drummondville. With Ken Hitchcock giving him a look as a first-line center next to Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius, Brassard could speed up his development playing next to those two.

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TJ Oshie, St. Louis, F
Blues fans expect big things from the former North Dakota Fighting Sioux star. He plays a physical game using his 6'4 frame and with low expectations in St. Louis, he could find himself a part of the Calder Trophy race. There's not many scouts who don't believe Oshie won't be a top player in the NHL. Despite a probable high draft pick ahead of them, a productive rookie campaign from Oshie could bring some hope back to the Blues.

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Kevin Porter, Phoenix, F
A quality two-way player, Porter took home the Hobey Baker award as the NCAA's top player last season. He'll be challenging for a spot in the 'Yotes lineup and with the youth movement abound in the desert, Porter could make an impact if given enough ice time.

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Jonathan Ericsson, Detroit, D
A blue-liner with a huge slap shot, Ericsson was with the Red Wings as a black ace last season and saw the Stanley Cup run from the press box. He was the final selection in the 2002 draft and it seems as if Ken Holland and his scouting staff have found another gem. A converted forward, the 24-year old will start the season in the AHL with Grand Rapids, but it's entirely possible we see him on the top six depth chart for the Red Wings defense.

Others to keep an eye on:

Patrick Berglund, F, St. Louis
Kyle Okposo, F, NY Islanders
Erik Ersberg, G, Los Angeles
Jakub Voracek, F, Columbus
Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia
Nikita Filatov, F, Columbus
Fabian Brunnstrom, F, Dallas
Bobby Ryan, F, Anaheim,
Alex Goligoski, D, Pittsburgh


Previously:
Critical NHL Dates
9 Games to Stay Home and Watch


Mario Lemieux Foundation total donation: $220


Ballhype: hype it up!

4 comments:

Eric said...

Sean,

Nice post, but there is one player I would add to the list....

Brett Sterling (Atlanta) -

A total of 168 points the past two years in AHL Chicago, and the AHL rookie of the year two years ago (led the league in goals scored that year). I'm looking for him to make an impact this year in "blueland"

Milton Byron said...

Great info, but Blake Wheeler in Boston could be another too watch, he had 35 points in 44 games last year for the University of Minnesota.

WufPirate said...

Brandon Sutter with Carolina.

Jeremy said...

Purcell might not be the only LA player worthy of that list. Matt Moulson, Oscar Moller and Brian Boyle, as well as Peter Harrold, all figure to get some playing time.