Top 10 fantasy NHL rookie seasons in 2013-14
If you relied on a rookie to help your fantasy team this year, odds are you were pleasantly surprised by what they contributed.
This year’s crop of rookies have shown a lot of promise, and while one guy is going to run away with the Calder, there are a lot of teams who have created a situation where a rookie can have success and build confidence.
The following list is heavy on rookie defencemen, and with good reason. Many of them are getting plenty of quality minutes and are being put in a position to succeed. Four of the top 10 fantasy rookies are defencemen, and that doesn’t include Olli Maatta, Jacob Trouba, Seth Jones or Morgan Rielly.
Just remember, these are the top fantasy rookie seasons this year. There quite likely could be rookies that may have a brighter future, or are better defensively, but this list focuses on the top rookie performances as measured by categories that are commonly used in fantasy hockey.
10. Frederik Andersen
The only goalie to make this list, Andersen is the reason why the Anaheim Ducks felt confident enough to trade away Victor Fasth at the deadline. The 24-year-old has been stellar for the Ducks, and his 16 wins (against just four losses) lead the league for rookie goaltenders. He also has an excellent 2.22 GAA and .925 save percentage.
Poolies will never confuse Lindholm for an offensive powerhouse like Olli Maatta, but the 20-year-old has been a steady rock on the blueline for the Anaheim Ducks. He does have 24 points (tied for fourth for rookie defencemen), and is a plus-24 (which easily tops the rookie dmen list).
It’s amazing Scheifele is having the success that he is considering his linemates. According to Behind the Net, Scheifele is more likely to play with Michael Frolik than he is with Andrew Ladd. And while the 21-year-old does see a lot of ice time with Evander Kane, Kane has yet to have a 60-poin season. Somehow, Scheifele has still scored 13 goals and 34 points. And his team-leading plus-9 is amazing when you consider he’s on a team that has Ondrej Pavelec as its number one goalie.
7. Radko Gudas
Gudas is one of those rookies who won’t be a Calder nominee, but he’s been one of the most valuable rookies in fantasy leagues if you count more than just points. While the 23-year-old may only have two goals and 16 points, Gudas is second among rookies in penalty minutes, and is first in hits and blocked shots.
6. Eric Gelinas
The 22-year-old New Jersey Devil rookie isn’t getting the fanfare as some of his fellow rookies, but Gelinas has quietly put up one of the better rookie fantasy seasons this year. His 26 points is third in the league for rookie defencemen (despite playing only 50 games so far), and his 16 power play points is tied for the lead on the entire Devils roster. His minus-two is the only thing holding his back from a higher rating, but he has been a healthy scratch lately and depending how the rest of the season goes, might fall further back on this list.
The Tampa Bay rookies really stepped up with Steven Stamkos injured, and haven’t slowed down since he’s returned. The 23-year-old leads NHL rookies in shorthanded goals with four and shorthanded points with five, faceoffs won, and is first in forwards for time on ice per game (minimum 30 games).
4. Chris Kreider
It feels like this should be Kreider’s third or fourth season in the league, but because of a lack of regular season games the last few years, Kreider still qualifies as a rookie. While the 22-year-old is not dominating in any scoring category, he’s putting up consistent numbers across the board. His 17 goals is fourth among rookies, and his 35 points has him in fifth spot. He’s also a plus-12 (tied for seventh among rookies), has 70 penalty minutes (fifth), six power play goals (tied for second), 12 power play points (fourth), and 135 hits (tied for fifth). Pretty much, he’s bringing something to the game every night.
3. Ondrej Palat
Palat will end up finishing second in the Calder race, and his season has seen a lot of ups and very little downs. His 44 points is second in the league, and his plus-26 is the best. The 22-year-old has 117 hits (seventh for rookies) and his 53 blocked shots is tops among all rookie forwards. He also leads all rookies with 39 takeaways.
2. Torey Krug
Krug has been one of the biggest surprises this season. He’s been a dominant power play guy, and is one of the main reasons the Bruins are seventh in the league on the power play this season, instead of a bottom-five team like they were last season. The 22-year-old has 14 goals, six of which has come with the man advantage. The six goals has him tied for fourth among all defencemen for power play goals, and his 36 points is tops among all rookie dmen.
Okay, so this was a pretty easy choice. MacKinnon leads all rookies in goals, assists, points, power play goals, game-winning goals and shots. The 18-year-old has been the runaway Calder candidate ever since Tomas Hertl went down with a knee injury in December. MacKinnon looks to be the real deal as he’s not even getting as much ice time as other rookies (his 16:48 average ice time per game is 37th among NHL rookies).
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