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Posted - 12/17/2009 :  15:18:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Every year seems to bring along a fairly impressive crop of fresh new talent into the NHL. 2008-09 was no different with several rookies putting up solid seasons. Bobby Ryan, Kris Versteeg, Mikhail Grabovski, Patrick Berglund, and others gave fantasy owners things to think about as they prepared their draft sheets for the 2009-10 seasons.

Unfortunately history has shown that drafting players in their second year of NHL duty can be a hit-or-miss investment. Let's take a look at how some notable sophomores are faring this year.

Bobby Ryan, F, ANA:
2009/10 vs 2008/09: DOWN

Bobby Ryan isn't exatly off to a bad start as he's tallied 13 goals and 23 points in 31 games this season. He had 31 goals and 57 points in 64 games last year though and many fantasy owners wondered if he could be an 80 point guy this season. He may still score 30 goals but he's playing on a Ducks team that has been inconsistent as a whole in the scoring department in 2010. Ryan will eventually crank things up but for those owners who drafted him high based on potential, the investment is unlikely to pay off this season.


Kris Versteeg, F, CHI:
2008/09 vs 2009/10: EQUAL

Versteeg is clearly a talented player as his 22 goals and 53 points in his rookie campaign suggests. This season he has been inconsistent on a high-powered Blackhawks club and has 9 goals and 17 points in 29 games. He's on about the same pace as he was last year, although the good thing for Versteeg is that he's playing on the Hawks top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Unfortunately, he hasn't look very comfortable there so who knows how long it will continue.


Mikhael Grabovski, F, TOR:
2008/09 vs 2009/10: EQUAL

Grabovski has 20 goals and 48 points in 78 games last season and the enigmatic winger is on place to nearly 60 points in 2009-10. It's a little surprising his goal total hasn't increased much as his 7 goals put him on pace to just 18 this year when many believed he could pot 25. He is on a roll though, with points in his last 5 games and the Leafs seem to be turning things around after their horrendous start to the season.


Patrick Berglund, F, STL:
2008/09 vs 2009/10: DOWN

Put simply, Berglund has been a disappointment to fantasy owners this season. After scoring 21 goals and 47 points in his rookie campaign he has only mustered 3 goals and 3 assists in 26 games in 2009-10. The writing may have been on the wall last year as he faded badly down the stretch. Having played previously in Sweden, Berglund is still adjusting to the NHL grind. He's still one of my favourites to be an NHL star but it appears this year is going to be a learning experience for him.


Steven Stamkos, F, TBL:
2008/09 vs 2009/10: UP

I probably don't need to say much about Stamkos. He had a solid rookie year scoring 23 goals and really came on strong to get to that production. Good things were expected of him but even the most optimisitc probably weren't expecting him to be on pace to 45 goals in his sophomore year. Stamkos has been electric and if all were right in the hockey world he would be on Team Canada's 2010 Olympic team.


James Neal, F, DAL:
2008/09 vs 2009/10: UP

Neal was a bit of a surprise emergence last season despite being a fairly highly touted prospect. His 24 goals and solid 2-way play had Dallas fans thinking he could really be a core player for the team long-term. Neal hasn't disappointed in 2009-10 and is on pace for over 40 goals and 75 points.


T.J. Oshie, F, STL:
2008/09 vs 2009/10: DOWN

Oshie's 39 points last year in just 57 games and veteran-like showing in the playoffs had many fantasy owners expecting a big year from the native of Mount Vernon, Washington. Unfortunately Oshie has struggled a little bit with just 5 goals and 15 points in 26 games this season. Oshie is hopeful of making USA's entry to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver so he's going to have to start finding the twine. Fortunately he has 9 points in his past 12 games and appears to be turning the corner.


Drew Doughty, D, LAK:
2008/09 vs 2009/10: UP

Doughty was quick to adjust to the NHL in his rookie season as he posted a respectable 27 points and more importantly was very solid defensively. 2009-10 is proving to be a huge year for the just-turned-20 year old as he's currently sitting 4th among defensemen in scoring and is on pace for 60 points. Doughty is a stud who should be an NHL all-star for years and years to come.



Ray Irwin writes for www.SchoolYourPool.com, the most complete fantasy hockey advice website on the internet. Featuring player and prospect rankings and interviews, daily starting goalies, buy low/sell high, injury reports, goalie carousel, and lots more...come on over to www.schoolyourpool.com and Get Educated!

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