Keeper Watch: Another Wave of Rookies

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils

‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every Wednesday, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. We will also focus on young players once considered top prospects. Similarly to our ‘Endorsed Pickups’ I will try not to focus too much on one position, which will leave some noteworthy players off the list.

This edition of Keeper Watch much like last week’s edition will take an extended look at the rookies getting their chance around the league.  Most on this list are recent call ups with some already receiving their demotions.  Still there are some young guys worth looking at in your keeper:

C: Mattias Ritola, Detroit Red Wings – Ritola received a call-up from Grand Rapids on December 27th and coach Mike Babcock almost immediately inserted him on the second line alongside Valtteri Filppula and Drew Miller.  In 32 games in the AHL the 22-year-old scored eight goals and added seven assists a modest total but certainly not lighting the lamp.  At this rate second line seems like an absolute ceiling but you never know the way Detroit develops players.

Prognosis: I would not project more than 30-40 points as a career-high once he lands a full-time gig.

C: Alexandre Bolduc, Vancouver Canucks – In his previous eight games with the Canucks, opponents held Bolduc scoreless.  In fact in 15 career games the 24-year-old registered only one assist with the big club.  In parts of five years in the AHL, Bolduc averaged a mere 32 points so expectations should be tempered.

Prognosis: He may have agitator like potential but with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows already with the club he most likely will fill fourth line minutes.

LW: Troy Bodie, Anaheim Ducks – Bodie received a call to the big team after the demotion of veteran Kyle Calder.  In 32 games with the San Antonio Rampage and Toronto Marlies the 24-year-old potted eight goals and 13 points.  Playing primarily with Matt Beleskey and Todd Marchant the former Oilers draft pick took an unsportsmanlike conduct and 10 minute misconduct totallying 12 PIM.

Prognosis:  An easy grab if you need the penalty minutes, but I would have to imagine better options out there.

RW: Andreas Thuresson, Nashville Predators – Even before the injury to Martin Erat, Thuresson played on the second line with Joel Ward and David Legwand.  Drafted in the 5th Round of the 2007 Draft, the 22-year-old winger only produced two assists through 13 games.  His production in Milwaukee inspires similar confidence but he did contribute 14 goals in 74 games last year.

Prognosis:  Playing with two solid veterans could yield double digit goals but again there are better options.

RW: Scott Parse, Los Angeles Kings – Unlike most promotions, this 25-year-old gets the nod following a painful injury to Justin Williams.  The 25-year-old shows promise playing with Dustin Brown and the now also injured Jarret Stoll.  With 14 points in 29 games with the big club Parse shows more production than most on the list.

Prognosis: His surge could be a product of veteran linemates.  Again, better options out there but Parse actually does produce albeit with a much lower ceiling than the rest.

D: Matthew Corrente, New Jersey Devils – Perhaps the most touted prospect on the list, Corrente remains scoreless in his first eight games.  This promotion comes after Bryce Salvador‘s latest injury but the 21-year-old still sits under Mark Fraser amongst others on the depth chart.  A first round draft pick in 2006, Corrente seems to be overmatched and not ready to date.

Prognosis:  Wait on him.  Although a top prospect on a top team makes sense, the Devils seem likely to bring the kid along slowly.

D: Alexander Sulzer, Nashville Predators –  Sulzer receives the call-up following his selection to represent Team Germany in the Olympics.  In 10 games this year and his 12 career games the 25-year-old registered a scant one assist.  Last year, the rookie registered a solid 34 points in 48 games in the AHL projecting to register 58 points in 82 games.

Prognosis:  At this point the safe rookie pick is Cody Franson.  Sulzer still shows tremendous promise as does the majority of the Nashville blueline.

G: Riku Helenius, Tampa Bay Lighting – Helenius received the call up knowing he would immediately receive a demotion following the return of Antero Niittymaki.  Still the Lightning think highly of the young Finnish netminder, so much so that they selected him 15th overall a mere three years ago.  With two years in the AHL under his belt, we can expect him on the big team following a likely move of one goaltender.

Prognosis:  Not a grab for now, but put him on your next year cheat sheets.

Honorable Mentions: Shawn Matthias, Ryan Keller, Mike Santorelli, Fabian Brunnstrom, Maxime Fortunas

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-Alexander Monaghan
NHLHS Founder

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