AHL Watch #2

USA TODAY Sports

Who's up and ready to play? Who's close?

Called up:

Mika Zibanejad, Ottawa Senators

Thanks to a few injuries up front, the Sens look to their 2011 first round pick for some help. Mika's first full pro season isn't exactly off to the way many pundits expected, only putting up 11 points in 23 games, but he's still adjusting to the North American game. He already notched a point in his first NHL game this season and should be used in many offensive situations.

Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild

Wild fans have been waiting for this since the day he was drafted, Brodin joins the big team and looks to be a mainstay if his first three games are any indication. Jonas is mature beyond his years (19) both physically and mentally. Makes smart plays, and already has 2 assists in 3 NHL games. The sky is the limit for Jonas, a must pick-up in keeper leagues.

Emerson Etem, Anaheim Ducks

Similar story to Mika, lots of hype in juniors, but has yet to make his mark in the pro game. The Western Hockey League stand-out, was arguably the best player junior player in the world in 2011/12 posting 107 points in only 65 games. It seems early on that goal scoring is his game, in 40 games on the farm he's potted 12 goals while only assisting on 2. If the Ducks put Emerson on scoring minded lines, and give him additional minutes, a future 30 goal season is a possibility.

Michael Sgarbossa, Colorado Avalanche

The unheralded forward should be given some notice as a player who's average nearly a point per game throughout his entire young career, now he's on verge of playing his first NHL game tonight. A well deserved promotion as Sgarbossa notched 36 points in 38 games with the farm team. The Av's are looking for any positives at this point, and Michael may help the cause, keep an eye on him.

Drew Shore, Florida Panthers

The American is in his first full pro-season, which to his credit has earned himself a promotion to the big team after 30 points in 41 games with San Antonio. Although still point-less through four games, he does all the little things right that coaches love, thus likely receiving more ice-time in the future. Great in the face-off circle, and can take care of his own end. If you're looking for an all-round deep league keeper, you've found it.

Next ones up:

Nino Niederreiter, New York Islanders

It was recently speculated that Nino had asked for a trade out of Long Island, after being unhappy that he wasn't part of the final NHL roster. GM Garth Snow doesn't intend to deal him, so a likely call-up eventually likely. After suffering a disastrous rookie season where he only scored 1 goal in 55 games and a nasty -29 +/- rating, hopefully the memory of last season is far behind him and he can continue off his 36 points in 41 games with Bridgeport.

Bobby Butler, New Jersey Devils

Their was some rumbling that Bobby had been called up this week, but as of this time of writing this article, nothing has been confirmed, the AHL All-Star will eventually get his shot at the pro's, and may even get the nod at a top six forward role.

Richard Panik, Tampa Bay Lightning

He's part of one of the youngest, most exciting squads in the AHL, and unless there are plenty of major injuries, it may be a while until he gets the chance to play his first NHL game. But all signs point to that happening one day. The 21 year old Slovak has found a knack to put the puck in the back of the net, making him a player you should look at stashing for down the road.

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