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Who the F is that?... Fantasy Edition

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Get to know me... and some other dudes
Get to know me... and some other dudes

A quick "get to know me" on some of the more unknown & potentially fantasy relevant faces who are new to the NHL this season.  We've broken them into three categories:

1) This won't be the last time you hear about these guys - worth spending the time to get to know these dudes as they could help you down the road.

2) Not much to get excited about - good for them, they made the NHL... but we're not easily impressed. 

3) We hardly knew ya - made the NHL out of training camp but have since been sent to the AHL.

Note: The ranking shown is from our Fantasy Prospect Rankings released in June 2010.

This won't be the last time you hear about these guys...

Mark Letestu, C, PIT (Rank: N/A) - Your surprise early leader in the rookie scoring race (tied with Ennis) with 4+3=7 in his first ten games as he managed to land the plum #2C role with Jordan Staal out and has capitalized so far.  Letestu is a real late bloomer as he played Jr. A hockey until he was 21 before heading to Western Michigan for a nice freshman season with 46 pts in 37 games and signed with the Penguins as a FA.  His rookie pro season was worthless but he's averaged .85 ppg over his last two seasons in the AHL before winning a job with the big club out of training camp.

Matt Taormina, D, NJ (Rank: #134) - We caught wind of this guy last season as he had a come-out-of-nowhere breakout season in the AHL with 50 points in 75 games for the Devils farm team in Lowell.  He was undrafted and unsigned after four years at Providence but the Devils brought him in on an AHL try-out deal and he got himself an NHL contract with that big rookie pro season.  We like the kid and tabbed him as a potential "WTF Pick" in the Breakout Bible, meaning he was a huge longshot but he's obviously got a big fan in John MacLean, who was his coach in Lowell last year, and that's led to him seeing solid ice-time so far (averaging 20:30 with 3:26 on the PP).

Mike Santorelli, C, FLA (Rank: #378) - Scored 30 goals during his final season at Northern Michigan and put up a point-a-game over the past two seasons in the AHL for Nashville's farm team but they didn't have much use for him (he only saw 32 games with the Predators).  So Florida scooped him up this summer and he's been a regular with them so far playing in every game and averaging almost 14 minutes in ice-time.  He's not seeing much time on the PP and the production isn't there yet but he's one to keep an eye on if they continue to give him ice-time.

Andrei Loktionov, C, LA (Rank: #100) - A 5th round pick back in 2008 came to NA that year and fit in well with a talented Windsor team that won the Memorial Cup, thanks to a lot of his help (33 pts in 20 playoff games).  He showed well in the AHL last year with 10+23=33 in 45 games (regular & playoffs) but missed a lot of the season due to a shoulder injury he suffered in his only NHL appearance last year.  He's bounced around the lineup a lot this year and been scratched a few times but the Kings really like this kid so look for him to get some opportunities.

Anders Lindback, G, NSH (Rank: #248) - Only 22 and void of any experience in North America, but after a strong pre-season he won the back-up job in Nashville and after Pekka Rinne went down on opening night, the kid was thrust into action.  He's handled himself admirably as he was 3-0-1 with a 2.55 gaa & .925 sv% through his first five appearances.  We're not blown away by his historical results but does have two solid seasons in the SEL under his belt and we like the fact that Nashville seems to have a real knack for spotting talented goalies. 

Jordan Caron, RW, BOS (Rank: #131) - Didn't put up huge numbers in the Q but combined some goal scoring ability with a big frame and converted that into a 1st round selection by Boston in 2009.  We're surprised he's made the jump straight from Jr. to the NHL but the coaches seem impressed as he's gone from being a healthy scratch on opening night to a regular shift and scoring two goals in six games so far.

Drayson Bowman, LW, CAR (Rank: #60) - We think there's a lot of upside here as Bowman had back-to-back 40 goal seasons in the WHL after getting picked by the Hurricanes in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft.  He disappointed us with only 17+15=32 goals in 56 games in the AHL last year but picked it up with 3+6=9 in eight playoff games.  The kid is a sniper and we'd like to see him get a better opportunity in Carolina as he's only seeing around eight minutes a game right now.

Jake Muzzin, D, LA (Rank: #286) - Signed as a FA by the Kings in January while he was on his way to a big season with 15+52=67 in 64 games for SS Marie of the OHL and was named that league's top dman.  Prior to last year he had never put up much offense so we're a little skeptical but he impressed the Kings enough in training camp to beat out the likes of Hickey, Voynov, Teubert, etc. for a spot on the blueline.  Matt Greene's back and once Doughty gets healthy then he's likely headed to the AHL.

Robin Lehner, G, OTT (Rank: #114) - He's with the team while Leclaire is out and has seen action in two games but isn't expected to be used much.  He's the Senators "Goalie-of-the-Future" but he's only 19, so expectations need to be squashed.   Drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 and was solid in the OHL last year (27 wins, 2.80 & .918 in 47 games for SS Marie) but only has a few games of pro experience under his belt so try to hold your horses.

Not much to get excited about...

Jonas Holos, D, COL (Rank: #365) - The 23-year-old Norwegian comes to NA after two so-so seasons in the SEL where he didn't show a ton of offensive ability.  He sat out the first four games of the year but is logging heavy minutes in the last six (21:22 /gm) as he's currently second in average ice-time among rookies (behind only Subban).

Kyle Wilson, C/LW, CBJ (Rank: N/A) - Drafted in the 9th round by Minnesota back in 2004 and while he had some success in college at Colgate, he ended up catching on with Washington a few years back and was a pretty productive secondary scoring option in Hershey the past few years.  The Jackets must have liked what they saw and signed him as a UFA this summer and he cracked their roster out of training camp.  He was scratched the first five games of the season but has since been seeing a regular shift and has scored in his past two games.  He's a longshot to make himself fantasy relevant but the kid is obviously an overachiever, so we're intrigued to see more of him. 

Dana Tyrell, C/W, TB (Rank: #391) - Tyrell was a good (not great) point producer in the WHL playing on some bad team's in Prince George so we were hoping he'd show what he could do when moving up to the AHL last year but he was pretty underwhelming with less than .50 ppg.  He made the Lightning to start the year and while he's been scratched a few times, he's been slowly working his way up the lineup.

Henrik Karlsson, G, CGY (Rank: #218) - The 26-year-old Swede came to NA this fall after years of experience in Sweden but unfortunately only one of those seasons was as a starter in the SEL.  He was solid with a 2.45 & .914 for Farjestad last year but we'd like to see more data points against top competition before we're going to be sold on this guy.  He likely won't be asked to play too much behind Kiprusoff.

Kyle Clifford, LW, LA (Rank: #427) - It's impressive that the Kings are keeping him around instead of sending him back to Jr. (which could still happen) but it's not because of his offensive ability.  He scored nearly a point-per-game last year in the OHL with a loaded Barrie team but his NHL future is likely as a 3rd/4th line grinding winger.

Bryan Bickell, LW, CHI (Rank: N/A) - A 2nd round pick back in 2004 but Bickell couldn't translate his one big Jr. season (45 goals as a 19-year-old) to the pros as he never put up more than 39 points in an AHL season.  Was basically handed a spot on the Hawks by default due to their cap issues and started strong by playing 19 minutes and scoring on opening night but has since seen his ice-time cut back.  Nothing to see here, move along.

Jake Dowell, C/LW, CHI (Rank: N/A) - We get this guy and Bickell mixed up, both were drafted back in 2004 and neither really did much over the past few seasons in the AHL but they're cheap and that goes a long way with the Hawks this year.  You don't want anything to do with this guy either. 

Philippe Dupuis, C/RW, COL (Rank: N/A) - An older rookie as he's already 25 but he's also likely a lot hungrier than the young guys.  He had a few big scoring seasons in Jr. (108 pts as an overager in the Q) but had only had mild success in the AHL (career .53 ppg over 232 AHL games) so we don't expect much from him at the NHL level... although Colorado has had great success with rookies lately.

We hardly knew ya... 

T.J. Brodie, D, CGY (Rank: #290) - He's a high-scoring dman from the OHL who has some nice upside and he made the Flames out of training camp after scoring four goals in the pre-season but only saw action in three games before the being sent to the AHL. 

Nick Leddy, D, CHI (Rank: #301) - 19-year-old dman was a 1st round pick of Minnesota in 2009 but didn't do much in his freshman season at UofMinn so it was a big surprise that he played 19 minutes for the Hawks on opening night but his ice-time dropped after that and he was sent to the AHL after six games.

Mark Olver, C, COL (Rank: #246) - The leading scorer in the CCHA last year with 49 points in 40 games at Northern Michigan showed enough in training camp to stick with the Avalanche for four games and to start the season and even managed two assists while playing less than 14 minutes in total.  He was sent down to the AHL but we'll be monitoring his progress closely down there. 

Alexander Urbom, D, NJ (Rank: #369) - Big Swedish dman may have just been in the right place at the right time as the Devils needed some cheap talent to fill out their cap-strapped roster... so Urbom started the year in the NHL but was sent to the AHL after six games of limited action.  We don't see a lot of offensive upside here.

Tommy Wingels, C, SJ (Rank: N/A) - Played in the Sharks opener but has been in the AHL ever since.  He was signed as a college FA out of Miami in the spring where he was the conference's best defensive forward... we'll need to see more before getting excited about any offensive potential.