Time for our weekly segment that takes a look at the movers and shakers in this year's Freshman Class.
James van Riemsdyk (RW), PHI - 10GP, 2G, 11A, 13 PTS
We have a new leader in the Rookie scoring race as JVR put up 6 points over his past 3 games. While he is averaging a mere 13:01 a game, the Flyers are ensuring that when he is out there, he has some skill to play with. A natural goal-scorer, JVR should start finishing more as his confidence grows.
JVR is having a very productive start to his career and his ice-time should gradually grow as the season progresses. That said, this is a talented team that is fighting some injuries. Expect his production to slow down as he hits a wall or two throughout the year. He should finish near 60 points and have a strong shot at the Calder.
Semyon Varlamov (G), WSH - 5GS, 5W, 3.20GAA, .895SV%
Varlamov is a perfect 5-0 to start the year, but his peripheral numbers leave much to be desired. After an outstanding stretch in last year's playoff run, Varlamov was one of the most hyped picks at fantasy drafts this September. Expected to assume the #1 job in Washington for the next decade, Coach Bruce Boudreau broke camp by stating he would split starts with Varlamov and incumbent Jose Theodore. In fact Theodore started the first game and had been the better goalie up until last week.
Look for Varlamov to slowly grab more starts and his numbers should improve - slightly. He will finish the year with a ton of wins but don't expect great GAA and SV% numbers with that suspect Caps' defence. Owners invested too much in Varlmov at the draft so they won't be selling anytime soon.
Tom Wandell (C), DAL - 14GP, 2G, 4A, 6PTS
Wandell has emerged over the past week with 3 points in his past 2 games - including playing a career-high 19:23 against the Panthers. The Swedish Centre is developing nice chemistry with hyped phenom Fabian Brunnstrum on the Stars 3rd line. Wandell was a late pick in the 05' Draft and put up 41 points in the SEL last year. He is averaging 15:19 a game and the Stars coaching staff are impressed with his overall game.
Keep an eye on Wandell. No one in your league will know him but he could be a valuable depth centre on your fantasy squad with decent upside - a classic late-bloomer.
Artem Anisimov (C), NYR - 15GP, 3G, 4A, 7PTS
Anisimov continues to produce with minimal ice-time - averaging 9:45 a game. Out of the top 10 rookie scorers, Anisimov is averaging at least 3 minutes less of ice-time a game...and he's 7th in scoring by the way. It should be noted that Anisimov played a career-high 16:20 this week against MIN - a game Marian Gaborik missed due to injury.
As we have stated all along, Anisimov will produce with limited minutes but will be the main beneficiary of the first long-term injury to Marian Gaborik. It will happen and when it does, grab Artem before a rival GM does. He should finish with 45+ points.
Jonas Gustavsson (G), TOR - 4GS, 1W, 3.21GAA, .892SV%
OK, the numbers don't look great and the team isn't winning but trust us on this one. "The Monster" has already wrestled the #1 spot away from incumbent Vesa Toskala. Gustavsson seems to be getting more confident with each start and Toronto's D will only get better. He has a huge frame and lightning quick reflexes.The Monster should spend more time in net then out of it this year and challenge Varlamov for top rookie goaltender honours.
Again, this is a buy-low situation. The Leafs are a decent team, despite their horrendous start. They will play .500 hockey the rest of the way and Gustavsson will get the majority of starts. Grab him now and you could have yourself a solid #2 Fantasy Goalie for a cheap price.