Prospect Ramblings: Rookies in Non-Keeper Pools

Hayden Soboleski


Most of the discussion that happens on this site is directed towards fans playing long-term fantasy hockey – keeper and dynasty leagues that let you draft players that aren't NHL ready yet, and reward you (years down the line) when they are. Knowing what to expect of rookies when they reach their potential is usually the focus rather than their expectations in that draft year. However, there is an enormous amount of fantasy hockey that covers only the upcoming season, and while rookies are obviously a part of this and included, they can make things complicated.



In box pick-em pools (find Dobber's pre-made template here: (, its no fun to only pick from the most elite players. To keep things interesting, you need to include groups of players who are unpredictable or relative unknowns. So, there's usually a grouping or two of rookie players. Be careful when organizing this – because can lead to some drastic complications if some of the rookie options dont survive their first tryout. 


Last season, a few entrants of my personal pool lost serious points because Dylan Strome played only 7 games. Yes, the owners who chose him should have obviously picked Matthews or Laine from the group of rookies I put together, but barring injury or massive breakout, no players in a group should be separated by more than 20 points, so including Strome as an option was a mistake by me. So in box pools this year, I suggesting limiting your rookie selections to the following prospects who are expected by most to play a full season:

– Clayton Keller

– Joel Eriksson Ek

– Tyson Jost

– Nico Hischier

– Charlie McAvoy



The ever-creasing world of daily fantasy sports will take over the hockey universe again in a few weeks, and new players mean no prior knowledge. Many algorithms used by hardcore players to optimize their lineups are based on previous player stats and splits, to have a good idea of who is better at home, on the road, in the afternoon, after an extra rest day, etc. Even fantasy sharks dont have a book on rookies so they instantly become sources of high risk and high reward. When the goal is to pick a prosperous lineup that no one else did, keep an eye on rookies who are sneaking up the lineup right away, and will get unexpectedly big minutes. We will have a better idea of who fits this description after training camp and preseason, but here are a few early options (along with the names above):

– Kyle Connor

– Henrik Haapala

– Brock Boeser

– Josh Ho-Sang

– Nolan Patrick



Websites like host huge weekly contests where users have a limited amount of "cap" to spend on players, all of whom are assigned a value by the website. By picking surprise players valued very low by the site, you save more cap for the superstars. Along with any of the names above, look for these rookies to be dirt-cheap in weekly contests despite the chance to be producers:

– Mathew Barzal

– Colin White

– Spencer Foo

– Christian Fischer

– Thomas Chabot

– Alex Kerfoot



Thank you for reading, and best of luck as training camps start and fantasy fretting over line combinations begin!

Hayden Soboleski







Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Mikulas Hovorka 4.0 5.5
Fabian Lysell 8.5 9.0
Jakub Lauko 6.0 6.0
Matthew Poitras 7.5 7.5
Alexander Nikishin 9.0 9.3
Alexander Rykov 7.0 7.5
Justin Robidas 5.5 4.5
Zion Nybeck 8.0 3.0
David Kase 4.0 6.0
Jacob Julien 6.5 6.0