The 2010 NHL Draft begins on Friday night, and the likely top overall selection will be center Taylor Hall going to the Edmonton Oilers.
So what should fantasy hockey fans expect from Hall?
Hall, 19, is listed at 6'0 and 180 pounds and is a fantastic scorer. With the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL last year, Hall racked up 106 points (40 G, 66 A) in only 57 games. He has good size, plays a two-way game and has shown good leadership at the OHL level, so it's easy for fans of the Oilers and fantasy players to be excited about the rookie.
And why not? In the last few years we've seen rookies like Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos come in and make a major impact on the score sheet immediately. Should fantasy players expect a similar explosion from Hall?
Not so fast.
If you look at the circumstances surrounding Kane and Stamkos when they entered the league, both had a lot of good pieces surrounding them. In Chicago, Kane could defer pressure to veterans Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat, and had another rookie on the roster in Jonathan Toews that was learning the NHL game at the same time. For Stamkos, who joined a roster with former top overall pick Vincent Lacavalier and Martin St. Louis, he had even less pressure to score than Kane did.
Hall will not have the same luxury in Edmonton.
Dustin Penner is the only player on the Oilers' roster that scored more than 42 points last year, and he's the only player on their roster that scored more than 17 goals last year. There is a significant need for talent in Edmonton, and Hall could be thrown into the first quickly.
Something to consider in Edmonton, though, is they have a lot of strong prospects that could be joining Hall in the NHL next year. Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson are both young and have a lot of skill, and Edmonton could have a wonderful group of young forwards coming into their own in the NHL in the next couple years.
Perhaps more appropriate expectations should be for Hall to have a similar season to John Tavares of the New York Islanders.
Tavares, who is physically similar to Hall, put up very similar numbers in the OHL to those of Hall before he was selected with the top overall pick in last year's draft. He jumped into the Islanders' lineup and made an impact quickly, but faded down the stretch last year. He joined an Islanders roster that was similar to the Oilers, and he had a solid rookie campaign. Tavares ended his rookie season with 24 goals and 30 assists while averaging exactly 18:00 minutes of ice time in 82 games.