Tyler Seguin, the NHL's second overall pick in the 2010 draft, may have been the Boston rookie fantasy hockey owners watched the most this past season, but smart fantasy hockey owners also did not overlook another Boston rookie, and should not overlook him at fantasy draft time next fall.
While Seguin---just 18 years old when the season started---showed flashes of the great player he likely will become, Brad Marchand, 23, carved out a solid rookie season and showed why he will be a fantasy hockey fixture for years to come. And the diminutive forward has further proved this point under the intense glare of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as well.
Marchand showed he could score at the NHL level with 21 goals (fifth among league rookies) and 41 points (ninth among NHL freshmen), while also excelling in other fantasy hockey categories such as shorthanded goals (five, tied for third-most in the entire NHL) and plus/minus (his +25 was second-best among all rookies). He also has a feisty side to him---which has certainly been in evidence during the playoffs---with his 51 penalty minutes in the regular season likely to be a number on the rise moving forward.
Marchand proved himself to be a nice second-tier fantasy hockey option in so many categories this past year, and did so while average just 14 minutes of ice time per game. There's a good chance that number will rise next season, and so, too, should his production, making him more valuable as a mid-draft fantasy hockey pick-up.
In the post-season Marchand has continued to shine---recording eight goals and 15 points while playing all 23 games so far for the Bruins. He is also a +8, and his 28 penalty minutes further illustrates my point from before that there are some extra PIMs in Marchand's future.
Even if the improvements are small next season---say to 25 goals and 50 points and 75 PIM---Marchand shapes up to be a very solid fantasy hockey draft pick.
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