The NHL Rookie Spotlight

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Photo Courtesy: Bleacher Report

In every NHL season, we see classes of rookie players showcase their skills to fans and media alike. This year’s class of rookies have been no different. With so many of them having a terrific season and showing they are going to have bright futures in the game for years to come.

So we’re going to shine the spotlight and highlight some of the rookies that are making headlines in the NHL this season.

We start of course in Toronto, where the Maples Leafs entered the season with so much buzz around Auston Matthews, the #1 Overall Pick in the draft. In his 1st NHL Game versus Ottawa, Matthews had a 4-goal game, What a debut! So far with 2 weeks left in the season, he has lived up to all the buzz.

82% of Matthews’ 35 goals on the season have come at Even-Strength. His 35th goal set a new Maple Leafs franchise record for goals in a season by a rookie held by Wendel Clark. It was a record that stood for 31 years.

Matthews leads all NHL rookies in scoring with 62 points, and in Goals with 35 entering tonight over Patrik Laine, the #2 pick in the draft by the Winnipeg Jets who is 2nd in both points (61) and goals (34) for rookies. Both Matthews and Laine pace this year’s rookie class on the ice and n the headlines.

Photo Courtesy: CBS Sports

But of course, Matthews isn’t the only rookie having a terrific year for the Leafs, they have 5 others that should be identified. The Leafs have 6 rookies in the Top-17 in the league in Rookie scoring, Matthews being the leader of that pack.

The 5 others; William Nylander – who is 3rd in Rookies scoring with 58 points, leads all rookies in Power Play Points with 25. Mitchell Marner – 4th among rookies in points with 57, Leads all rookies in assists with 40, T-7th in Goals with 17. Connor Brown – 18 goals, 15 Assists = 33 points. Nikita Zaitsev also has 33 points (4 G’s – 29 A’s), and lastly Zach Hyman with 28 points (10 Goals – 18 Assists. That’s the Toronto 6 for you.

There are other Rookies around the NHL that are making headlines and having terrific 1st years. So let’s give them some attention, like Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes.

July 8, 2015. Carolina Hurricanes Prospects Development Camp, PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC. Copyright © 2015 Jamie Kellner. All Rights Reserved.

He enters the night tied Zach Werenski of the Blue Jackets for 5th in rookie scoring with 47 points each. The only difference is Aho has 23 goals and 24 assists, while Werenski has 11 goals and 36 assists and leads all rookies in +/- at +21.

Next on our list is Matthew Tkachuk, the #6 pick in the draft, in Calgary. He enters as the 7th leading rookie scorer with 46 points (13 G’s and 33 A’s) just last night had quite a game in penalties. It developed after a rather chippy war of words with Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.

Other rookies that are deserving of attention for their quality of play include; Brady Skjei of the Rangers, Anthony Mantha of the Red Wings, Ryan Hartman of the Blackhawks, Brayden Point in Tampa Bay, Jake Guentzel of the Penguins, Christian Dvorak of the Coyotes. All them are having terrific statistical seasons as they play on in their 1st NHL Seasons.

As I mention there are just too many terrific rookies to touch on every single one of them. Here I just highlight a select number of them but as we have seen from all of them. We all know that the league is in very good hands as these young players grow and mature.


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