They are some of the best stories in the NHL every year. New players, both young and old, breaking into the league and trying to make their mark. Some of them are offensive wizards who are always setting up plays for scoring big goals. Others are steady defensemen or goaltenders doing their best to shut down the opposing forwards.
This article will examine some of the best rookies in the NHL today while chronicling their stats and achievements so far throughout their fat season in the big leagues.
Max Domi: Forward, Arizona Coyotes
The son of former NHLer, Tie Domi, Max has been an absolute stud so far in his young NHL career. The former London Knights forward is third on the Coyotes in scoring with 31 points and only sits behind Mikkel Boedker and Oliver Ekman-Larsson in that category.
Domi has set the pace for his team this season. He’s the future of the franchise and currently looks to be getting better and better with each passing game. He most recently scored his first career hat trick against the Edmonton Oilers and has helped pace the surging Coyotes who now have points in their last six straight games.
Artemi Panarin: Forward, Chicago Blackhawks
This is one special kid. The young Russian, who is playing in both his first NHL season and the first time in North America, has been a revelation for the Blackhawks. Playing with Patrick Kane has certainly helped the young sniper, but that street goes both ways.
Kane currently has 63 points. Panarin has definitely helped him pad his stats with his slick passing and finishing ability. He currently has 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points which is good for second on the team. This is currently more points than both Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, both proven scoring forwards, have so far this season.
Many point to the fact that Panarin is older and at 24-years-old, it isn’t as difficult for him to adjust and play in the NHL. When I hear that, I look to the example set by Teemu Selanne. Selanne finished his rookie season with 132 points. Despite playing in the Finnish professional league for three years beforehand, he still deserved the Calder as an NHL rookie. Age should not be a huge factor.
Dylan Larkin: Forward, Detroit Red Wings
The third forward to make this list, Larkin, has really made an impression on the Red Wings and the league as a whole. Larkin has been able to achieve something that few Red Wings prospects have been able to do in recent years. He has quickly moved his way up the depth chart after greeting drafted and has fought and secured a regular spot on the roster.
Larkin has 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points in 42 games. He has also received the honour of representing the Detroit Red Wings in the 2015-2016 NHL All-Star game in Nashville. Larkin is the first Detroit rookie since Wings legend, Steve Yzerman, to participate in this year’s tournament.
There are a host of other rookies who have impressed so far this season. The St. Louis Blues found a gem with their big defenseman, Colton Parayko, who is playing a key role and big minutes for the club. The Philadephia Flyers found their own solid scoring blueliner in Shayne Gostisbehere, affectionally nicknamed “ghost” by the Flyers faithful.
Sam Reinhart, Jack Eichel, John Gibson and Mike Condon have also really opened eyes with their spectacular play. The race for the Calder is tough to call each and every year. With so many rookies making huge impacts this year, the race to the finish is sure to be entertaining.