Gaudreau might be the most well recognized rookie in the NHL. After being dubbed “Johnny Hockey” while with Boston College, Gaudreau has not disappointed in his first professional season. His 64 points tied with Mark Stone on Ottawa for the most points out of any rookie this season. The New Jersey native’s point total was also good for 28th in the league. The Flames have been a streaky team, but Gaudreau is one of their bright spots.
Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman
As great as Andrew Hammond has been, this pair of rookies have been what has led the Senators all season long. Stone tied with Gaudreau, a big name in hockey, with the lead for rookie points with 64. Mike Hoffman led the way with 27 goals. Stone in fact scored twice in Ottawa’s must-win end of the season game against Philadelphia. They are both young, fast, and can score, and will be a huge matchup issue for the Montreal Canadiens.
Forsberg was the rookie everyone was excited about, but like the Nashville Predators, he has been streaky. He still has a case for the Calder, but with the way Gaudreau and Stone played, maybe not any more. At the end of the season Forsberg had an eight point in nine games streak, so it seems he has gotten hot again at the right time.
Hayes isn’t a star like Gaudreau or Forsberg, but he has become a depth player that the New York Rangers can rely on. The 22 year old out of Boston College wasn’t expected to do much this season but he fits in well for the Rangers, the top seed in the playoffs. At 6’5, he’s a physical player with a scoring touch.
There have been times this season where Lee looked as unstoppable as anyone in the NHL. He finished second on the Islanders in scoring and has been a part of the youth movement that was instrumental to the Isles’ success this season. He slumped a little bit around the end of the season but is still a reliable option in Long Island.
This Washington Capitals rookie has gone a bit under the radar this season. The 22 year old took over as a center, a role he had barely played before, and he responded nicely. Kuznetsov isn’t a typical rookie; he’s scored over 150 points in the KHL and is a two time all star over there. If fans and media wonder if rookies can handle the playoffs, Kuznetsov isn’t someone to worry about.
Mrzak came out of nowhere late in the season to take over Jimmy Howard’s role with the Detroit Red Wings. He’s going to start the first game of their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the best scoring teams in the NHL. He closed out the season with a 35 save performance so they are riding the hot hand.
The St. Louis Blues have had a two goaltender system all season, but it is starting to seem like Allen will get the nod in the playoffs. It’s unknown if he will be the one to start, but their other goalie, Brian Elliott, has been slumping. He started four of the last six games and was 4-1-1 in that time.
Hutchinson came out of nowhere this season to become the Winnipeg Jets starting goalie. Though he started off great, he has tapered off at the end of the season. Now he has a very tough matchup with the Anaheim Ducks, one of the top scoring teams in the league.