By Kevin Sweeney
Making the transition from either college hockey or other professional hockey leagues across the world to the NHL is no easy task, and every year there is a new group of young stars waiting to make a name for themselves. Of all the rookie skaters we have seen so far this year, there have been five that really stand out from the rest:
1. Jonathan Drouin tops this list for a reason and that is because this kid can score. Over the past two seasons in the QMJHL he accumulated 213 points in only 95 games. Drouin is a bit undersized but the upside to having a young skater who can score like that is through the roof.
2. Tanner Pearson is next on the list who has already made a splash in the NHL in last year’s playoffs but is still eligible to be considered a rookie. Pearson won the Stanley Cup last year with the LA Kings is looking to do big things following up last year’s success.
3.The third player on the list is Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is a rookie out of the KHL, a professional league in Russia, and has amounted tremendous stats over the last two years. He is only 22 years old and over his last 175 games in the KHL, he has scored 137 points. The real question comes back to if Kuznetsov can make the transition into the NHL smoothly.
4.The next player is a young man out Boston College named Johnny Gaudreau “Johnny Hockey.” He has been told his whole career that he was too small, standing only 5’8, 160 pounds but has not let this get in his way so far. Gaudreau won the Hoby Baker award in his last year at Boston College and should prove to be a very exciting star to watch in the NHL.
5. John Gibson is the only goalie on the list, but certainly a name that cannot be forgotten. Although Gibson is looking at a backup role in Anaheim, he will see a good portion of games to get a feel for the league. Last year he was able to win 2 games in the playoffs and this young man has a bright future ahead of him.