Dreger: Analyzing this year's exceptional crop of NHL rookies

Darren Dreger
10/7/2010 4:13:07 PM
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This season's crop of rookie talent is exceptional.

A blend of forwards, defencemen and goalies will vie for the Calder Trophy, with familiar names and a few surprises considered among our annual Top 10 list.

No. 10: Jeff Skinner

The 18-year-old Carolina forward enjoyed a spectacular training camp. Skinner is considered physically ready for the NHL and will be given tons of playing time to display an offensive talent that saw him score 70 goals in 74 games last season with the OHL's Kitchener Rangers. 

No. 9: Jonathan Bernier

The 22-year-old Los Angeles goaltender may be the best of a strong rookie goalie contingent. Bernier has been brought along slowly and is now challenging Jonathan Quick for the Kings' starting job.

No. 8: Oliver Ekman-Larson

The 19-year-old Swede has enjoyed a strong camp with Phoenix and is expected to earn time with the Coyotes on the power play. Ekman-Larson had 33 points in Sweden's second-best league last year. 

No. 7: John Carlson

The Capitals have a 20-year-old defenceman who knows how to win. Carlson helped the U.S beat Canada at the World Junior Championship and then won a Calder Cup AHL championship with the Hershey Bears.

No. 6: Magnus Paajarvi

Considered the be the most mature of Edmonton's rookie trio, Paajarvi is highly skilled and has no fear going into the tough areas on the ice.  Length of NHL season could wear down the 19-year-old.

No. 5: Tyler Seguin

Boston will experiment with the No. 2 overall draft pick at both centre and the wing. Seguin is exceptionally skilled, but the 18-year-old needs time to work on defensive responsibilities. 

No. 4:  Jordan Eberle

The vision and scoring ability demonstrated at the junior and American Hockey League shows the 20-year-old is ready to be a full-time NHL player.

No. 3: Taylor Hall

Transitioning from CHL superstar to NHL regular has proven difficult for some 18-year-olds. But the two-time Memorial Cup MVP and No. 1 draft pick has the power and immense talent to make the jump with Edmonton.

No. 2: Tyler Ennis

Buffalo's rookie turned 21 on Wednesday. After recording nine points in 10 NHL games last season, it's easy to see why some regard him as a pre-season favourite for rookie of the year.

And finally...No. 1: P.K. Subban (or "Prime Time" as teammate Mike Cammalleri calls him)

The Montreal defenceman tops this year's Top 10 list. Subban replaced the injured Andrei Markov on the Habs' blueline in the postseason and helped Montreal reach the Eastern Conference Final. Subban handled the pressure with poise and an abundance of energy and will be given added responsibilities as a 21-year-old this season.

Darren Dreger


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