The early returns
Well, we're a week in, and every team has played at least one game. And after tonight, you can make that two.
Of course, that's nowhere near enough time to draw any real conclusions, but the NHL's ridiculous parity has definitely been on display. Phoenix wins their opener, despite the fact the Coyotes were labelled the league's unanimous bottom feeder, and Columbus completely wipes the floor with the defending champs. The Islanders win a scorefest in Buffalo, Pittsburgh is nearly held off the scoresheet in Carolina, Edmonton downs the Sharks in a shootout, and Washington has a pretty swell showing with Brent Johnson in net in Atlanta.
Here's a look at some of the newcomers making an impact so far:
Matt Niskanen, Dallas: A Calder candidate so far (I kid) with two assists in his first two games, Niskanen was the Stars' first-rounder in 2005 and a top blueliner in the NCAA last season. Dallas has a pretty tough blueline to crack, but he's caught on here as a No. 6.
Andy Greene, New Jersey: Another undrafted defencemen, set to make an impact with the Devils. Greene is leading the pack in terms of ice time for rookies, something that could potentially continue all season given how much he'll be needed. He's small for a defender, but a solid quarterback, and is essentially the Devils' No. 3 on the blueline. He had nearly seven minutes on the power play in the opener.
David Krejci, Boston: The Beantown press have been fairly high on him, and he picked up 17:21 ice time and a minus-2 rating in the opener. Put up 31 goals and 74 points in the AHL last season as a 20-year-old, and is surprisingly seeing power-play time. Then again, Peter Schaefer's on the team's top unit.
Jonathan Bernier, Los Angeles: Had a nice, 26-save debut in England for the Kings and will get the start tonight at home against the Blues. He and Anaheim's Jonas Hiller are the only rookies to start games so far, although Carey Price should join that group shortly.
I haven't been able to see everyone play quite yet, but if you have comments on any of the rookies, I'd be interested to hear who's making an impact — and who's getting shipped out early on.
Ice time leaders among rookies:
- David Krejci, Boston
- Patrick Kane, Chicago
- Martin Hanzal, Phoenix
- Dan Carcillo, Phoenix
- Torrey Mitchell, San Jose - leads rookies with five SOG
- Nicklas Backstrom, Washington
- Andrew Cogliano, Edmonton
- Peter Mueller, Phoenix
- Ryan Callahan, N.Y. Rangers - had goal in opener
- Bryan Little, Atlanta - had goal in opener
- Andy Greene, New Jersey - more than 21 mins in Game 1
- Jack Johnson, Los Angeles - averaging more than 20 mins
- Tobias Enstrom, Atlanta
- Erik Johnson, St. Louis - picked up an assist on the PP
- Kris Russell, Columbus - picked up assist on the PP
- Steve Wagner, St. Louis
- Marc Staal, N.Y. Rangers
- Tom Gilbert, Edmonton - had goal in Game 1
- Matt Niskanen, Dallas - two assists so far
- Mike Lundin, Tampa Bay