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The rookie race
No one's quite as streaky as a first-year player.
The long season, in a lot of cases, is something new, even for Canadian junior players, as an 82-game, grinding schedule against the best in the world takes a lot out of any 19- or 20-year-old phenom. Evgeni Malkin hit the wall toward the end of last season, and a few of the up-and-comers are hitting it this year.
Others are finding their game, realizing they can play and dominate at this level.
Here are the five rookie scoring leaders' points per game by month this season:
Oh where, oh where has Patrick Kane gone?
By Dec. 1, he was looking like another of the league's unreal phenoms, but he's slowed considerably recently.
Three others have made pretty remarkable contributions late in the year, as Nicklas Backstrom, Peter Mueller and Sam Gagner have all played bigger roles on their teams as the season has worn on. Expect all three to step up next year as key cogs right from the get-go.
Mueller, especially, looks to be a future star.
The only youngster who's really had any sort of consistency this season of this group is Jonathan Toews, who is a sprained knee and 16 missed games from being the runaway Calder Trophy winner.
The question is, can you still give it to him if he only plays 64 games?