The first time a skater experiences the intensity of the Stanley Cup playoffs, it doesn't always work out well.
The top rookie performers this postseason can attest to that.
No, Carl Hagelin did not earn a respectable grade. Yes, Adam Henrique did.
What a difference scoring goals can make.
That's why this compilation includes only skaters who contributed points more than once.
While other rookies, especially guys on first-round exit teams, showed either heroic or hideous efforts, they do not appear here.
Carl Hagelin entered the playoffs with some expectations, joining the New York Rangers' first line.
In the final 14 regular season contests, Hagelin's promotion to the top tier had brought a goal per game for the unit. But once the postseason started, Hagelin lost his edge.
A couple of assists in a 2-1 Game 7 win for the Rangers aside, Hagelin contributed next to nothing in his 17 games. During the season, Hagelin's plus-21 was the best among rookies, but he dropped a minus-three in the playoffs.
In the postseason, Hagelin is obviously still green—not unlike some rookies, but also not on par with some stud newbies.
In their historic run to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Los Angeles Kings have relied on rugged defense from Slava Voynov.
The blueliner has tallied the most time on ice per game of any rookie in the postseason. It has been well spent, as Voynov has played significant shifts while contributing to the team's playoff-low in goals allowed.
Voynov has also added points of his own—in fact, the most by any rookie defenseman.
One of those points, all assists, showed that he can help out in the clutch. Voynov assisted on a game-winning overtime goal that sent the Kings to the finals.
By far the best rookie performance in these Stanley Cup playoffs has been by Adam Henrique.
After an early goal in the crucial Game 7, the forward advanced his team past the first round with a double-overtime wrister past Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore. Henrique then cemented a second-round win with assists on the go-ahead and game-securing goals in the Devils' elimination game over the Philadelphia Flyers.
But he wasn't done.
In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers, Henrique swept a rebound past Vezina Trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist to send New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Coming in as the leading rookie goal-scorer this season, Matt Read didn't keep up the pace in the playoffs.
Read obviously wasn't ready to acclimate to the postseason atmosphere, though he did have flashes of success.
Two consecutive Philadelphia Flyers goals in Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, including the game-winner, were one example. Another was when Read recorded the only goal for the Flyers in a 4-1 Game 2 loss, the first of four to the Devils.
The rest of the time, the winger couldn't make a difference. Despite a top-five plus-minus mark among rookies this season, Read's zero in that category during the playoffs says it all.
After leading Boston College in points this year and then to the NCAA championship a month ago, Chris Kreider was ready to bring some magic to the New York Rangers.
The rookie wing helped account for the game-winning goal in three straight games.
First he used a stop-and-slap shot from mid-range to finish off a three-goal, victory-securing, elimination-avoiding second period by the Rangers.
Then, his score and assist in the span of 90 seconds won Game 1 against the Washington Captials.
The only knocks against Kreider are the minus-four he accumulated and his disappearance at the end of the Eastern Conference finals.
Philladelphia Flyers center Brayden Schenn started the postseason brilliantly.
In his first playoff game, Schenn assisted on the Flyers' first two goals and then tallied the equalizer to capture the first star in a 4-3 overtime victory.
He accounted for one goal and two assists the rest of the series.
Once the Flyers advanced to the second round, he continued the moderate performance, tallying another goal and two assists though fading to the background.
Certainly a bright beginning, but there is room to improve for Schenn.
After how he played in the Western Conference finals, it's easy to think of this rookie wing as the King of Kings.
Dwight King certainly made his mark on the series for the Los Angeles Kings. After 154 shifts and just one goal through the Kings' first nine playoff games, King went off.
He notched four goals in the first three games, outscoring the entire Phoenix Coyotes team and earning him massive praise. In that stretch, he netted two game-winners, as many as fellow rookie studs Adam Henrique and Chris Kreider have this postseason.
King sure hasn't been much of a helper, though, tallying only goals in the playoffs. However, his five are as many as he scored all season.
No one epitomizes a flash in a pan this postseason more than Philadelphia Flyers rookie Sean Couturier.
The center essentially beat the Pittsburgh Penguins single-handedly in Game 2 of their series.
Couturier twice equalized the game. His first came on a sweet rebound with three seconds left in the second period. Then, with 81 seconds gone in the third period, he intercepted a pass off his own faceoff loss and slapped it into the net.
The rookie wasn't done. After a go-ahead goal by Jaromir Jagr, Couturier completed his hat trick and assisted on an empty-netter.
But that was all she wrote. Couturier didn't tally another point in any other playoff game.
Grade: B- (because of an A+ in that one game)
Gabriel Bourque started off with a bang in the first series for the Nashville Predators, and then simmered in the second round.
First, Bourque tipped a slapshot in for a 2-1 lead, and then scooped up a dagger through the crease to score the game-winner in Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings.
The rookie also assisted on the Game 5 winner.
The wing barely contributed in the lost second series, however.
Erik Gustafsson didn't start the playoffs on the ice for the Philadelphia Flyers, but he showed why he should next year.
After replacing injured Nicklas Grossman in Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Gustafsson tallied a point in two of his first three games. He was the only rookie who earned two or more points who played in fewer than 10 contests.
The blueliner also flared his defense, recording a team-high seven blocked shots in the series-clenching win.
Gustafsson earned the second-best plus-minus among newbies, only behind top rookie Adam Henrique.