The NHL playoffs, complete with broadened national media coverage and spiked fan interest, have hardly ever failed to introduce the league’s collective fanbase to a couple of new faces.
Since the NHL’s return from the 2004-05 season that never was, every Stanley Cup playoff has yielded a couple of can’t-miss impact rookies, even those whose teams did not reach the halfway mark of the tournament.
In 2006, it was Ryan Getzlaf and Jason Pominville having their impact captured for more than just their local viewers. In 2007, it was Valtteri Filppula and Dustin Penner.
The 2008 and 2009 playoffs saw the first mentions of Nicklas Backstrom and Bobby Ryan, their names sticking with more fans thereafter. The same could be said of P.K. Subban and Ville Leino in 2010, Brad Marchand and Logan Couture in 2011 and Braden Holtby and Adam Henrique a year ago.
Will anybody join that list in 2013?
Among the rookies on teams who are currently in the playoff picture and likely to stay there, here are the six best bets to make a substantial contribution in the postseason, whether it is for one round or four.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this report were found via NHL.com.