Predicting the 3 Best NHL Rookies at Each Position for the 2013-14 Season

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Predicting the 3 Best NHL Rookies at Each Position for the 2013-14 Season
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Trying to figure out which teen-aged rookie is going to have an outstanding year can be a lot like trying predict which sports team Justin Bieber will be "repping" next week. It's unpredictable and unscientific at best.

Still, we can examine the elements that allow a young player to succeed and try to determine who's going to be excellent and who will end up back in the minors. 

The opportunity to be extraordinary is paramount in these matters. Will the young player even have a chance to crack the roster? And if he does, will he be playing in a top-six role as a forward or top-two pairing as a defenseman?

All the talent in the world won't do you any good when you're stuck behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the depth chart. Just ask Jordan Staal.

On top of the base element of opportunity, a player must also possess an abundance of maturity to deal with the rigors of an 82-game NHL schedule. Time needs to be put in at the gym. There are tapes to watch and skills to hone.

All while dealing with suddenly becoming a wealthy professional athlete—most of the time before their 21st birthday even rolls around.

Being an outstanding player in the first place doesn't hurt either, but that's only one step toward becoming an above-average NHL contributor.

It's easy to look out on the ice and just see a name and a number and a stat line, but a lot of little details add up for guys that manage to snag the Calder Trophy during their first year of competition.

For the sake of this slideshow, the baseline definition of a rookie is a player who has only played 25 games in the NHL, but there's a little wiggle room there. We reserve the right to "push it" if the player is only a few contests over this limit.

Also, it's possible that a number of the forwards end up playing different positions. A center could turn into a winger after a training camp battle shakes down in a particular way. If a guy has been used at and listed as a particular position, we'll slot him in there if we see fit.


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