NHL Top 10: Young Guns
The following is a look at the top ten rookies of last season. Every year has a good helping of young talent, but this past season boasted an exceptionally good crop.
Amazing talents at every position marked the NHL this past season, and the very best of the best are featured.
Many of which will take the success they had, and hopefully transfer that into a great career.
10. Claude Giroux
Claude split time last season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Phantoms. He played very well with the Phantoms, averaging over a point a game, which allowed him to get called up to the big leagues.
While playing for the Flyers he averaged a little over a half a point a game. Claude however stepped it up exponentially in the playoffs. In six playoff appearances he recorded two goals and three assists.
Claude was an important cog in the Flyers near playoff win against the champion Penguins. Claude brings a good mix of speed and skill, and will be an important piece in the Flyers future.
9. Zach Bogosian
Although he may be a relative unknown Zach had a good year last season with the Atlanta Thrashers.
The third overall selection for the 2008 draft had a slightly injury shortened season after going awkwardly into the boards earlier on.
When he came back however it appeared he had no ill effects.
Recording nine goals and 10 assists on the back end, he was one of the better defensemen the Thrashers had. On a rather lacklustre team, Zach managed a strong +11.
What really vaulted him within the top 10 is his work ethic. Living in Massena New York, Zach spent hours a day driving up to Ottawa Ontario to train.
This made him easily the most physically fit player at the combine last year. This kind of dedication is something every team needs, and is why he sits at No. 9.
8. T.J. Oshie
Another highly underrated prospect was St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie. Oshie in 57 games with the Blues, accumulated nearly 40 points. Oshie is a very creative player, and has amazing hands.
To compliment this he also has a knack for the physical end of the game. Oshie can beat you with his hands, and can run right through you if he doesn't, which slots him in at No. 8.
7. Steven Stamkos
Seen Stamkos? Steven Stamkos had a lot of hype coming into the 08/09 campaign, and did not entirely live up to it.
An abysmal start to the season lead many to believe that he was not all he was cracked up to be.
Luckily he did step up his game, and in fact ended having a decent year. Stamkos topped the 20 goal mark, and collected 23 assists.
Karma is on his side, as mentor Vincent Lecavalier had a less then stellar rookie campaign as well.
Steven Stamkos is possibly the most creative player in the NHL today. A very slick skater, and a very sharp mind, make a very dangerous player. Stamkos will live up to the hype just give him some time.
6. Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne unfortunately spent the season in the shadow of Steve Mason, and really didn't get the attention that he truely deserved.
After taking over the reigns as starting goalie of the Nashville Predators, Rinne had an amazing year.
Collecting 29 wins (seven of which were shutouts), and managing a .916 save percentage, Rinne left no doubt in the minds of Nashville fans that he is a bona fide No. 1.
5. Luke Schenn
The Toronto Maple Leafs got a lot more then they bargained for when they drafted Luke Schenn in to the organization. In his first year, Schenn stepped up, and in fact was the best player the Leafs had.
Although he did not produce many points that was not his role. Schenn is a stay-at-home blue liner. He rarely makes mistakes, and is a punishing hitter.
What more can you ask for? This guy will be a stalwart for the Buds for years to come.
4. Kris Versteeg
One of the three calder cup finalists, Kris Versteeg was second in rookie scoring for the league, and was a pivitol part of the Chicago Blackhawks deep playoff run.
Versteeg collected 53 points in 78 games with the Hawks, and had a very good showing in the playoffs scoring 12 points in 17 playoff contests.
Versteeg is rather small, but he can use his relatively small stature to his advantage. A smooth skater, with a nose for the net. A lot of potential resides in this Hawk.
3. Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty came ever so close to being a finalist for the Calder Trophy, and many felt that he should have slipped in ahead of Kris Versteeg.
The second overall selection of the Los Angeles Kings proved why he was drafted so high.
Doughty was the best defensemen the Kings had last year. With the skills he has he will be for a while. Doughty has good defensive awareness, good speed, a good eye for the net, and is one not to shy away from the physical aspects of the game.
He is one of those rarities that can strip you of the puck then blow down the ice past everyone, and put one in the back of the net.
Bobby Orr's name come to mind when I think of Drew Doughty.
2. Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan was a close runner-up for the Calder trophy this past season. Easily the best rookie forward in the league.
The Ducks did a good thing letting him hone his skills in the AHL for a couple years, as it has worked wonders.
Ryan is one of the premier power forwards in the NHL. Very strong very physical, and even has a little finesse.
Ryan broke the 30 goal mark, and nearly broke the 60 point mark. Anaheim has a real winner in Bobby Ryan.
1. Steve Mason
What is there to say about Steve Mason that hasn't already been said. Mason was the rookie of the year winner, and a runner up for goaltender of the year as well.
Mason recorded the most shutouts in the league with 10, and he led the charge for the Blue Jackets all the way to their first-ever Stanley Cup playoff appearance. I could continue, but it would last for days.
Mason is the real deal, and will be one of the best, if not the best goalie in the league at some point in his career.
The following had exceptional years, but unfortunately just missed out on the top ten:
Next week's edition of the top ten will feature the top sleeper teams for next season.