Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
How do you like your rookies?
If you like them fully formed, your vote for the 2016 Calder Trophy probably goes to Artemi Panarin—the 24-year-old Russian who leads all first-year NHL players with 46 points for the Chicago Blackhawks.
If you like them highly touted, you might put your support behind Edmonton's Connor McDavid, who showed great stuff before being knocked out of action with an injury in early November, or the Buffalo Sabres' Jack Eichel, who has picked up 22 of his 34 points in December and January as he establishes himself as a go-to leader on his team.
John Gibson is turning around the Anaheim Ducks with great goaltending. Shayne Gostisbehere is a difference-maker on the blue line for the Philadelphia Flyers.
For my money, Dylan Larkin is the best of the best in an impressive rookie class so far this season. Just 19, Larkin made the Detroit Red Wings re-think their commitment to patient development when he made the big club right out of his first pro training camp. Larkin not only leads his team with 15 goals, but he's also first overall in the entire NHL in plus-minus, at plus-24.
At the All-Star Game, Larkin showed off his great wheels when he broke Mike Gartner's 20-year-old record as the fastest skater, per Shawn Roarke of NHL.com. He's a package of skill, smarts and potential that allows him to play well above his chronological age and is showing all the signs of becoming Detroit's next-great superstar.