While most fans were experiencing a post-NBA Draft hangover and noticed little else around the world of sports, on June 25 a number of hockey teams just got a lot better.
On June 25-26, the NHL Draft took place and the future of the league was brought to the forefront.
With struggling teams picking up potential future stars early in the draft, there are a number of players that could make an instant impact upon entering into the league.
Here are the top three impact rookies to watch for the next NHL season.
Taylor Hall—Edmonton Oilers
Taylor Hall has been in the limelight in the hockey world for awhile now.
He was the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick two years ago.
Hall has incredible speed and is, as a result, an elite scorer. He averaged two points a game as a member of Team Canada's World Junior Championship team.
With a good first step, he is a very fluid skater who can beat defenders on a regular basis.
As a new wing for the Edmonton Oilers, who finished with the worst record in the league a year ago and was among the bottom teams on offense as well, Hall should be an instant impact as a scorer.
Will it completely turn around the Oilers' fortunes?
Not likely. Not yet.
But Hall should put up solid numbers right away and could have the Oilers in a good place down the line.
Nino Niederreiter—New York Islanders
The New York Islanders weren't good last year.
But you can't say they were terrible either.
While they finished last in their division, they showed some promise, particularly at home.
Nino Niederreiter will be an addition that can instantly turn this into a winning club.
He is an athlete with size and he uses that size to protect the puck and handle defenders.
According to HockeyProspect.com, he is an intense player who constantly shows a lot of "grit".
For a team that won just 34 games a year ago, grit, tenacity and intensity is at a premium.
In Niederreiter, the Islanders get all three.
He doesn't have quite the natural ability of Hall, but he should have a similar impact on his new team.
Ryan Johansen—Columbus Blue Jackets
A center prospect for the Blue Jackets, Johansen will provide an instant boost to one of the worst scoring teams in the league.
The Blue Jackets managed only 216 goals a season ago and Johansen's size and deceptive speed should help open up more plays.
A big body, Johansen can maneuver in traffic, but he also has the breakaway ability to take on a defender one-on-one.
While he won't have the impact that Hall will for the Oilers, the Blue Jackets should, nonetheless, be better now than they were before the draft.
Johansen is still somewhat of a raw talent, so it's still a stretch to call him an instant impact.
He will, however, bring some abilities and opportunities to the Blue Jackets that they have been lacking in recent years.
I expect him to be a solid fit for the Blue Jackets. Whether the Blue Jackets are a solid fit for him remains to be seen.