NHL Power Rankings: Top 20 Impact Rookies

Eric Holden@EricHoldenContributor IJanuary 17, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: Top 20 Impact Rookies

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    In the NHL, most rookies will face the inevitable growing pains that comes along with feeling your way around the league for the first time. 

    However, there are the select few that can make an impact from the moment they hit the ice in the professional ranks.

    In the 2010-11 season, it seems that more players than usual are candidates to win the coveted Calder Memorial Trophy, the annual award given to the most proficient rookie.

    Here is a look around the league at the first-year players that have been valuable additions to their respective teams.

Logan Couture

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    San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture was named the NHL rookie of the month for December after leading all first-year players with 10 goals and four assists in the final four weeks of 2010. 

    He was also named the Sharks' MVP for December after beginning the month on a ferocious five-game point streak from Dec. 2-9.

Jeff Skinner

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    At just 18 years old, Skinner is the youngest player in the NHL.

    However, his tender age hasn't been an issue, as he leads all rookies in total points with 36. 

    The Carolina Hurricanes have a bright future with this strong lefty pushing the pace on offense. 

Sergei Bobrovsky

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    The Philadelphia Flyers finally have a solid netminder.

    Sergei Bobrovsky leads all rookies with 17 wins and earned the NHL rookie of the month honor for November.

    His stellar play has the Flyers primed to make a run at the Stanley Cup this season.

Corey Crawford

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    The Chicago Blackhawks are the defending Stanley Cup champions.

    Not many fans expected the team to stay in contention for a playoff spot after they were hit by several key injuries earlier in the season.

    Corey Crawford's solid play has kept the team afloat. 

    He leads all rookies with two shutouts and a 2.13 GAA.

Cam Fowler

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    Coming into the season, Fowler was projected to be one of the front-runners to win the Calder Trophy.

    In his rookie year, he has lived up to his reputation as an unselfish player that spreads the puck around the ice. 

    The superb Anaheim Ducks defenseman leads all first-year players with 21 assists.

Brad Marchand

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    Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand has been a gritty offensive force for his team.

    His (+15) plus-minus ratio leads all rookies this season.

    Marchand's pesky style of play has drawn comparisons to Sean Avery. 

Taylor Hall

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    The bottom-dwelling Edmonton Oilers franchise have hopes for a bright future and a nice piece to build around with the crafty Taylor Hall.

    The baby-faced sensation enlivened the suffering fanbase with 27 points this season, including 14 goals.

    Hall is sure to be mentioned amongst the names to potentially win the Calder Trophy.

Derek Stepan

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    20-year old New York Rangers center Derek Stepan has 27 total points this season.

    He ranks fourth amongst all rookies in goals scored (13) and assists (14).

Michal Neuvirth

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    Michal Neuvirth's stellar play has the Washington Capitals in prime position to lock up a playoff spot.

    Neuvirth has an excellent 2.55 GAA and earned 15 wins for his team this season.

Anders Lindback

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    Make no mistake, Anders Lindback has kept the Nashville Predators in the playoff race.

    Rapidly becoming a fan favorite, the rookie sensation has posted a 2.58 GAA and secured 10 wins for his team.

Bryan Bickell

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    Chicago Blachawks winger Bryan Bickell is a major threat on offense.

    He has made an immediate impact in the league, scoring 12 goals and adding 14 assists so far this season.

Tyler Ennis

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    Buffalo Sabres left wing Tyler Ennis brings a lot of energy to the table each and every night.

    Ennis has been one of the only bright spots on a struggling Sabres squad, notching 10 goals and 11 assists in 44 games played.

Michael Grabner

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    While the New York Islanders continue to struggle offensively, Michael Grabner gives them an option on the outside wing.

    Grabner, a perennial scoring threat, has a respectable 14 points in 39 games.

Mattias Tedenby

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    While the New Jersey Devils continue their freefall towards obscurity, right wing sensation Mattias Tedenby is headed in the opposite direction.

    Tedenby has made a name for himself around the league as a potent threat on offense.  The rookie has four goals and five assists in 22 games played this season.

Mikael Backlund

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    While the Calgary Flames continue to retool their roster and dump salary, center Mikael Backlund is poised to become the backbone to help the team return to glory.

    Backlund has four goals and five assists in 37 games played this season.

Mark Letestu

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    While Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the brightest stars for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mark Letestu has been a nice addition to complement the dynamic duo.

    Letestu is a look into the future for the Penguins and one of the reasons why they should remain contenders in the Eastern Conference for many years to come.

    The rookie is putting together a superb season, earning nine goals and 10 assists in 46 games.

Jordan Eberle

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    Right winger Jordan Eberle has been a nice addition to a struggling Edmonton Oilers team.

    The Oilers, mired in last place in the Western Conference, have been boosted by Eberle's strong play.

    The rookie has nine goals and 14 assists in 37 games this season.

John Carlson

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    Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson has made a huge impact for his team since the season began.

    He has appeared in 46 games and earned 19 points, including five goals and 14 assists.

Tyler Seguin

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    Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin has seven goals and nine assists in 42 games played. 

    He was named as one of the players on the 2011 NHL All-Rookie team, scheduled to appear during the skills competition taking place on Jan. 29.

Kevin Shattenkirk

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    The Colorado Avalanche are on the playoff bubble, but they wouldn't been in the race at all without star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

    Shattenkirk has 15 assists and five goals in 33 games played.

    He has made an immediate impact around the league is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Colorado.

    Shattenkirk is scheduled to appear at the skills competition during All-Star weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.