2011 NHL Playoffs: The Top 20 Rising Stars

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2011 NHL Playoffs: The Top 20 Rising Stars
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Once the postseason begins, some youngsters hit a playoff wall, while others step up and play like superstars. Some players crumble under the pressure and need the entire offseason to recover their confidence. Others reach new heights and get fast tracked to stardom seemingly overnight.

Either way, the playoffs offer a unique opportunity to gain invaluable experience and accelerate development.

All throughout the NHL season, I have followed the stars of tomorrow. My criteria for these players was two years' experience in the NHL or less than 160 games combined (with minor exceptions). Many players take that next big step in their third year, and they really come into their own. For some it's sooner and for others later, but the development of a star is fascinating to watch.

Without further ado, here are the top 20 rising stars from the remaining playoff teams.

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