When the Stanley Cup playoffs roll around, players are fighting for more than getting their team into the next round. Several players may be playing their hearts out to earn a new contract or a spot on a top line.
But some players are playing for a spot on a team of the future. They are hoping to make a strong impression on the coaching staff and their team leaders. This group of players, of course, is made up of NHL rookies who are getting their first taste of the chase for the Cup.
Not all rookies get a chance to play in the playoffs. On some squads, they practice with the team but are usually sent to the press box to watch the game from above.
However, the players in this slideshow are fortunate. They are given game action and sometimes, major responsibilities.
Here are the top performing rookies to date in the NHL playoffs. All statistics are as of the end of games on Sunday, May 8.