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NHL rookie rankings: Bedard lights it up in return

There is seemingly more young talent than ever in the NHL right now, and quite a few of the league's stars have debuted this year.

Each team - and, by extension, each rookie - has under 30 games left in the regular season to make moves both in the standings and the end-of-season awards odds.

There are a few players battling NHL’s Calder Trophy for the Rookie of the Year. Plenty of these youngsters have their fanbases energized for the future, rightfully so. Here are our current rankings of this year’s rookie class.

Read more: 2023/24 Calder Trophy favourites

10. Pavel Mintyukov, Defenseman, Anaheim Ducks

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

45

3

20

23

-10

18:03

Pavel Mintyukov’s four points in his last four games bring him to 23 points on the season. His 20 assists are third most among rookies. He has dazzled with his ability to evade forecheckers, be a one-man breakout, and create chances on a rush. When the Ducks take the next step in their rebuild, Mintyukov will be a significant factor.

9. Samuel Ersson, Goaltender, Philadelphia Flyers

Games Played

Wins

OT/SO Losses

GAA

Save %

31

16

4

2.58

.900

Samuel Ersson has been a revelation for the Flyers this season. Preseason starting goaltender Carter Hart has had a bit of a tumultuous season and Ersson has assumed the number one role.

They were already a solid tandem, but Ersson leads rookie goalies in wins, is tied for the lead in shutouts, is third in save percentage, and is second in goals against. He will be key for the Flyers’ playoff contention down the stretch and could move up on this list as he takes on a larger workload.

8. Pyotr Kochetkov, Goaltender, Carolina Hurricanes

Games Played

Wins

OT/SO Losses

GAA

Save %

29

15

3

2.37

.911

This is another rookie goalie that has assumed number one duties for a team in a playoff position. Pyotr Kochetkov has been fantastic this season. He leads rookie goalies in goals against average, tied for the most shutouts, and is second in both save percentage and wins.

He has outplayed his fellow Hurricanes goalies, but beyond that, has been one of the best goaltenders in the Metropolitan division.

7. Adam Fantilli, Center, Columbus Blue Jackets

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

49

12

15

27

-21

15:43

Adam Fantilli has missed 7 games and counting, unfortunately, due to injury. Despite his missed time, he ranks joint-fourth among rookies in goals scored and joint-fourth among rookies in points scored.

He is sliding down this list due to injury. But after a slower start to the season, he was really adjusting to the NHL game and coming into his own. If he returns and picks up where he left off, Fantilli could move back up this list.

6. Connor Zary, Center, Calgary Flames

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

47

12

15

27

+17

15:28

The Flames are a fringe playoff team and rookie center Connor Zary is a contributing factor. Zary is a top-6 forward and is also on the power play. In addition to being tied for fourth in rookie points and goals, he has an impressive +17 rating.

Granted, plus-minus is not too valuable of a metric. But on an inconsistent team with a negative goal differential on the season, it is a good sign for a young player. Zary will be a very reliable player for this franchise moving forward.

5. Luke Hughes, Defenseman, New Jersey Devils

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

56

8

19

27

-14

21:13

Luke Hughes seemingly gets better game by game. Adjusting to the NHL as a young defenseman is arguably tougher than as a forward. Especially as a more offensive defenseman like Hughes.

He has shown the ability to create and produce offensively. That craft will only be refined as he gets more NHL experience. But he has also grown on the defensive of the puck as well. It will not be long before he contends for the Norris Trophy year over year.

4. Dmitri Voronkov, Left Wing, Columbus Blue Jackets

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

50

15

13

28

+6

13:22

Dmitri Voronkov has taken a bit of a back seat among rookies in terms of recognition. Granted, there was a very hyped fellow rookie on his own team, but this kid is showing he belongs in the conversation for the Calder, as well as the conversation of young, budding NHL stars.

Among rookies, he ranks fourth in points and third in goals. He is in a valuable role as Columbus’ second-line center and second power play center, and has produced as such.

3. Marco Rossi, Center, Minnesota Wild

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

57

17

16

33

+3

16:30

The Wild have an impressive rookie class consisting of Marco Rossi and soon-to-be-discussed Brock Faber. Among Wild forwards, Rossi has been stellar. As a center in both five-on-five and on the power play, he plays an important role every time he steps on the ice which is not easy as a rookie in the NHL.

Rossi has proven to be a responsible 2-way player that can produce to the tune of 17 goals, 16 assists, and a plus-3 rating in 57 games played.

2. Brock Faber, Defenseman, Minnesota Wild

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

57

4

29

33

+2

25:10

As mentioned, Brock Faber is another of two fantastic Minnesota rookies. He also plays an important role as a top defenseman. Faber has asserted himself in a big way on the Wild and among NHL defenseman in general.

Faber leads Wild defenseman in assists, points, and leads the entire team in ice time per game. That is wildly impressive as a rookie defenseman in the NHL. This kid is here to stay for a long time.

1. Connor Bedard, Center, Chicago Blackhawks

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus-Minus

Time on Ice per Game Played

44

17

22

39

-26

19:14

The gap was closed a little bit in Calder odds when Bedard went down with a broken jaw. But now he has returned to the ice and torn it up. Bedard is at nearly a point per game pace and despite fewer games played than several other rookies, leads them comfortably in point production.

Something happens every time he steps on the ice and he also gets better game by game. At the age of 18, Bedard is an impact player in every one of his shifts. He has lived up to the hype and then some. The Calder should be all but a formality.

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