All good things must come to an end as today is the final report of the regular season as today marks the last day of all teams playing and the last you will hear of some of these names as they graduate to second year status next season.
Top 8 Rookie Forwards:
Goals: 40- leads all rookies
Points: 69- leads all rookies
Fun Fact: The last two players to score a high amount of goals on the Leafs include Phil Kessel (37) in 2011-12 & 2013-14 and Mats Sundin (41) in 1996-97 & 2001-02. Matthews has already become a Leafs legend in just his first season.
Fun Fact: Since the current Jets came from the Atlanta Thrashers, Laine technically holds the franchise rookie record for goals at 36. Laine is also the youngest rookie on the top forwards list, with his 19th birthday being 10 days from now (April 19, 1998).
Assists: 42- leads all rookies
Fun Fact: Back in thr summer, there was a huge debate between GM Lou Lamoriello and Coach Mike Babcock on whether Marner would make the roster for the Leafs or go back to juniors for another season. One of the reasons was being his smaller size and the fact that he was thought to be on this year's World Junior team for Canada. Well, he sure proved them wrong and finished third in points for NHL rookies.
Fun Fact: Nylander faced his younger brother, Alexander, last Monday when the Leafs played the Sabres. Nylander grew up as the goalie for his younger brother when they would play hockey together growing up.
Fun Fact: Out of all eight Finnish players to wear a Hurricanes jersey, Aho is ranked sixth and needs 92 more points to catch fifth place. He has ways to go but if he stays with this team for years and keeps up his production, fifth will be easily passed.
Fun Fact: Tkachuk leads all rookies with 105 penalty minutes and is eleventh in the entire league.
Fun Fact: Point is tied for second in the entire league for shootout goals with 5. His shootout percentage is 71.4% and he's scored 2 game-deciding goals.
Fun Fact: Rantanen leads the entire team with 19 goals, a sign that he had the best season over everyone in Colorado.
Top 10 Rookie Defensemen:
Zach Werenski, Columbus (11)
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona (7)
Michael Matheson, Florida (7)
Brandon Carlo, Boston (6)
Esa Lindell, Dallas (6)
Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg (6)
Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia(6)
Brady Skjei, New York (5)
Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto (4)
Troy Stecher, Vancouver (3)
Zach Werenski, Columbus (36)
Brady Skjei, New York (34)
Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto (32)
Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia (22)
Troy Stecher, Vancouver (21)
Derek Forbort, Los Angeles (15)
Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg (14)
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona (13)
Esa Lindell, Dallas (11)
Brandon Carlo, Boston (10)
Michael Matheson, Florida (10)
Zach Werenski, Columbus (47)
Brady Skjei, New York (39)
Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto (36)
Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia (28)
Troy Stecher, Vancouver (24)
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona (20)
Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg (20)
Derek Forbort, Los Angeles (17)
Michael Matheson, Florida (17)
Esa Lindell, Dallas (17)
Zach Werenski, Columbus (+17)
Brady Skjei, New York (+14)
Brandon Montour, Anaheim (+11)
Brandon Carlo, Boston (+10)
Jake Dotchin, Tampa Bay (+10)
Esa Lindell, Dallas (+8)
Derek Forbort, Los Angeles (+7)
Fredrik Claesson, Ottawa (+7)
Markus Nutivaara, Columbus (+7)
Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg (+6)
Who's in the Playoffs?
A look at some of the top rookies who we will continue to watch this year.
Anaheim Ducks: Brandon Montour, D- Montour is one to watch in the playoffs because he has progressed so well at the NHL level after being called up midseason. His ice time has been more important lately as the Ducks suffered injuries on the blue line but he has managed to step up his game along with the other great defensemen left on the team.
Boston Bruins: Brandon Carlo, D- One of the top defenseman on the team may not even be able to play at the beginning of the playoffs. The team is not yet certain about Carlo's injury status but hopefully he can make an appearance for them in the first round.
Calgary Flames: Matthew Tkachuk, LW- Tkachuk has been discussed all season and we already know that he is capable of producing on offense with 48 points this year. Expect Tkachuk to be aggressive during the playoffs because he is the most aggressive in this rookie class. Other teams may target him by forcing him to draw a penalty on himself and hopefully he can avoid that or only do it in situations where he needs to step up for his teammates. He is very exciting to watch because he can be unpredictable.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Zach Werenski, D- The best rookie defenseman is ready to take his +17 and franchise record high rookie points for the Jackets in their third playoff appearance. Werenski has been great for the Jackets defensively and offensively and has been there through it all this season. Expect to see him play solid defense and get his hand in on a goal or two or more.
New York Rangers: Brady Skjei, D- Skjei is hardly talked about but he put up a great season with the Rangers and managed to put his name towards the top on the rookie defensemen lists above. He was very close to tying Werenski's assists and he could have (he once had 3 assists in one game). Skjei will learn from his teammates on how to handle the pressure because he is on an experienced team that even went all the way a few years ago. People will wish they talked more about him once the playoffs begin.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Jake Guentzel, C- Guentzel has been HOT for the Penguins in his last five games to say the least. Guentzel has had at least one point in his last five and has a multipoint streak going for three games. He played only 40 games and managed 33 points already.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner, C- This whole group of rookies makes me so excited for the playoffs because they finally got their team into the postseason again after picking first in the Draft Lottery last season. Marner was a great pick for them in 2015 because he is a fantastic playmaker and can be overlooked due to his smaller size, which is crazy because those who overlook him are missing out on a great player who has so much passion for the game. Marner will be able to spark the bench during the playoffs if there are ever moments of being down in the game and not getting through because his energy will lift his teammates up.
Auston Matthews, C- Matthews is a complete legend already in Toronto with his 40 goal season and will be the offensive spark for the Leafs. Matthews goes big or goes home in games, just watch the Centennial Classic again (unless you are a Wings fan) and then of course his NHL debut. Everything he does is amazing and it is exciting to see what he is doing for Toronto right now after years of disappointment. I really hope he does well in the playoffs and on that bigger stage.
William Nylander, C- Nylander had an offensive awakening in the second half of the season and will continue that into the playoffs. He definitely knows how to set up plays and follow through with others, as we've seen from his Rookie of the Month campaign in March and October. He also was a great pick in 2015 and he got experience playing in the AHL last year to get him ready for his great first NHL season. Nylander will definitely play a good role on offensive and will try to play a part in every goal.
I will definitely miss some of the rookies who are not going to the playoffs but it was a pleasure getting to know them. I hope to keep watching them next year and then get to know next year's class. See you in the playoffs!
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!