Rising Stars: 3 Rookies Making a Late-Season Impact in the NHL

Thu, Apr 11, 2024
by CapperTek

With a Calder conversation that was dominated from the very start by Chicago Blackhawks young phenom Connor Bedard, it feels like there hasn’t been quite as much room for other rookies to breathe this season.

While Bedard certainly deserves the praise coming his way with an impressive 59 points over 63 games, plenty of other NHL rookies have also made significant contributions as the season winds down. Some of these standout rookies are always featured on the best online sportsbook for payouts, indicating their impact on the game. Let’s take a look at some of the best rookies in the NHL as we approach the end of the season.

Brock Faber, D, Minnesota Wild

Season Stats:  77 GP, 43 PTS (7 G, 36 AST)

Ask any Wild fan, and they'll tell you that Faber, and not Bedard, should be the frontrunner for the Calder this season. After three excellent seasons at the University of Minnesota, the 45th overall pick of the 2020 NHL draft has burst onto the scene for the Wild this season as the best defenseman, playing a key role for a team that is fighting for a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference.

A high IQ defender who can block shots with the best of them, Faber also contributes effectively up the ice thanks to a playmaking understanding beyond his years. It’s no wonder that the Minnesota Wilds’ coaching staff has trusted their young star from day one. With an average time on ice of over 25 minutes per game, Faber isn’t just the most utilized rookie in hockey, he’s one of the sport’s most essential players, ranking 6th in the NHL in average TOI.

Pyotr Kochetkov, G, Carolina Hurricanes

Season Stats: 21-13-4, 2.37 GAA, .910 SV%

When Freddie Anderson announced in early November that he would be out indefinitely with a concerning blood clotting issue, many worried that the Carolina Hurricanes’ season was over before it began without their star goaltender, especially considering backup Antti Raanta struggled to find any sort of form as his replacement.

Enter Pytor Kochetkov. The young Russian netminder got an initial cup of coffee with the Canes last season, putting up inconsistent but overall promising numbers over a 24-game slate. Starting the year with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, Kochetkov overcame a slow start in 23-24 to cement himself as Carolina’s #1 starter and put up some impressive NHL rookie stats for a goalie.

Currently leading the NHL in goals-against average and sporting a very solid .910 save percentage, Kochetkov’s solid play has been a major reason the Hurricanes are in the hunt for their first Presidents Trophy in franchise history.

Josh Doan, RW, Arizona Coyotes

Season Stats: 6 GP, 6 PTS (3 G, 3 AST)

He might not be anywhere close to the games played requirement to qualify for the Calder Trophy this season, but Josh Doan technically ranks first among NHL rookie scorers on a rate basis.

The son of Arizona Coyotes legend Shane Doan, Josh immediately took after his old man, putting up an impressive six points over his first six games for a team with a promising young forward core. As a tireless two-way winger who knows how to get himself into dangerous positions, Doan is among the NHL’s best in average skating distance per 60 minutes while averaging a point per game through his first six games.

While they’re far out of the playoff race this season, Doan could be one of the leaders of a resurgence in Arizona, as the Coyotes have gone 7-4-0 over their last 11 games.