Who are the best rookies in the NHL playoffs?
When it comes to the NHL playoffs, much of the focus is placed on those experienced superstars who are usually expected to make the difference come the battle for the Stanley Cup. But the postseason is also a great opportunity for those younger players who have impressed throughout the regular season to make a real name for themselves in the Stanley Cup playoffs. There has been no shortage of recent examples of rookie skaters and goaltenders becoming stars during this part of the year.
At this early stage of the playoffs, there have been some standout performances from youngsters. Some of them are now in contention for the Calder Trophy
- the award for the season's best rookie.Scott Darling (Chicago Blackhawks):
After being thrown into the action in place of starter Corey Crawford, Darling has been sensational in the Chicago goal during the early stages of the playoffs. He produced a 42-save performance in the victory over Nashville in Game 1
. Another impressive display in Game 3 only further enhanced the young stopper's reputation and Darling could now be set to play a key role in the Blackhawks' hopes of winning their sixth Stanley Cup.Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators):
One of the three nominations for this year's Calder Trophy, Stone has continued his eye-catching form from the regular season into the playoffs. Stone ended the regular season as the leading scoring rookie in the league with 64 points, made up of 26
goals and 38 assists. He played a crucial role in the franchise getting back into the postseason mix despite slipping 14 points off the pace at one stage of the season. Despite sustaining a wrist injury in Game 1 against Montreal, Stone shook off the problem to produce three assists so far in the playoffs.Michael Ferland (Calgary Flames):
In a destructive five games this postseason, Ferland has recorded 33 hits and played a huge role in the Calgary Flames upsetting the betting odds with the likes of bet365
and dumping out the highly-fancied Vancouver Canucks. But Ferland's game is not about just smashing his opposite number, and the 23-year-old has been integral to the Flames' most productive puck possession line during this postseason. On the back of a productive spell in the AHL with the Abbotsford Heat, Ferland has more than proven he is capable of handling the NHL.Petr Mrazek (Detroit Red Wings):
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock had the choice between the Red Wings' long-time goalie who had struggled during the closing stages of the regular season, or a rookie stopper who has stepped up to the plate during the last few months. The fact Babcock opted for Mrazek says a lot about just how highly the Red Wings rate the young Czech star. His incredible save against Tampa Bay's Brian Boyle was just one of a number of highlight reel stops the youngster has made since establishing himself as a genuine rival to Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson.