NHL.com has added a new wrinkle this season adding our very own All-Rookie Team to honor the best first-year player at each position at the midway point of the 2011-12 campaign as part of our Trophy Tracker package, which appears four times a season.
Much like in seasons past, the NHL has once again been blessed with a tremendous rookie class, led by Edmonton Oilers
center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
. The No. 1 selection at the 2011 NHL Draft is currently out with a shoulder injury, but he still leads all rookies in scoring.
Without further ado, here is NHL.com's All-Rookie Team at the midway point of the season:
G -- Jhonas Enroth, Buffalo:
The Sabres' netminder would probably have more than 8 wins if the players in front of him provided more offense, but Enroth's numbers are solid nonetheless. In 20 appearances this season, the 23-year-old is 8-7-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. Enroth is winless in his last six starts, but he's allowed fewer than three goals three times during that span.
D -- Adam Larsson, New Jersey:
Defense - NJD
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 13
SOG: 43 | +/-: -9
We all knew the Devils got a good one when they selected this Swedish defenseman with the fourth pick at last June's NHL Draft, and Larsson has been as advertised. Despite his young age (19), Larsson plays in all situations and hasn't looked out of place. Averaging almost 22 minutes per game, Larsson is 2-11-13 in 39 contests.
D -- Marc-Andre Gragnani, Buffalo:
Puzzling to see how the Sabres are struggling when you consider their young talent, but this 24-year-old Montreal native is hardly to blame. A third-round pick in 2005 (No. 87), Gragnani has finally established himself as an NHL player after spending three seasons with the AHL's Portland Pirates. In 35 games, the 6-foot-2, 201-pound blueliner has a goal and 10 assists with a solid plus-12 rating.
LW -- Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado:
A potential future captain for the Avalanche, Landeskog has paid dividends since being plucked by Colorado with the second pick at the 2011 NHL Draft. Just 19 years old, Landeskog ranks fifth on the Avs in scoring with 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) in 43 games. He and Matt Duchene
will provide the Avalanche with a dynamic duo up front for years to come.
C -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton:
He'll be missed for at least the next three weeks due to a shoulder injury, but Nugent-Hopkins was enjoying a terrific campaign prior to getting hurt. Despite the recent injury, Nugent-Hopkins still leads all rookies in scoring with 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) in 38 games. Just like the duo in Colorado, the tandem of Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall
should lead to plenty of good times in Edmonton.
RW -- Matt Read, Philadelphia:
This 25-year-old is evidence of the importance of a good scouting staff. After tallying 22 goals in his final season with Bemidji State University, Read signed on with the Flyers' organization and finished the 2010-11 campaign with AHL Adirondack, where he went 7-6-13 in 11 games. Read then made the big club out of training camp and has been one of the League's biggest surprises, as he is 13-12-25 in 37 contests. With 13 goals, Read is tied with Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie lead. Not bad for a kid who wasn't drafted.
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL