In today's topic, we take a closer look at wether or not a rookie will have an impact this season in our Top 10 Questions Of The Season.
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| ROOKIE IMPACT BY THE YEAR |
|Season ||Player ||Stats |
|09-10 ||Dmitry Kulikov* ||68 games, 16 pts |
|09-10 ||Shawn Matthias ||55 games, 16 pts |
|09-10 ||Jason Garrison ||39 games, 8 pts |
|09-10 ||Victor Oreskovich* ||50 games, 6 pts |
|08-09 ||Michael Frolik* ||79 games, 45 pts |
|07-08 ||Kamil Kreps ||76 games, 25 pts |
|06-07 ||David Booth* ||48 games, 10 pts |
|05-06 ||Rostislav Olesz* ||59 games, 21 pts |
|05-06 ||Gregory Campbell ||64 games, 9 pts |
|03-04 ||Nathan Horton* ||55 games, 22 pts |
|02-03 ||Stephen Weiss* ||77 games, 21 pts |
|02-03 ||Jay Bouwmeester* ||82 games, 16 pts |
|01-02 ||Kristian Huselius* ||79 games, 45 pts |
|01-02 ||Niklas Hagman* ||78 games, 28 pts |
|00-01 ||Dennis Svidki* ||43 games, 16 pts |
|00-01 ||Serge Payer* ||43 games, 6 pts |
|99-00 ||Ryan Johnson ||66 games, 16 pts |
|98-99 ||Mark Parrish* ||73 games, 37 pts |
|98-99 ||Oleg Kvasha* ||68 games, 25 pts |
|98-99 ||Jaroslav Spacek* ||63 games, 15 pts |
|98-99 ||Peter Worrell ||62 games, 9 pts |
|97-98 ||Steve Washburn ||58 games, 19 pts |
|96-97 ||Nemirovsky ||39 games, 14 pts |
|95-96 ||Radek Dvorak* ||77 games, 27 pts |
|95-96 ||Ed Jovanovski* ||70 games, 21 pts |
|93-94 ||Jesse Belanger* ||70 games, 50 pts |
|93-94 ||Rob Niedermayer* ||65 games, 26 pts |
|93-94 ||Paul Laus* ||39 games, 2 pts |
|* Played in NHL in first professional season |
It seems to happen every single season with the Panthers; a rookie makes an impact that season with the squad.
The Panthers have had a rookie in NHL terms (whether they be a first year pro or a third or fourth year pro) step up and play considerable minutes and contributing both offensively in 15 of 16 seasons (at least 35 plus games). From Jesse Belanger and Rob Niedermayer during the inaugural season to Radek Dvorak and Ed Jovanovski
during the Stanley Cup run year to David Booth, Michael Frolik and Dmitry Kulikov
most recently, players who weren't counted on, surpassed the expectations and helped the team.
While some players might have been rushed into the league due to a lack of talent on the squad to begin with, others have earned that spot.
"We've put a lot of young guys in the lineup over the last two or three years," said head coach Peter DeBoer. "Frolik has not only stepped in the lineup but played big minutes for us. Kulikov stepped in the lineup and played big minutes."
This year's crop of hopeful first year rookies are impressive. From the likes of number three overall pick Erik Gudbranson
on defense along with Colby Robak
and Adam Comrie to forwards Quinton Howden
, John McFarland
, AJ Jenks and Scott Timmins
and goaltender Jacob Markstrom
, there's plenty of players that could become the next Frolik and Kulikov. That doesn't even include the rookies who are in their second or third years professionally but haven't played enough NHL games and are still considered NHL rookies. There you have the likes of Michael Grabner and Evgeny Dadonov among others.
"I think I can play in this League," said Markstrom. "Every day I want to go there and I want to practice hard and I want to be between the pipes instead of Vokoun. That's the goal. That's why I'm here. I want to play in the NHL."
"I think that I'm in a position where I have an opportunity to make the National Hockey League," said Gudbranson. "That's what I want to do, but I also understand that's a big jump from junior. If I did go back, that's not necessarily the worst thing ever. Another year of development in junior isn't bad. Nonetheless, my goal is to make the National Hockey League."
This year could be tough for the rookies to make an impact. There are nine forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders all on one-way contracts which means they'll have to earn the job and take it away from someone else.
"I think as we get more depth in the organization, it's going to be tougher to do that," said DeBoer of young rookies stepping in. "I think that's a good thing.
"If a guy's obviously ready and obviously earns a job, Dale's made it clear that he'll be here but we're not going to force any body in and I know we're not going to be in a position where we need to because we need that spot. We've got enough depth now that I think guys are going to have to earn their spot."
So will a rookie make an impact this season? With the injuries and young players adjusting to the pro game quicker, the crystal ball says yes. But then again it's hard to say in an 82-game season.