After writing yesterday about the incredible group of teenagers that inhabit the NHL right now, they continued to show why they deserve to have ink spilled every night about them. Patrik Laine, playing in his 12th NHL game scored his seventh goal (while seemingly practicing his golf game) which is the fastest since it took Evgeni Malkin just six games in 2006. The Finnish sniper now has 9 points in those 12 games, and is showing why he was drafted so high.
The Jets are obviously pretty high on Laine, as he’s averaging over 19 minutes a night which leads all rookie forwards this season. As fans watch him play, they must be reminded of another Finnish scoring winger that made an impact as a rookie once upon a time – Teemu Selanne’s amazing rookie season started with 11 goals in his first 12 games, and ended with 76.
- The idea that defensemen take longer to develop than forwards is being thrown out the window in Columbus, as Zach Werenski continues to dominate in his rookie season. The Blue Jackets are currently tearing the Montreal Canadiens apart (8-0 as this article is written), and Werenski is a big part of it. Though he has just one assist tonight, he’s also the quarterback of an effective powerplay that has gone 4/5 in the game. This 19-year old blueliner was drafted eighth overall in 2015 and is providing huge dividends already for the Blue Jackets; they’ll be 5-3-1 after tonight, with Werenski scoring (at least) nine points.
- Though Mitch Marner wasn’t included in the original post, he probably should have been. His start with the Maple Leafs has been overshadowed slightly by Auston Matthews, but the former fourth-overall pick has played extremely well in his own right. Two goals last night led the Maple Leafs to victory in Buffalo, a place they’ve had trouble winning in for years. Though Marner now has eight points in eleven contests, it’s his defensive play that is repeatedly mentioned by head coach Mike Babcock. The diminutive winger has nine blocked shots on the season, which leads all Toronto forwards.