Taking A Look at NHL Rookies NOT named Connor Bedard
We now have a 10 game sample size to get a quick snapshot at how the rookie field is shaping up in the NHL. We all know the front runner for the Calder Trophy going into the year was Connor Bedard and personally I’d still say he’s going to take it home. However, let’s not overlook the rest of the talented rookie crop.
Logan Cooley Rookie Outlook
Probably the biggest threat to a Connor Bedard Rookie of the Year Campaign and with one of the “cooler” names in the league, Logan Cooley is looking to hoist that Calder for himself. Cooley is a beacon of hope for the Arizona Coyotes franchise and fans. The 19-year-old offensive stud just recorded his first goal of the year against the Anaheim Ducks and has 8 points in his first 10 games of the season and actually leads Connor Bedard by 2 points. After recording 6 assists before his tally, Logan Cooley finally got the monkey off his back and thus his NHL career now really begins.
Logan Cooley was drafted in 2022 at 3rd overall by the Coyotes and was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Cooley’s resume includes playing for the US National U18 team, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Minnesota. At Minnesota, Cooley racked up 60 points in 39 games which garnered him way more attention and hopes that he would play in the NHL as soon as possible. That moment came on the opening night of this season when Logan Cooley recorded his first NHL points with 2 assists in a 4-3 win.
Cooley finds himself playing for a rebuilding Arizona Coyotes team with a long road ahead of them and even no home stadium, as they play their home games at Arizona State’s rink. The Coyotes desperately need him to develop into the star he’s projected to be and playing alongside Clayton Keller who is quickly approaching star level himself, should help. Arizona has always been in the rearview mirror of NHL fans but with the young talent they have and their brand new rookie Logan Cooley, they have a great chance to change that.
NHL Rookie Bobby Brink – the future of the flyers
As a Flyers fan, I couldn’t be more excited for Bobby Orr Brink. Born in Minnetonka, Minnesota, the 22 year old winger was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2019 in the 2nd round of the draft at 34th overall. Brink played his college hockey at the University of Denver where he recorded 57 points in 41 games back in 2021-22. He made the opening night roster this season after a great camp and 10 games in, has showcased his talent to the tune of 6 points in 10 games. Brink has 2 goals and 4 assists and has an incredible motor. He seems to be all over the ice and demonstrates a good ability to navigate through tough spaces.
EPrinkside.com, which keeps tabs on NHL prospects, identified Brink’s offensive skill:
“Sees the Ice at an exceptionally high level. Attacks the soft parts of the offensive zone, putting himself in good spots to score.”
Brink is 5th in points for rookies at the moment in a tight race at only 10 games in. He has been a pleasant surprise for Flyer fans as the rebuild officially kicked off this year. If Brink can develop into the offensive talent that the Flyers front office thinks he can, then the rebuild could accelerate.
Adam Fantilli – Third Overall Pick and Columbus Blue Jackets Rookie
The Columbus Blue Jackets were thrilled to select Adam Fantilli at 3rd overall in the 2023 NHL draft. Born in Toronto, the 19-year-old Fantilli has 6 points so far in his rookie season. He played his college hockey at the University of Michigan where he dominated the ice, recording 65 points in 36 games back in 2022. Fantilli was a highly touted prospect and now finds himself playing with Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine. The theme with these NHL teams as you may see is the word rebuild. The Blue Jackets were horrendous last season and Fantilli was their reward. The future is bright and the Jackets can only go up from here. Fantilli will certainly help.
Fantilli is hoped to be an offensive powerhouse when he develops. He only has 2 goals in this young season and is averaging 2.6 shots per game. Look for his shots per game to rise once he further adjusts to the NHL game and builds confidence. The goals should start to come more, especially when playing alongside the veteran talent the bluejackets have.
Pavel Mintyukov – High Potential Russian Rookie
Now this has been a surprise. Pavel Mintyukov was selected by the Anaheim Ducks 10th overall in 2022. The 19 year old Defenseman was born in Moskva, Russia and has burst onto the scene. He has recorded 7 points and is tied with Logan Cooley and Ridley Greig (who we will get into next) for most points as a rookie. In 10 games played he has 1 goal and 6 assists for the Ducks. For a team who just drafted Leo Carlsson and oh yeah, is led by Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry, Anaheim has some serious talent right now. For a quick look at what Pavel is all about, the Eliteprospects 2022 Draft Guide explains:
“The one- and two-touch feed were his weapons of choice, and Mintyukov used them to strike with rapier-like precision through any cracks in the defensive formation. And when openings weren’t already there, he made them with deceptive handling, look-offs, and feints”
The talented young defenseman has been turning heads and hopefully looks to bring the Ducks rebuild to an end.
Ridley Greig – Canadian Rookie for the Ottawa Senators
There’s lots of other rookies to mention but I’ll end with Ridley Greig who also has recorded 7 points in his rookie season thus far for the Ottawa Senators. At 21 years old, the Canadian has made the most of his opportunity with Ottawa. Because of the Shane Pinto drama, Greig got some looks and boy has he impressed. Greig potted 2 goals and 5 assists so far for the senators and has been a welcomed sight for a team that hopes to make the playoffs this year Ottawa is coming out of a long rebuild and has a plethora of talent on the ice. Whether it’s Tkachuk, Giroux, Norris, or Stuzle, the Senators should be competing this year. A rough start to the season along with front office drama has dampened the excitement but the season is still young. Greig should figure into the winning equation in Ottawa.