The impact of rookies in the NHL is becoming more and more evident every season, and the 2022-23 season continues that trend. Next week, we will be updating the “Rookie of the Year Power Rankings.” Until then, we will look back at the week that was and spotlight a few standout rookies around the NHL.
Shane Pinto Makes Ottawa Senators History
Shane Pinto is the hottest rookie in the NHL to start the season.
He's now on a five-game goal streak and has six points in that span. He broke the longest rookie goal streak in Senators franchise history and is one game away from tying Filip Forsberg's NHL rookie record set in 2014-15.
The Senators are relying heavily on youth this season, and Pinto has stepped right in, solidifying the third-line center role with ease. He isn’t the flashiest player and he doesn’t possess the most speed or skill, but he is a highly-intelligent center who understands play at both ends of the ice.
Pinto is excelling at both 5-on-5 and has shown himself to be a key part of the second power-play unit. Pinto’s mature game will make him a mainstay in the NHL for a long time, and his understanding of how to play the game the right way in every facet could make him an excellent candidate to wear a letter in the future for the Senators.
The former NCAA star for North Dakota is tied atop the rookie scoring race after Monday's games. His five goals are three more than any other rookie this far. He may not remain at the top of the rookie scoring race at the season’s end, but he very well could find himself in the conversation for the Calder when the season comes to a close.
Kent Johnson Scores Twice For Columbus
The Blue Jackets’ future star has been hot the last week after starting the season a bit slowly. His three-game point streak includes his first two goals of the year. The shifty forward may possess one of the highest skill levels of any rookie, with his deke and dangle abilities among some of the best in the league.
The Blue Jackets will rely on Johnson to produce and play a bigger role as the season wears on. His ice time has been inconsistent so far, ranging from 10 minutes to almost 20 on any given night. Regardless of playing time, he made the most of his opportunities last week.
Johnson is a silky smooth playmaker at heart with video game-esque puck skill which should make him one of the more entertaining players in the NHL.
Cole Perfetti Produces Points for Winnipeg
The anticipated arrival of ‘Goal’ Perfetti is officially here.
After going scoreless in his first two games of the year, the Jets rookie has four points in his last three games, including a goal and an assist against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, less than a week ago.
Perfetti is one of the smartest prospects in hockey, identifying teammates in opportune positions and getting himself into a position to alter the game on his own.
His goal-scoring touch is still developing at the NHL level but, his passing and vision will allow him to make a big difference in the Jets’ top six, especially playing with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Blake Wheeler.
Perfetti should continue to improve as the season moves along and very well could find himself near or atop the rookie scoring lead. If his goal-scoring can pick up a bit and he can find the form he’s had throughout his career prior to his NHL arrival, Perfetti should be a name we’re all discussing around the Calder conversation after 82 games.