The play of several high-profile rookies, including forwards Alexis Lafreniere of the New York Rangers and Tim Stutzle of the Ottawa Senators, the No. 1 and No. 3 picks of the 2020 NHL Draft, respectively, is one of the major storylines of the 2020-21 season. Every two weeks, NHL.com will examine topics related to this season’s class in the Rookie Watch.
This week, a look at the top rookie scorers among players age 21 or younger (in alphabetical order):
Nils Hoglander, F, Vancouver Canucks: The 20-year-old has scored six points (three goals, three assists) in 12 games, tied with Ottawa Senators forward Josh Norris for second among rookies 21 or younger, leads all NHL rookies in takeaways (10) and is averaging 14:12 of ice time at right wing with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson,. Hoglander is a left-handed shot but played left and right wing with Rogle of the Swedish Hockey League. Vancouver controls 52.2 percent of all shots attempted when Hoglander has been on the ice.
Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, Pittsburgh Penguins: The 21-year-old became the ninth rookie defenseman in Penguins history to score at least three points in a game when he had three assists in a 5-4 overtime win against the New York Rangers on Jan. 30. Joseph’s high hockey IQ has gained the trust of his coaches and the chance to play a top-pair role with injuries throughout Pittsburgh’s lineup. He’s scored four points (all assists) and is averaging 15:06 of ice time in six games. The Penguins control 52.9 percent of all shots attempted with Joseph on the ice.
Philipp Kurashev, F, Chicago Blackhawks: Born in Switzerland, the 21-year-old was promoted to top-line center with Patrick Kane and Mattias Janmark and responded by scoring two points (one goal, one assist) in a 3-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 31. Kurashev has scored three goals in nine games, tied with Hoglander and Gabriel Vilardi (Los Angeles Kings) for first among rookies 21 or younger.
K’Andre Miller, D, New York Rangers: The 21-year-old has scored four points (one goal, three assists) in his past six games skating with Jacob Trouba and leads New York in even strength ice time (17:29). Miller is plus-7 in nine games, tied for fourth with Kurashev and Joseph in points, averaging 18:33 of total ice time, and is one of the Rangers’ most effective penalty killers.
Josh Norris, F, Ottawa Senators: The 21-year-old was traded to the Senators by the San Jose Sharks in the deal for defenseman Erik Karlsson on Sept. 13, 2018. Norris has scored six points (two goals, four assists) in nine games, has 13 hits and averages 16:13 of ice time as the center on top line with left wing Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson.
Ty Smith, D, New Jersey Devils: The 20-year-old has scored eight points (two goals, six assists), including six at even-strength that leads all rookie defensemen. Paired with Damon Severson, Smith is a quarterback on the power play and has been diligent in his approach to shutting down opposing offenses.