Monday, October 29, 2007

Top Rookie So Far This Season

When I made my predictions for the Chicago Blackhawks, I said that their 2007/08 season would depend on the success of rookies Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. So far, that has been correct. Currently, Kane leads the team in scoring with 14 points and Toews is fourth with 9 points. They have been the two top scoring rookies so far this season. This dependence upon rookies is magnified because Martin Havlat (Chicago's top scorer last season) has been limited to one game played due to a shoulder injury.

Chicago may not be a top team this season. So far they are 5-6 and have lost their last three games, but with Kane and Toews, the foundation is there for them to be a team on the rise in the NHL.

Kane has been especially impressive. His 14 points place him in a tie for tenth place in the overall NHL scoring race. For an 18 year old with only 11 NHL games played this is particularly impressive. He is the early season rookie of the year leader. He looks like a player who could have an exceptional career. His career may be good enough to rival other young stars like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.

It remains to be seen how well a small player such as Kane will hold up to sustained physical play in the NHL. He is listed at 5'10" (though some say that measurement is generous) and only 163 pounds. It has been a while since a player as small (particularly in weight) as Kane has succeeded in the NHL. So far he has done very well. Along with Toews, who is 19 and has nine points in nine games played, he represents the future of the Chicago Blackhawks. For the first time in several years, Chicago looks like it has a positive future. Kane could become an NHL star for many years.

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