As for this season's rookie crowd, Ed Olczyk thinks it's all about opportunity and what players do with that opportunity.
Evgeni Malkin, naturally, is expected to be given all kinds of chances to work the power play as the Penguins' second-line center. And even though he started the season on the shelf with a shoulder injury suffered in his first preseason game, Malkin has all the tools to make it back-to-back Russian Calder Trophy winners.
Still, other rookies will make things interesting.
• Wojtek Wolski, who impressed after being called up by Colorado from junior during the playoffs last season, made the Avs' squad out of training camp and has been playing with fellow rookie Paul Stastny (son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny). Wolski has two goals and 10 shots during the Avs' first two games.
• Matt Carle, the collegian with the booming shot, is considered the best rookie defenseman in the league, and he has jumped right into the fray for San Jose with two goals and an assist in his first three games for the 3-0 Sharks. He also is averaging almost 20 minutes a night in ice time.
• Gilbert Brule is another promising first-year player, although the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft was a healthy scratch for Monday's 5-1 win over Phoenix as coach Gerard Gallant had to make room on the roster for Nikolai Zherdev.
• The rookie everyone is talking about, however, is Slovenia's first NHLer, Anze Kopitar, who has five points in two games and is a plus-3 for Los Angeles while averaging more than 21 minutes in ice time.
Olczyk said both Wolski and Kopitar already have displayed that rare quality of having great anticipation, "and that's an underrated part of a player's game."
-- Scott Burnside