Making the Cut for the 2010-11 season

By Ian Bross

A total of 49 rookies took the ice on opening night, up slightly from 41 a year ago.

For the first time, the NHL opened its season with contests in three different European locales — Finland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.

A variety of rookies began their respective careers abroad. Though neither team had any rookies dress on opening night a year ago, the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild iced a combined five rookies in Helsinki. Rookies for the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks opened their careers in Stockholm, and freshman members of the Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyoyes did the same in Prague.

Six 2010 draft choices jumped straight into the NHL, headlined by top pick Taylor Hall in Edmonton. Hall is part of a highly-touted trio of rookie Oilers, along with Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi. In Edmonton’s opener, Eberle made his presence felt with a highlight reel goal and an assist.

No rookie made a better first impression than the New York RangersDerek Stepan, however, who became the fourth player to score a hat trick in his first game.

Fellow members of the 2010 draft class, second overall pick Tyler Seguin debuted for the Bruins. As did Nino Niederreiter for the New York Islanders, Jeff Skinner for the Hurricanes, Alexander Burmistrov for the Atlanta Thrashers, and Cam Fowler for the Anaheim Ducks. All were taken in the first round. In addition, fourteen other former first-rounders premiered: Tyler Ennis, Mikael Backlund, Nick Leddy, Nikita Filatov, Jonathan Bernier, Brayden Schenn, Lars Eller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Pietrangelo, Jonathan Carlson, Marcus Johansson, and the aforementioned Eberle and Paajarvi.

Six rookies taken in the fifth round or later dressed on opening night: Chicago’s Jake Dowell, Colorado’s Mark Olver, Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland, San Jose’s Frazer McLaren and Tommy Wingels, and Mike Vernace for Tampa Bay.

Likewise, five undrafted rookies: New Jersey’s Matt Taormina, Phoenix’s David Schlemko, Pittsburgh’s Mark Letestu, and most notably, Philadelphia’s Sergei Bobrovsky. An offseason free agent signing, the Russian netminder started between the pipes in the Philadelphia Flyers‘s first game of the year, earning a solid win.

Nine NHL teams unveiled two rookies; seven teams three; ten teams one. The Carolina Hurricanes debuted more rookies than any other team. They debuted four. Three teams — Dallas, Detroit, and Florida — did not debut any rookies on opening night.

Below is a complete list of the rookies who took the ice on opening night for each NHL team.

Anaheim: Cam Fowler

Atlanta: Alexander Burmistrov

Boston: Tyler Seguin

Buffalo: Tyler Ennis

Calgary: Mikael Backlund, T.J. Brodie, Henrik Karlsson

Carolina: Drayson Bowman, Zac Dalpe, Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner

Chicago: Bryan Bickell, Jake Dowell, Nick Leddy

Colorado: Mark Olver

Columbus: Nikita Filatov

Dallas: None

Detroit: None

Edmonton: Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi

Florida: None

Los Angeles: Jonathan Bernier, Jake Muzzin, Brayden Schenn

Minnesota: Justin Falk, Clayton Stoner

Montreal: Lars Eller, P.K. Subban

Nashville: Anders Lindback

New Jersey: Matt Taormina, Alexander Urbom

NY Islanders:
Nino Niederreiter

NY Rangers: Michael Sauer, Derek Stepan

Zack Smith

Philadelphia: Sergei Bobrovsky

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, David Schlemko

Pittsburgh: Deryk Engelland, Mark Letestu, Eric Tangradi

San Jose: Frazer McLaren, Tommy Wingels

St. Louis: Alex Pietrangelo

Tampa Bay: Dana Tyrell, Mike Vernace

Toronto: Tim Brent

Guillaume Desbiens

John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Michal Neuvirth