Prospect Ramblings – Youngsters Succeeding Early in the NHL Playoffs

Tony Ferrari

2019-04-25

 

With the first round of the NHL playoffs complete, today’s Prospect Ramblings will take a look at some of the rookies and young players that have made an impact for their teams. The intensity of the playoffs has allowed some players to shine while others are left in the dust. Almost every series has been impacted by the NHL’s youth movement in one way or another.

 

The crown jewel of these young players is Colorado Avalanche defenceman, Cale Makar. After completing his season with UMass, the Hobey Baker winner jumped right into the Avalanche lineup for game three of their series with the Calgary Flames. Scoring a goal in his NHL debut, the skilled blue-liner has shown poise and puck moving ability immediately upon entering the line-up. Taking all of three games in the first round to establish himself as a quality top-four defenceman, Makar has been previewing what should be an outstanding rookie season in 2019-20. His ability to adapt to the NHL game seamlessly, without any real practices with the team, have proven that Makar will be a force to be reckoned with in these playoffs. He will benefit from the extended rest in between the first and second round, allowing himself to become acclimated to both the NHL and his new surroundings and system.

 

One of the more surprising revelations to come out of the first round was the play of Alexandre Texier of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Helping sweep the Tampa Bay Lightning was impressive enough, but the way he did it was even more impressive. With two goals and one assist in the four-game sweep, the speedy winger was able to impact the game in multiple facets of the game. Whether it was on the power play or at 5-on-5 play, his speed was able to give the Lightning defence fits throughout the series. Scoring two goals in the series-clinching game, Texier solidified the offensive attack for the Blue Jackets who victimized the injury-plagued Tampa backend.

 

 

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Possibly the best young player in these playoffs, Miro Heiskanen has been an absolute workhorse. Averaging 26:32 of ice time through the first round, the outstanding rookie rearguard was a major factor in the Dallas Star advancing to round two, defeating the Nashville Predators in six games. His performance in game one of the series set the tone for the rest of his series. He scored a goal and had a shot tipped in by Alex Radulov giving him an assist, which ended up being his only two points of the series, yet his play has continued to be imperative to his team’s success. His defensive game and transition game was absolutely outstanding throughout the series. Dallas’ has the luxury of riding Heiskanen along with John Klingberg and Esa Lindell