Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire

Calder Trophy favorite Jonathan Drouin of Tampa Bay Lightning named to SI.com's 2014-15 NHL All-Rookie Team.

By Allan Muir
October 06, 2014

Here's the thing about predicting rookie success in the preseason: It's nearly impossible to do.

Take last year. We all knew that 2013's top pick, Nathan MacKinnon, was ideally situated to make an immediate impact with the Avalanche. But Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, his fellow fellow Calder Trophy finalists last spring? Johnson was undrafted and Palat was taken with the 208th pick in 2011, behind such prospects as Joachim Nermark (93rd), Steffen Soberg (117th) and Darian Dziurskynski (141st), none of whom have played so much as even one NHL game. Most of the 200 or so players who make their debuts this season will soon slide into oblivion. Some will take the first steps toward becoming solid pros. And a select few will begin to build a case for their eventual elections to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

It's a crap shoot, but we won't allow the uncertainty to prevent us from considering the merits of a promising crop of young talent. Here are the NHL freshmen that we expect to emerge as the best rookies at their positions this season, the members of the first annual SI.com Preseason All-Rookie Team.

• SI.com's Crystal Ball: Award picks, pressing questions and more

Honorable mentions

G: John Gibson (Ducks); D: Mirco Mueller (Sharks); D: Mathew Dumba (Wild); F: Filip Forsberg (Predators); F: Evgeny Kuznetsov (Capitals); F: Alexander Wennberg (Blue Jackets)

• Sliding down the draft board: Mathew Barzal

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