Schenn, 19, who was drafted fifth overall last June, has taken his place among Toronto's top four defenseman each night. The 6' 2", 216-pound backliner has impressed his teammates with his edge, even slugging it out with heavyweights like Ottawa's Chris Neil. As Leafs forward Jamal Mayers said: "He has some kohannas."
2 of 22Lou Capozzola/SI
Steve Stamkos - Center
The Lightning planned to keep Stamkos because he had nothing left to learn in juniors. Suffice to say, he's got plenty to prove in the NHL. With just four points in his first 15 -- three of them in a game against the Sabres on Oct. 30 -- and none in his last seven, his struggles have evoked memories of Joe Thornton's miserable rookie campaign. Points won't be any easier to come by, either, now that his power play time is being reduced. You know he'll get untracked at some point. The question is, will it be this season, and with a new coach?
3 of 22AP
Alex Goligoski - Defenseman
The University of Minnesota standout turned pro after his junior year, but was ticketed for development in the minors. Long-term injuries to Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney altered those plans, and Goligoski found himself manning the power play for the high-octane Penguins. Playing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin agrees with him. Goligoski leads all rookie defenders with three goals and seven points.
4 of 22AP
Brandon Prust - Center
It's both the easiest and hardest way to make your name in the NHL -- with your fists. Lacking a certain refinement to his skills package, Prust has embraced the role of sheriff in Calgary. He leads the league with nine majors, taking on some of the league's biggest bombers despite weighing in at less than 190. "He'll take on anyone," Dustin Boyd said. "The guys appreciate that."
5 of 22AP
Fabian Brunnstrom - Left Wing
After watching Dallas' first two games from the press box, Brunnstrom established his Hall of Fame credentials with a hat trick against the Predators in his NHL debut...and then crashed back to reality. It's clear that the summer's most coveted Euro free agent has exceptional hands and a willingness to go hard to the net. His play away from the puck, however, is a constant reminder of how much he has to learn at this level. His ice time has dwindled and he's found himself scratched on occasion. All part of the learning curve...
6 of 22Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
James Neal - Left Wing
With Jere Lehtinen's return on the horizon, the Stars demoted Neal to the minors last week. It wasn't a knock on his play -- Neal was the easy choice because he would not have to clear waivers. In his 12 games to date, the big winger impressed with his grit along the boards and in the corners, and a surprisingly deft touch with the puck. Expect him back in Dallas soon, especially if, as expected, they deal a roster forward for defensive help.
7 of 22Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images
Mikhail Grabovski - Left Wing
His ex-mates in Montreal won't be sending Grabovski any Christmas cards. ("He's not my friend anymore. I don't respect him," said Sergei Kostitsyn after a recent game.). But he's winning plenty of admirers in Toronto. The flashy center leads all rookies with eight goals, and his play as Mats Sundin's de facto replacement has keyed the surprising start of the Maple Leafs.
8 of 22Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Nikolai Kulemin - Left Wing
The goal-scoring heroics of linemate Mikhail Grabovski have relegated Kulemin to the shadows, but that seems to be working out fine for him. After struggling early on, the 2007 Russian league MVP is growing more comfortable with the NHL brand of hockey. Playmaking is his bread and butter, but as his comfort grows, you can expect him to be more willing to shoot the puck.
9 of 22Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers - Goalie
Neither Mathieu Garon nor Dwayne Roloson offered the Oilers consistency or confidence in the early going. Enter Drouin-Deslauriers, whose size and economical style earned him victories in his first three starts. Three netminders, two jobs. A problem for the Oilers? Not at all. "It never muddies the situation when a guy plays well," coach Craig MacTavish said. With several teams putting out feelers for a proven goalie, look for Edmonton to deal a vet and create a full time spot for the rookie.
10 of 22Lou Capozzola/SI
Kyle Okposo - Right Wing
Recognizing the potential of the young power forward, Isles coach Scott Gordon placed Okposo on the first line alongside Doug Weight and Bill Guerin. Problem was, he was slotted on the left wing. His lack of comfort was there in the numbers. Despite leading all rookies in shots, he has just two goals in 16 games. Gordon blames typical rookie growing pains for Okposo's inconsistency, and is experimenting with him alongside fellow rookie Josh Bailey. You get the sense the coach is very hopeful for the winger's future...just not his immediate future.
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Blake Wheeler - Right Wing
The big-bodied winger has struggled at times with his transition to the pro game, particularly his play without the puck. But there's no arguing that Wheeler has the courage to go to the net, and the soft hands to make things happen once he gets there. He netted a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Nov. 6, just hours after changing his sweater number to 26. Coincidence you say?
12 of 22David E. Klutho/SI
Kyle Turris - Center
Like Stamkos, the sublimely gifted Turris is finding offense hard to come by. The issue, according to his coach, is confidence. "He's used to playing 20-22 minutes a game, and here he's playing 11-12," says Wayne Gretzky. "So yeah, that's an issue. But he's going to be an impact player here for a long time." With Olli Jokinen and Martin Hanzal chewing up minutes, Turris will have to concentrate on improving his game out of the spotlight -- at practice.
13 of 22David E. Klutho/SI
Mikkel Boedker - Left Wing
While fellow freshman Kyle Turris struggles with the physical side of life in the NHL, Boedker's size (5-11, 195) and strength have streamlined his transition. Coach Wayne Gretzky has marveled at Boedker's speed and attention to defensive responsibilities, and some observers are comparing his two-way potential to that of Henrik Zetterberg. A little early for that kind of talk? Maybe, but watch the way Boedker pays attention to the details and you can see where the praise is coming from.
14 of 22David E. Klutho/SI
Drew Doughty - Defenseman
If you've got any inclination to gamble on such things, you might want to put your money on Doughty for the Calder. The 18-year-old didn't simply make the Kings lineup out of camp. Within a month, he became their No. 1 defenseman, logging workhorse minutes and helping Los Angeles limit opposing teams to a league-low 24 shots per game. The last time a rookie blueliner dominated like this? Try Ray Bourque in 1979.
15 of 22Robert Beck/SI
Oscar Moller - Center
He's quietly established himself as key component of the Kings' rebuilding effort. Watching him, it's hard not to think of another Bruin: Patrice Bergeron. Both are creative, fast and feisty. Like Bergeron, Moller's rapid adaptation to the NHL makes it hard to believe that 30 teams passed on him in the 2007 draft. Like Bergeron, Moller is small by today's standards (listed at 5-11, 180). Strong and confident, he's earned a spot on the second line with Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll.
16 of 22Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Patrik Berglund - Center
Despite suffering through the inconsistencies of youth, Berglund's size (6-4, 200 pounds) and two-way ability have solidified the Blues' second scoring line. His numbers (5-5-10) aren't dazzling, but they could jump quickly. With No. 1 center Andy McDonald sidelined for up to two months, Berglund should see more time on the first power play unit. His plus-8 rating ranks second among rookies.
17 of 22David E. Klutho/SI
Kris Versteeg - Right Wing
Swiped from Boston's farm system in exchange for Brandon Bochenski (last seen ordering everything behind the counter at a Krispy Kreme in Norfolk), Versteeg has emerged as an all-purpose threat for the Hawks. His speed and grit have seen him flitting between Chicago's top two lines, and he's earning time on both the power play and penalty kill. Lack of hype mitigates his Calder chances, but opportunity should keep him among the leading rookie scorers.
18 of 22John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images
Patric Hornqvist - Right Wing
The 230th and final pick of the 2005 draft, Hornqivst beat some long odds just to make it to the NHL. But coming on the heels of winning the 2007 rookie of the year title in the Swedish League, the Preds were hoping his transition would be less rocky. Once he commits to the defensive side of the game, his opportunities -- and offensive output -- should improve.
19 of 22Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images
Luca Sbisa - Defenseman
When defenders Ryan Parent and Randy Jones were sidelined with long-term injuries, the Flyers had no choice but to turn Sbisa's brief tryout into a lengthy stay. So far, he's rewarded them with some remarkably mature play, assuming the number 3 role on the decimated blueline. Although he could be returned to juniors when Parent and Jones recuperate, Sbisa's skating (one teammate compared his style to Paul Coffey) and puck poise suggest he'll be in Philly for the long run.
20 of 22Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images
Derick Brassard - Center
The NHL's leading rookie scorer -- did anyone out there predict that before the season started? -- was fianlly rewarded with a promotion to the Blue Jackets' top line last week. It's about time. Brassard's energy and playmaking have keyed the team's early success and may be just the spark that Rick Nash needs to get his game back on track. It wouldn't be a surprise if Brassard repeats as Rookie of the Month in November.
21 of 22Jim Rinaldi/Icon SMI
Jakub Voracek - Right Wing
After starting the season as part of Columbus' most consistent offensive unit and rising as high as fourth in rookie scoring, Voracek appears to have hit a wall. No one questions his talent, but the work ethic that defined his early going hasn't been evident over the past half-dozen games. Consider his recent demotion to the fourth line an opportunity to get his legs back under him.
22 of 22Jim Rinaldi/Icon SMI
Steve Mason - Goalie
With Pascal Leclaire and Fredrik Norrena holding the fort in Columbus, Mason expected to spend his first pro season learning the ropes in Syracuse. But when Leclaire cranked his ankle, Mason got the call and responded with wins over Edmonton, Montreal and Calgary. His size and right-handed catching glove have given him the early advantage. Now that Leclaire's back, Mason's likely ticketed for the AHL...but not before showing he'll be a contender for the top job before long.
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