The Canucks' Jason King is one of the leading candidates for the
Calder Trophy, but diligent voters will have their hands full
sifting through a rookie class that is marked as much by quality
as quantity. There were 64 rookies on opening-night rosters this
season, compared with 46 last year. Why the youth movement?

First, this is an unusually talented group that included four
18-year-olds: Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, Penguins goalie
Marc-Andre Fleury, Panthers forward Nate Horton and Hurricanes
forward Eric Staal. Secondly, first-year players usually come
cheaper than vets. It's no accident that the teams with the most
rookies--the Penguins (six), Predators (five) and Blackhawks
(five)--have payrolls that rank in the bottom quarter of the
league.