Breaking into the NHL used to be hard. Rookies had to be truly special before they were really given a shot. Not anymore. The NHL is getting younger and younger, and players on entry-level deals provide cheap relief for teams that are strapped by the cap or in a rebuild. In fact, kids are critical to Cup runs. Long gone are the days of a league dominated by 27-to-32 year olds. Teams seem to need to win it all while their best young players are still on their first deals. Otherwise, the cap will crush their souls. Sorry, Toronto. I guess your time has passed.
I was going to start this article by saying I was officially torn about owning fantasy rookies, especially in single-year leagues. But that's a lie. I'm not torn. These kids are better than good, they're great, and worthy of fantasy attention in just about every format.
MacKenzie Blackwood, G, New Jersey – Blackwood had the best goalie stats on the Devils last season despite playing just 23 games (21 starts). Cory Schneider says he's in the best shape he's been in a long time, but he's 33 and seriously injury-prone. Blackwood will platoon with Schneider, and while the Devils will try to ease him in slowly, his talent should win out.