Predicting a successful rookie class is a notoriously difficult task. For example, the player who finished third in Calder Trophy voting in 2020-21 (Detroit's Alex Nedeljkovic, then of the Hurricanes) was on waivers early last year. However, that doesn't mean you should shy away from young players come draft day, as there always seems to be plenty of collective production among the league's freshmen by season's end.
All of the guys below make for high-upside fantasy stashes this coming season...
Cole Caufield (F, MTL): Any 2021-22 rookie class has to start with Caufield. The University of Wisconsin product joined the Habs late last season, posting four goals and five points in 10 games. He then dressed for Montreal's final 20 playoff contests, finishing with four goals and 12 points. Caufield isn't the fastest player in the league and certainly isn't the biggest, but you can count on one hand the amount of NHL players that shoot the puck as well as he does. Auston Matthews is the only player that immediately comes to mind. Caufield's offensive instincts are outstanding. He's seemingly always in the right position and buries most every scoring chance he gets. The 20-year-old should pot 25-30 goals this coming season.
Trevor Zegras (F, ANA): Zegras is in a similar spot to Caufield in the sense that he should have a chance to produce right away. Caufield is a sniper, though, and Zegras is a playmaker. He can make even the most difficult passes seem routine, and