Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/30/13 at 03:35 PM ET
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
Playing on the blueline in the NHL is challenging at times even for established veterans. But this season a handful of defencemen who haven’t even turned 20 have made their debuts and are sticking around for the long term.
In some cases, like fourth-overall pick Seth Jones of the Nashville Predators, it was expected. But many others, like the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly, the Penguins’ Olli Maatta and Anaheim Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm, have done enough to show that they belong in the pros.
“There’s quite a good group of us,” Rielly said. “It’s tough to make that jump, but we’ve all been able to do it. That’s pretty cool.”
Cool, and not a coincidence. Counting the Minnesota Wild’s Mathew Dumba, the Winnipeg Jets’ Jacob Trouba and the Buffalo Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, six teenage defencemen have played in at least five games.
Predators coach Barry Trotz has a theory on the influx of youth on bluelines around the league.
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