by PuckStopsHere on 11/14/08 at 04:37 PM ET
In the earlier portions of the season, I picked Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks as the best rookie in the NHL. I not longer believe that to be true. Versteeg has fallen to second in the rookie scoring race (tied with Mikhail Grabovski of the Toronto Maple Leafs - who has three more games played). The rookie scoring leader is Derick Brassard of the Columbus Blue Jackets. I think he has been the top rookie in the NHL so far this year.
Brassard has 15 points in 15 games. He leads his Columbus team in points and in */- with a +5 rating, He is scoring at a high rate given that he has only averaged a little over 14 minutes of ice time per game.
Brassard played 17 NHL games last year scoring only two points. He spent most of the season in the AHL, where he was scoring at better than point per game rate. This year he has clearly shown he is ready to be an NHL regular and looks to be on the verge of stardom.
Columbus needs players like Brassard to mature. They have a weak team and have never qualified for the playoffs ever. If Brassard (possibly along with fellow rookies Jakub Voracek and Nikita Filatov) helps give Columbus a good core of young forwards, then the Blue Jackets may compete for the first time in their history.
At this still early point in the season, Derick Brassard is the top player on the Blue Jackets and the top rookie in the NHL. That is far exceeding his expectations.
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