Not every first overall pick is ready to be a star the day they’re drafted. Sure, there are cases like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews who play like a star even as a rookie, but even some first overall picks need time to develop and a poor rookie season isn’t necessarily an indication of their future potential.
In terms of points-per-game as a rookie, Nail Yakupov did better than Steven Stamkos and was roughly in line with Taylor Hall and John Tavares, so clearly a rookie season isn’t the be-all, end-all, even when we’re talking about first overall picks. If you want a more recent example, Jack Hughes is providing it.
Hughes had one of the worst rookie seasons from a number one pick in recent memory. He scored just seven goals and 21 points in 61 contests last season.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that first overall picks jump immediately into the NHL, but an argument could be made that he wasn’t quite ready last season. Clearly he is now though. He bulked up over the offseason and his hard work is paying off. He already has two goals and six points in three contests, including his three-point game on Tuesday.
That’s help propel the Devils to a 2-0-1 start. Not a lot was expected of New Jersey this season and I still don’t like their chances of making the playoffs, but Hughes is showing that they’re at least closer to being a serious playoff contender than people were giving them credit for.
NEW JERSEY 4 NY RANGERS 3
As mentioned above, Jack Hughes scored two goals and registered an assist for the Devils. He has two goals and six points in three games in 2020-21.
Miles Wood netted the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He’s up to three goals and four points in three games.
Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 47 of 50 Rangers shots. He faced a staggering 22 shots in the second period and another 21 in the third. In spite of that workload, he managed to contain New York enough to squeak out with a win.
Mika Zibanejad scored a goal for the Rangers. It was his first goal and second point in three contests.
PHILADELPHIA 3 BUFFALO 0
Brian Elliott faced 40 shots and was able to stop all of them. It was his fifth career shutout since joining Philadelphia and the 41st of his career.
Taylor Hall fired a team-high six shots against Elliott. Hall saw his season-opening three-game point streak come to an end.
Travis Konecny scored the first and therefore game-winning goal. He has four goals and six points in four contests.
Kevin Hayes also found the back of the net. He’s up to two goals and five points in four games.
Carter Hutton stopped 19 of 20 shots through two periods, but he absorbed a high hit from Ivan Provorov. Although Hutton initially stayed in the contest, he was feeling the effects of the blow in the second intermission and couldn’t continue the game. The Sabres were already without Linus Ullmark because he was absent for personal reasons, so third-string goaltender Jonas Johansson stepped into the game and stopped eight of nine shots the rest of the way.
FLORIDA 5 CHICAGO 4 (OT)
Dominik Kubalik scored two goals and registered an assist for Chicago. He had been held off the scoresheet in the first three games of the campaign.
Kevin Lankinen stopped 23 of 28 Panthers shots. It was his first career start.
Patric Hornqvist scored two goals, including a power-play marker at 7:17 of the third period, which tied the game and forced overtime. He has three goals and four points in two games with Florida.
Carter Verhaeghe also had two goals for the Panthers. That gives him two goals and three points in two contests.
Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 30 of 34 shots last night. He surrendered at least a goal in each period during regulation time, including two goals on 15 shots in the second frame.
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WINNIPEG 4 OTTAWA 3 (OT)
Alex Galchenyuk scored a power-play goal at 11:47 of the second period. At the time, it gave the Senators a 3-1 lead, but from there things went downhill for Ottawa.
Blake Wheeler scored the game-tying goal with just 1:17 minutes remaining in the third. He also registered an assist, giving him five points in four games in 2020-21.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored the overtime winner. It was his first goal and second point in three contests.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 38 of 41 Senators shots. That was his first start of the campaign.
At the other end of the ice, Matt Murray saved 24 of 28 shots. He’s allowed at least three goals in each of his first three games.
DETROIT 3 COLUMBUS 2 (OT)
Elvis Merzlikins stopped 24 of 27 Red Wings shots. He has a 0-1-1 record, 4.01 GAA, and .867 save percentage in two starts this season.
Tyler Bertuzzi scored the overtime winner and registered an assist. He’s up to a goal and three points in four contests.
Bobby Ryan continued his hot start with another goal for Detroit. He has four markers in three games.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 22 of 24 shots on Tuesday. He faced eight shots in each frame.
Boone Jenner scored a goal for the Blue Jackets. It was his second goal and third point in four contests.
COLORADO 3 LOS ANGELES 2
Nathan MacKinnon assisted on two of the Avalanche’s three goals. Those were the 499th and 500th points of his career. It took him just 528 contests to reach that milestone.
Mikko Rantanen scored the game-winning goal. He has two goals and three points in three games this season.
Philipp Grubauer saved 23 of 25 Kings shots. He surrendered two goals on eight shots in the third period, but hung on to win the contest.
At the other end of the ice, Calvin Petersen kicked out 21 of 24 shots. It was his first start of the season.
Adrian Kempe found the back of the net for the Kings. He had been held off the scoresheet in his first two games of 2020-21.