The Journey: 2015 Rookie Debuts – Part Two

by Kevin LeBlanc on October 17, 2015
  • The Journey
  • The Journey: 2015 Rookie Debuts – Part Two

Looking at the debut performances of some of this season's top rookies.

In this edition of The Journey, we continue with Part Two of chronicling NHL prospects debuts. If you missed Part One last weekend, click here.

Friday, October 9th

Toronto Maple Leafs / Detroit Red Wings

Dylan Larkin (23rd in Dobber’s Top 215 Prospects)

Stat Line: 1 G, 1 A, +3, 6 SOG, 1 Hit, 1 Block, 13:41 TOI, 1:42 PP Time

Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve been pumping Larkin’s tires for a long time. He did not disappoint in his NHL debut, showing off the talent that could make him a star in this league. Playing alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader in a non-checking role certainly helped, but for the majority of the night it was the rookie who was driving the play. Keep in mind that Larkin is a center playing wing for the time being, so a swap back to center ice sends him farther down the depth chart. Check out this speed through the neutral zone, and snipe for his first NHL goal.

Update: Larkin has continued his impressive start, compiling four points in his first three NHL games.

Arizona Coyotes / Los Angeles Kings

Max Domi (12th in Dobber’s Top 215 Prospects)

Stat Line: 1 G, 1 A, +1, 2 SOG, 2 PIM, 14:22 TOI, 2:42 PP Time

Fantasy owners have been anticipating Domi’s debut for a couple of seasons now. Starting on the first line with Antoine Vermette and Mikael Boedker, and adding his first NHL goal and assist, is the kind of debut that has Domi owners licking their chops. He showcased his immense physical talent by collecting the puck at the top of the circles and ripping a shot past Jonathan Quick. If develops chemistry with Vermette and Boedker, and sticks on the top PP unit, Domi could be in for a big rookie campaign.

Update: Domi has parlayed his successful debut into a torrid start to the season. He now has six points in four games, including three multi-point games in his first four. It could be three-horse race for rookie of the year if Domi has anything to say about it.

Saturday, October 10th

Philadelphia Flyers / Florida Panthers

Connor Brickley

Stat Line: 0 Points, 2 PIM, 7 Hits, 9:11 TOI, 1:13 PP Time

Brickley is one of the more interesting prospects who made his debut this past week. As one of the last Panthers to make the team, Brickley’s game is interesting from a multi-category perspective. He plays a hard nosed game and is a relentless forechecker, evidenced by his seven hits in his first NHL game. Playing primarily in a fourth line role it was interesting to see Brickley get some powerplay time, but it could be due to the game being well out of reach. The former second rounder did score 22 goals in his first AHL season last year, so there could be some offensive upside depending on ice time and linemates.

Update: Brickley scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tuesday, October 13th

Vancouver Canucks / Los Angeles Kings

Jake Virtanen

Stat Line: 0 Points, 1 Shot, 3 Hits, 1 Block, 9:18 TOI, 0:00 PP Time

Vancouver made the conscious decision to bring their top prospect along slowly, allowing him to watch the first three games of the season from the press box. Although he was held pointless with modest ice time in his NHL debut, Virtanen’s linemates were encouraging as they did not stash him on the fourth line. He will be a solid multi-category fantasy player moving forward, but it will take some time for him to truly breakout.

Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.