Ranking the best second-half rookies 

February, 23, 2011

It's been an interesting season for rookies. We've seen several freshmen make their respective marks at different times during the season.

In fact, there's been so much young talent emerging throughout the season, I started to get curious about which rookies have picked up the pace in recent weeks. Let's face it, in a long 82-game NHL regular season, some of these kids are going to hit the wall.

I enlisted the help of ESPN stats guru and all-around good guy Vince Masi, who dug into the numbers for all freshmen from Jan. 1 through the games of Monday, Feb. 21. Here's what he discovered.

Grabner has really picked up steam in recent weeks. His recent hot streak -- he scored eight goals in a four-game span -- propelled him up that list. Marchand is the name that sticks out to me. He's been a terrific role player for the Bruins, but had anyone truly realized he'd been so productive in recent weeks? He had another goal last night during a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.