NHL rookie rankings: Elias Pettersson is the clear front-runner

Elias Pettersson is averaging 1.06 points per game, the most productive season by a rookie on a per-game basis in 12 seasons. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 rookie class has some elite players at the top of it, but unlike in recent years, things tend to thin out a little faster when it comes to first-year players. As most teams have played about 75 percent of their games, we thought it was a good time to take a look at the current rookies.

There is little question about who is at the top.

1. Elias Pettersson, C, Vancouver Canucks

After Pettersson started his NHL career with a five-goal, eight-point outburst over his first five games, you might as well have called the Rookie of the Year race at that point. Of course, despite injury costing him multiple games, Pettersson kept running away from the pack all the way to this point in the season. He had a 19-point advantage on his next closest rookie competitor heading into Thursday night. Pettersson, with his 1.06 points-per-game scoring rate, is also having the most productive season by a rookie on a per-game basis since Evgeni Malkin registered 1.09 points per game in 2007.