Rookie Rankings: Conacher drops
Gallagher replaces Lightning forward at No. 1; Huberdeau vaults to No. 2
Another week, another shuffling of our 2013 Rookie Rankings. While Florida forward Jonathan Huberdeau keeps scoring goals, his team keeps losing. In Montreal, the Canadiens top the Eastern Conference standings while Brendan Gallagher continues to win the hearts of Habs fans with big goals and his relentless second-effort play. And in Tampa Bay, Cory Conacher has cooled off as the Lightning continue to struggle.
As a result, there's a new player in each of the top three rankings. Here's a look at how things shape up this week (statistics are through Sunday, March 10).
1. Brendan Gallagher, forward, Montreal Canadiens
Previous rank: No. 2
Gallagher's leading this list should not come as a surprise if you have watched the Canadiens play this season. His much-talked-about work ethic is igniting his teammates and inspiring the club, which many thought would struggle this season but sit atop the Eastern Conference. "You can't argue the impact this kid is having and you have to admire how big he is playing," said a pro scout. Not only is the 5-foot-9 winger a top rookie, but there is an argument that he's the best player on his team. In 22 games, he has seven goals, eight assists and an impressive plus-9. Three of his goals, including his latest on Saturday night against Tampa Bay, are game winners.