Latest posts by Mike Gallagher (see all)

Every year new players from around the world enter the National Hockey League. However, some players get more media attention than others, regardless of skill and ability. Here are three underrated rookies that are turning heads in 2017:

Matthew Tkachuk:

Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine have had much of the lime light since being drafted first and second overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft this past June. This has turned some heads as Matthew Tkachuk, son of NHLer Keith Tkachuk and drafted sixth overall in 2016, has had an excellent rookie season with the Calgary Flames. After having a sensational season with the London Knights in 2015-16, it was hard to tell if Tkachuk could make an immediate impact at the NHL level. Almost done with the first season of his professional career, Tkachuk has proved doubters wrong amassing 44 points in 65 points. Not only does Tkachuk have the 4th most points on the Flames as a 19 year old, but he also is fifth in overall rookie scoring behind Laine, Matthews, Zach Werenski and William Nylander. If this year has been any indication of what Tkachuk can do, then the Flames will have another star in their roster for a long time to come.

Matthew Tkachuk From The Faceoff

Tkachuk from the impossible angle:

Brady Skjei:

The New York Rangers know good defensemen are hard to find, so they’ve taken their time developing Brady Skjei and it’s paying off in dividends. Since being drafted 28th overall in 2012, the Minnesota native has developed his game in the collegiate system and the American Hockey League before becoming a regular on the Rangers’ blueline this season. The 6’3 211lb defenseman has proved to be quite the offensive threat totaling 32 points in 69 games this season, second for defensemen in points only behind captain Ryan McDonagh. Along with that he is eighth overall in rookie scoring and second in rookie defensemen scoring behind Zach Werenski. At 23 years old and having a modest $925,000 cap hit for this year and 2018, Skjei is showing that he is the next generation of defensemen for the Blueshirts.

Connor Brown:

What bigger dream is it than to play in the National Hockey League for your hometown team? Some players are lucky enough to achieve this dream, but Connor Brown has already gone the extra mile in his professional hockey career thus far. Not only was Brown drafted by the Maple Leafs, but he has moved up from the AHL Toronto Marlies to the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs in just 3 seasons. What makes Brown more underrated compared to the Maple Leafs’ other rookies is that he was drafted #156th overall and has already made an impact at the NHL level. He also finds motivation some extra motivation in playing for his hometown team.

“You skate with guys in the summer, guys that are at the NHL level, and you’re at a par with them,” he said. “So I believed in my abilities, and I believed in my work ethic. That made it easy for me to be motivated. It’s also pretty easy to be motivated when you’re drafted by your hometown team.”

In 67 games this season the 23 year old has gathered 28 points consisting of 15 goals and 13 assists. Although there are less than 20 games remaining in the season, there is a very good chance Brown can hit the 20 goal mark and if the Leafs make the playoffs this season, he would add to an already bolstered offense.

Connor Brown From The Faceoff NHL

Pretty stoked to play for his hometown team: