4. Rookie Class of 2020-21
Training Camps opening up are exciting anyway, but especially so for fans of those teams who have an elite stud about to embark on his rookie year.
Training Camps and the preseason always give us a first look at that year’s rookie intake, but this year those first-year players will only have inner-team scrimmages before they make their NHL debut.
And there is a lot of rookie talent to get excited about today as Camps open.
The obvious one is Alexis Lafreniere, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, who will begin his first NHL Camp with the New York Rangers today.
Expectations are incredibly high for Lafreniere who is a generational talent, and the elite winger will be looking to make a good first impression for the Rangers and nail down a top-six role heading into the 2020-21 season.
Quinton Byfield, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, will be absent from the start of LA Kings’ Training Camp due to his current involvement in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, but there will be a plethora of other rookies to keep an eye on.
For instance, stud goaltender Ilya Sorokin finally hit the ice in a New York Islanders uniform earlier today, rising star defenseman Alexander Romanov is on the ice for the Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild fans will get their first proper sighting of Kirill Kaprizov.
And one under-the-radar rookie to watch is defenseman Mikko Lehtonen who, despite being 26-years-old, will make his NHL debut in 2020-21 after signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the offseason and big things are expected of the blueliner.
Watching how this year’s crop of rookies adapt to their first few days of NHL scrimmages will be one of the biggest storylines to keep an eye on, and Alexis Lafreniere in particular should draw a lot of attention and media coverage given the lofty expectations on his shoulders.