With that said, let's check in on some of the highly-touted rooks and some that have surprised us with their play in this 2013 NHL season.
Here are a handful of players who were primed for big rookie campaigns and were expected to be top Calder candidates.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida PanthersThe 3rd overall pick from 2011 was a lock to make the team and has proven so far that he belongs in the NHL at age 19. He has been protected a little bit by using him as a LW this season instead of at centre, but Huberdeau is leading all rookies in goal scoring with 11 goals in 23 games. Throw in 5 apples and he's got 16 points to rank 2nd among rookies in points. Huby is definitely getting scoring chances with 67 shots on goal already this season so don't be surprised if he's the only rookie to net 20 goals in this shortened season.
Justin Schultz, Edmonton OilersAfter putting up 48 points in just 34 games in the AHL to start the year there was a huge amount of hype surrounding Schultz coming into this season and so far he has lived up to it. He is tied for 3rd in rookie scoring with 13 points in 22 games and has been quarterbacking the Oilers powerplay to 9th overall in the league. Oh yeah, he still has an 11-point cushion in the AHL defensive scoring race and has a 2-point cushion on AHL rookie scoring so there's a chance he could win the Eddie Shore Award for top AHL defenceman and the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award for AHL rookie of the year.
Nail Yakupov, Edmonton OilersAnytime you are a 1st overall pick there will be high expectations to succeed and so far Yakupov has had a solid rookie season. Averaging just over 14 minutes a night he has put up 6 goals and 12 points in 22 games including a memorial first NHL goal. Like many of the other young Oilers, Yakupov will have to work on his defensive game as he is already a -10 on the year. Regardless, the kid has been really fun to watch and continue as he develops.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis BluesTarasenko started this season on fire with 10 points in the first 8 games but cooled off and only managed 2 points in his last 9 games. He was able to show off his offensive game when the Blues were hot, but when they cooled so did Tarasenko including a stretch that saw him be a minus player in 5 straight games. Tarasenko hasn't played since Feb 20th after suffering a concussion, but 6 goals and 12 points in 17 games are a very solid start to his NHL career.
Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal CanadiensThe 3rd overall pick from last summer is looking like a great pick for the Canadiens as he sits tied for 3rd in rookie scoring. Galchenyuk has been getting 3rd line minutes and has posted 3 goals and 13 points in 23 games so far this season. With just over 12 minutes of ice time a game, Gally has been a respectable +5 on the year and helped the Habs to 1st overall in the Eastern Conference. Definitely a future 1st line centre for the historic club.
Here are the rookies that have surprised us so far this season and have earned the right to be mentioned as Calder candidates at the halfway mark.