Top rookie tournament players debated by

Rookie tournaments have begun across North America, marking the unofficial start to the 2023-24 NHL season.

Though all eyes will be on Connor Bedard, the center chosen by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, several other promising rookies also merit attention.

Bedard will play at the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase in St. Paul, Minnesota, joining Blackhawks rookies against the against the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild from Friday through Sunday.

Here are some of the other players, in alphabetical order, to watch this weekend, according to a panel of writers.

Yaroslav Askarov, Nashville Predators

I’m turning my eyes toward the net and a team that’s had tremendous play in goal for a long, long time. Though the Predators seem set in net with Juuse Saros, they also have the good fortune to have one of the best goalie prospects around in Askarov. I’m going to be tuning in to see if the 21-year-old can make a statement after he had a 2.69 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and three shutouts in 48 games with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League and a one-game cameo with Nashville. Askarov has talent, athleticism and all the tools to be an elite goalie. With Saros holding down the position, the Predators can afford to let Askarov develop, but I’ll be watching the 2023 Rookie Showcase in Estero, Florida from Friday through Monday (Predators, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning) to see how he stacks up against his fellow rookies. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Logan Cooley, Arizona Coyotes

The 19-year-old center has a chance to be one of the most exciting rookies in the NHL not named Connor Bedard. The No. 3 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft signed his three-year, entry-level contract July 27. He could have gone back to the University of Minnesota for his sophomore season, but, honestly, for what? He had 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists) in 39 games as a freshman last season and has nothing to prove in college hockey. Center Adam Fantilli, taken by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the No. 3 pick in the 2023 draft, won the Hobey Baker Award, not Cooley. But so what? Cooley would have liked to have won a national championship and be named the best player in college hockey, but his future is in Arizona and he’s arguably the Coyotes’ most exciting prospect since forward Clayton Keller came out of Boston University in 2017 following his freshman season. Cooley has a chance to be a huge part of the Coyotes’ present this season; it’ll begin at the 2023 Rookie Faceoff Tournament in Las Vegas from Friday through Monday (Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks). — Dan Rosen, senior writer

Adam Fantilli, Columbus Blue Jackets

The 18-year-old could become the No. 1 center Columbus has needed. He led NCAA men’s hockey with 65 points (30 goals, 35 assists) in 36 games as a freshman at the University of Michigan…

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Read More: Top rookie tournament players debated by 2023-09-16 06:01:43

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