These are nervous days for teenage players around the NHL. The clock is ticking, their bags are packed. Will they stay or will they go? And, perhaps more to the point for NHL teams, what happens to these elite prospects when a team elects to keep them rather than send them back to the cloistered lives of major junior hockey? It's not just assessing what a player can do on the ice. "You really have to know what they're like as people," Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini told ESPN.com this week. Tambellini and the Oilers are poster boys for the "staying or going" debate. A year ago, the team opted to keep three high-end rookies in their everyday lineup: 2010 No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi. This season, the Oilers have another decision to make in the next couple of days -- whether to keep Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in this past June's draft. He leads the team and all NHL rookies as of Wednesday with five goals and eight points in his first eight games.
Keeping rookies a tough decision
ESPN | Oct 27