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Original Issue

Clubs Like Young (Cheap) Talent Abundance of Rookies

The Canucks' Jason King is one of the leading candidates for the
Calder Trophy, but diligent voters will have their hands full
sifting through a rookie class that is marked as much by quality
as quantity. There were 64 rookies on opening-night rosters this
season, compared with 46 last year. Why the youth movement?

First, this is an unusually talented group that included four
18-year-olds: Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, Penguins goalie
Marc-Andre Fleury, Panthers forward Nate Horton and Hurricanes
forward Eric Staal. Secondly, first-year players usually come
cheaper than vets. It's no accident that the teams with the most
rookies--the Penguins (six), Predators (five) and Blackhawks
(five)--have payrolls that rank in the bottom quarter of the