Barzal was drafted 16th overall by the New York Islanders in the 2015 NHL entry draft and spent the last four seasons in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds. With 16 goals and 42 assists, Barzal lead all rookies in points and is at around a point-per-game pace.
With impressive speed and skating, he is an exciting player to watch. While Barzal arguably has a better supporting cast than Boeser, there’s no denying that he makes his teammates better.
Boeser, drafted 23rd overall by Vancouver in 2015, spent the last two seasons at the University of North Dakota. In 51 games this season, Boeser has recorded 47 points, 26 goals and 21 assists, and is the rookie lead in goals. He is coming off a big All-Star weekend, in which he was named MVP of the tournament.
When making the case for Boeser, it’s important to note his team currently sits bottom five in the standings, where as Barzal and the Islanders sit in the final wildcard spot in the East.
Though he hasn’t received quite the amount of attention Barzal and Boeser have, Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy has quietly put together a solid rookie season. The 2016 first round pick has been a solid addition to Boston’s blue line. Coyotes winger Clayton Keller emerged as an early favorite due to his hot start but has since cooled off. While others have been putting together solid rookie seasons, it will likely be between Barzal and Boeser.