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Artemi Panarin, Trevor van Riemsdyk leading the way for NHL's rookies

No rookie has played more than TvR, and Bread Man's up there, too.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks are a cap-strapped team. To cope with that, they've had to be creative in order to not only stay competitive, but ice a full NHL roster at all.

One way to do that is to make good use of entry-level contracts. Having good, young players on contract for cheap is a useful tool for teams that are up against the cap. After all, when you're just breaking into the NHL, you can only make so much money - and smart teams will use that to their advantage.

Two players in this situation the Hawks are leaning on? Well, obviously Artemi Panarin, the current Calder favorite - but Trevor van Riemsdyk, playing in the Hawks' top four, is leading all NHL rookies in ice time.

Of course it's no surprise to see Panarin up there as well, the only forward in the top-five.

But van Riemsdyk has had to step it up for the Blackhawks, and he has. His name probably won't enter the Calder conversation, but it can't be understated how useful it's been for Chicago to have a defender who doesn't cost much playing such big minutes - with the potential to get better always down the line.