Battle of the rookies in San Jose

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle and Shawn Horcoff are knocked to the ice by San Jose Sharks' Douglas...

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle and Shawn Horcoff are knocked to the ice by San Jose Sharks' Douglas Murray (3) and Joe Pavelski in front of netminder Antero Niittymaki during NHL action at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Nov. 27, 2010. (PERRY MAH/EDMONTON SUN)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:59 PM ET

SAN JOSE Its been billed as the battle of rookies, overshadowing the high-profile veteran talent that will be on the ice.

Tuesday nights game between the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks features three players in contention for rookie-of-the-year honours with Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall going up against Logan Couture.

I saw him in the OHL and he was a great player there, said Hall. I cant really say Im surprised with how well hes doing here.

He was always a good passer in the OHL, he always had a lot more assists than goals. But his goal-scoring prowess this year, from what Ive seen, is very good and thats why hes scoring so many goals.

Couture, 21, goes into the game leading all NHL rookies in scoring with 17 goals and seven assists for 24 points in 33 games.

Eberle, 20, and Hall, 19, are just behind him with 22 and 19 points respectively.

Theyre very good players, said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. You can put (Linus) Omark and (Magnus) Paajarvi in that group as well. Theyre all exciting players and were lucky to have them playing for our respective clubs. They all bring something a little different to the table, theyve all been effective this year and its exciting coming tonight and seeing them all play.

Unlike the Oilers rookies, Couture is insolated, by having the likes of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau on his team. The Sharks rookie also has post-season experience to fall back on, having been called up for the playoff run last year.

I still feel like a rookie, Im still learning the league, Im still young and Im learning all the stuff that comes along with being a rookie, Couture said. Id be lying if I would have said Id have 17 goals at this point in the season, but Ive always been confident in the way I can play.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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