Who Had The Best Rookie Season in Phoenix Coyotes History? Round 2 Begins

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Round 2 of the tournament begins with Keith Ballard facing off against Martin Hanzal.

Round two begins with the top seed Keith Ballard taking on the top vote-getter Martin Hanzal for a spot in the final round of the best rookie season in Phoenix Coyotes history tournament.

Reminder: Voting will be open for 48 hours and the winner of the match-up will be announced via FFH's Facebook and Twitter. For a full list of rules and criteria, click here.

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As round two is now underway, let's take a look back at the cases for both the 1-seed Ballard and the 4-seed Hanzal.

Case for Ballard

Ballard's first NHL minutes came during the first season after the full-season lockout. Unlike most rookies, Ballard played all 82 games in his rookie season, a feat that only one other Coyote on this list accomplished.

The former first round pick is the only defenseman on this list, yet he scored his fair share of points. The 2005-2006 season saw Ballard score eight goals and 39 points including 20 points on special teams (STP: 16 power play points and 4 short-handed points). His rookie year still stands as the best offensive year of his career.

As a 23-year-old rookie, Ballard played mostly on the Coyotes' third defensive pairing, providing a solid two-way game.

GP G A P STP SOG
82 8 31 39 20 102

Case for Hanzal

Hanzal's first NHL season coincided with a rookie class (2007-2008) that includes three players on this list. The Czech stepped into the NHL and played 72 games in his rookie year. He scored eight goals and 35 points while taking over 1,000 face-offs that season, winning 46.1 percent of them.

Number 11 contributed on special teams as well scoring his jersey number in power play assists. The 07-08 season remains the 6' 6" center's best offensive season (points wise) of his career.

GP G A P STP SOG FO%
72 8 27 35 13 111 46.1%
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