Hope for a post-hype NHL breakout: Be patient with Rasmus Dahlin, Kaapo Kakko and others

The most important word when it comes to young NHL players is one that long-suffering fan bases don't want to hear: patience.

Expectations have undoubtedly been skewed for highly drafted players of late in part because Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews destroyed the development curve for everyone else. Young talents just aren't supposed to average more than a point per game as a rookie and then hit the 100-point mark in Year 2, as McDavid did. And they aren't supposed to score 40 goals out of the gate, as Matthews did.

The truth is, there are so few players who can achieve that level of immediate impact. And as quick as we are to see their early success and anoint them the best of the game's next wave, there's a similar rush to slap the "bust" label on other top picks when they aren't immediately wowing with McDavid-esque production. It's extremely premature.

For fans of struggling teams, with so much hope pinned on players to drag them out of the doldrums, it's understandable why anxiousness takes over. Hours spent watching losing hockey are comforted only by knowing that there's a lottery pick on its way. The desire for immediate impact from those young players is natural. But man, is it rare.