The impact several rookies are making on the NHL is one of the major storylines of the 2023-24 season. Each week, will examine topics related to this season's class in the Rookie Watch.

This week, the top five rookies in the Atlantic Division (in alphabetical order):

John Beecher, C, Boston Bruins: The 22-year-old (6-foot-3, 216 pounds) has been a pleasant surprise for coach Jim Montgomery. Beecher, the last of eight players from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team to be chosen in the first round (No. 30) of the 2019 NHL Draft, leads all NHL rookies in face-off winning percentage (53.6) and face-off wins (81) among skaters with at least 150 draws taken. He's proven to be a reliable defensive forward with good speed and a long reach, and has become a vital part of Boston's penalty-killing unit, which ranks first in the League (91.5 percent). Beecher leads all first-year forwards in the Atlantic Division in average ice time while short-handed (1:48; minimum 10 games).

The native of Elmira, New York, is tied for third among NHL rookies in hits (27) and third among Atlantic rookies in blocked shots (10) in 16 games. He has one goal and one assist, and averages 10:35 of ice time centering the fourth line with left wing Jakub Lauko and Oskar Steen. He has seemingly filled a void created after the departure of defensive forward Tomas Nosek, who signed a one-year contract with the Devils on July 19.

"I've played on so many high-powered offenses; you look back at my time at [the NTDP] and then over at the University of Michigan, always kind of playing that power forward role, being heavy, being hard to play against in the D-zone," Beecher said. "It's definitely something I take a lot of pride in."

BOS@DAL: Beecher goes post and in for his first NHL goal

Ridly Greig, C, Ottawa Senators: The 21-year-old (6-0, 184) has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury, but still ranks third among Atlantic Division forwards with seven points (two goals, five assists) in nine games. Greig was injured midway through the first period of a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings after he crashed into the boards awkwardly attempting a hit on Nov. 2. At the time of his injury, the No. 28 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft was thriving as the third-line center between Mathieu Joseph and either Vladimir Tarasenko or Dominik Kubalik, averaging 14:17 of ice time.

"The small decisions he makes within a game are far beyond his years," TSN analyst Dave Poulin said of Greig. "He knows exactly when to dump it in, where to position, how to do it. I think he's a guy you'd line up with and say he's easy to play with because you know where he's going to be and what he's going to do."

OTT@PIT: Greig gives Senators lead with PPG

Matthew Knies, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs: The 21-year-old left wing, chosen in the second round (No. 57) in the 2021 NHL Draft, is tied for sixth among NHL rookies with nine points (five goals, four assists) while averaging 14:07 of ice time in 17 games. He's worked his way onto the top line alongside center Auston Matthews and right wing Mitchell Marner, and has five points (three goals, two assists) while averaging 15:08 of ice time in eight games in November. He ranks second among NHL rookies in the Atlantic with 26 hits, is second in takeaways (eight) and first among all NHL rookies (minimum 15 games) in shooting percentage (27.8).

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Knies spent the summer training there with Matthews. He signed with Toronto after his second season at the University of Minnesota, where he had 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists) and a plus-46 rating in 40 games. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the best NCAA men's ice hockey player.

"He's shown he's a guy who can play and be a difference-maker," Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said.

TOR@MIN: Knies grabs the lead with one-timer

Matthew Poitras, C, Boston Bruins: Poitras (5-11, 180), a right-handed shot, has provided the Bruins with center depth in a season after Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci each announced their retirement. The 19-year-old, chosen in the second round (No. 54) of the 2022 NHL Draft, ranks tied for ninth among NHL rookies with eight points (four goals, four assists) and has averaged 14:56 of ice time in 16 games. He has been slotted in a third-line role of late but has shown his versatility by scaling the lineup throughout the season. He is first among rookies in takeaways (13) and tied for ninth in blocked shots (12), proving his willingness to get to the tough areas of the ice to win puck battles.

It'll be interesting to see if the Bruins will loan Poitras to Hockey Canada for participation in the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy appreciates the confidence Poitras has shown as a young player in a big role.

"I think that's been the biggest thing is his confidence with the puck," McAvoy said. "We've played a lot of teams here to start that play a man-on-man style. Wherever he is in the offensive zone; whether he's going to carry it, he's going to hold it, protect it and wait until he sees a good play. That's super impressive."

WSH@BOS: Poitras scores slick goal to even the score

Joseph Woll, G, Toronto Maple Leafs: The 25-year-old (6-3, 202), selected in the third round (No. 62) of the 2016 NHL Draft, is first among NHL rookie goalies in wins (6), is tied for first in goals-against average (2.90) and first in save percentage (.909) in 10 games (eight starts). Woll made 33 saves in a 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild to complete the 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden on Sunday. He's been sharing time with Ilya Samsonov (4-1-2, 3.56 GAA, .878 save percentage) this season, winning three of his past four starts.

Woll has excelled in denying shots from mid-range or the high slot area with a .945 save percentage, which is well above the League average (.901), per NHL Edge.

"I feel great about our goalies; Woll has won us games this year," Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. "[Samsonov] has had some tough nights but he's also had great nights and he carried us through last season. I've got lots of confidence in those guys, but they have to stay with it. For [Woll] it's a little different, he's growing and maturing into the League and for 'Sammy', he's played a lot in the League and just needs to find his game and his foundation.

"But 'Woller' has shown this year, with his ability, that he can do it."

Woll lays out and makes incredible pad stop up close