The Colorado Avalanche the opponent Monday night at Consol Energy Center has a stable of young players who appear to be budding stars.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon 18 Matt Duchene 22 Ryan O'Reilly 22 and Gabriel Landeskog 20 -- all forwards -- are among the key players who helped Colorado carry a 7-1 start into the game.

That's not an anomaly Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

He can add Nashville rookie defenseman Seth Jones 19 and Penguins rookie defenseman Olli Maatta 19 to a long list of young players who have stepped into the league and had a rapid impact in recent seasons.

It's not he said a product of evolving systems.

"I don't think the league has changed" Bylsma said.

"There is certainly a thirst to have younger players come into the league maybe quicker than it was years back. I really think the talent and the skill level of the kids -- I say kids but the young players in the game now -- the last five years seven years is completely different than it was 20 years ago.

"What they're able to do -- how they practice the skill level they bring to the game is significantly different than it was 20 years ago."

The Penguins went through a stage in the mid- to late-2000s when they had several top players who were teenagers or in their early 20s including Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin Kris Letang Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury
.

All but Staal now playing for Carolina still are with the club.

Schedule favors Letang

The Penguins don't play again until Friday when the New York Islanders visit Consol Energy Center and that could be enough time for defenseman Kris Letang to get medical clearance to return from an apparent knee injury that dates to training camp.

Letang has been practicing with the team.

Also getting close is winger Matt D'Agostini who also was hurt in the preseason and has been practicing.

D'Agostini though is prohibited from playing before the game Saturday at Toronto because he is on long-term injured reserve which mandates that a player sit out 10 games and 24 days from the start of the NHL season.