The ROOKIE RACE

With recent developments with both Evgeni Malkin’s defection and Kessel’s signing in Boston we are forced to take a second look at the Calder trophy standings for this year.

Who are the contenders? Is there anyone who can beat Malkin’s early and higly touted shoe-in for the award?

As we have seen in the last few weeks, players whom we thought were not going to play this year have come back into the fold, and now may make a splash in the NHL. I wonder who will make the biggest impact on the way to winning the Calder Trophy.

Will the highly touted Malkin walk away with it?

Or will he Run?

This is a list of the most relevant contenders I came up with, along with some speculation or consideration.

Evgeni Malkin, PIT

Considered by many to be the best player outside the NHL. Will be a Second line center in Pittsburgh and likely share power-play time with Crosby. Projections for his output are in the high 80s.

Phil Kessel, BOS

Highly talented goal scorer, passed on university development and will make the jump to the big club this year and likely onto the second line with Mark Savard and Glen Murray. Could score 30-40 goals, and maybe even 80 points himself if the rest of the line gels or he sees PP time.

Alexander Radulov, NAS

League leader in the QMJHL last year with 152 pts and will likely crack second line duties this year with Legwand and Sullivan. Had a very impressive 50 game point streak. Projected to get 54 pts.

Glibert Brule, CBJ

Scored 4 pts in 7 Games last year with CBJ, while netting 38 pts/27 GP in minors and also missing 36 games to injury. Expected to slide into Center on either of the top two lines of the Blue Jackets, to play with either Nash, Zherdev, Modin, or Vyborny. Projected to get 57 pts. Or so.

Patrick O’Sullivan, LA

Rookie of the Year in OHL, followed by Rookie of the Year in the AHL last year. Is down-deep in the LA depth charts, but the re-tooling (as opposed to rebuilding) that the team is undergoing could see him make the jump to the second line. Projected to have 53 points, but will do it on his own as the team is not overrun with talent, but rather prospects. Will need chemistry to succeed.

Anze Kopitar, LA

While only 19, curiously, he appears higher on some depth charts then Patrick O’Sullivan does. However, he has the same outlook as O’Sullivan in that he will be required to gel with line-mates to be effective. Projected to garner 30 pts.

Rob Schremp, EDM

Projected 38 pts. Is number 4 on the depth charts, and will maybe have to suffer by adapting to the system in Edmonton, which could hurt his production. On the flip side they could just as likely unleash him as a goal scorer as it was something they lacked during the regular season last year.

Bobby Ryan, ANA

Expected to crack the line-up this year on lower line duties to ‘feel him out’ and see what he can handle. The Ducks are contenders this year, and will need to score the same as they did last year to avoid being ousted early. Could see time playing with Ryan Getlzaf for an Energy line in depth. Getzlaf is coming off a very promising second half. Projected to have 34 pts.

Jiri Hudler, DET

Hudler finished 3rd in the AHL with 96 pts. He climbs into a deep Detroit line-up, with a crowded top two lines, or established players. He will need to perform very well to require someone else’s demotion. Projected 50 pts although Detroit is famous for developing talented European players. He could make a jump to a higher line in order to create more talented bottom end in the line-up, but I doubt it.

Honorable Mentions – Nicholas Backstrom (WAS), Jonathan Toews (CHI), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (EDM), Nikolai Kulemin (TOR)

I have to be somewhere so I have run out of time to write more. Spare me if I miss one or two others that you may prefer, or if I have mistakenly put in someone that does not qualify (I doubt it). Also I am not 100% sure on the required games played in a previous season to no longer qualify for this year, so if I have missed anyone, again, and by all means put their names forth in the comments, and why.


89 Responses to The ROOKIE RACE

  1. celph9 says:

    he was also pretty damn good in the olympics..i think it’s gotta be him brule or wolski

  2. celph9 says:

    crosby will do a lot for him actaully…look at thornton and marleau…who is the top defensive pair gonna be on the ice for? who is the checking line gonan be assigned to shut down? crosby or malkin? they’ll both help each other..

  3. wizard36 says:

    I think Malkin has this award won. With the way Pittsburgh plays and the fact that teams have to wory about Crosby frst, he has the opportunity to score a lot.

    Also, Kessel is going to struggle a bit, especialy early. I don’t remember the last time we had a Calder winning year out of a kid right ou of the draft. Granted Burgeron had a good year, but he didn’t win it.

  4. neilios says:

    Luc Bourdon gonna win the Calder easy the guy is gonna be the QB on the Canucks D and is rock solid in front of his own net.If Bourdon dont win it will be Brule.

  5. celph9 says:

    i think you got that impression of ovechkin from a couple games in the world juniors…and let’s be honest..nobody outside of canada really cares about those..

    who knows who will be better in the long run, but i think ovechkin has the ability to be much more dominant than crosby…with ovechkin everytime he touches the puck you get the feeling that he will do something incredible…it reminds me of forsberg..although they are quite different players..you expect him to do something..crosby i still feel like he can be stopped…not ovechkin..will be interesting to see how they develop..just because crosby is 2 years younger doesnt’ mean he will be better…or that taht explains their seasons…you hear nhl players talk about ovechkin and they gush about him..you know what I mean? they are all amazed by him…most of them even mention phaneuf before they get to crosby

  6. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    and Owen Nolan is from Ireland

  7. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    The next goalie to win the calder will be Jeff Glass

  8. Milohabs says:

    Malkin is an easy favorite to pick. Same way we all knew Phaneuf, Crosby & Ovechkin would be solid competitors for the trophy.

    Fact is, after Malkin it’s wide open, and in MOST years, the finalists (or at least 1 or 2 of them are players no one expected. Often there are young players who just adapt well to the NHL and elevate their game. Look at Ryder.

    At the beginning of his first year no one expected much. He adapted well to the NHL and is now a solid first line winger. I don’t think anyone was expecting Raycroft to be their either

  9. McKT says:

    Northern Ireland actually. It’s a different country.

  10. Gretzkin says:

    Except Martin Brodeur… who I would imagine is credible?

    Anyways, it remains to be seen, that’s for sure. And whomever is better doesn’t really matter to me. As long as they have long fruitful careers, making hockey more exciting to watch. The only reason I’d like to see Crosby do better is that fact that he’s Canadian, but that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. And Ovechkin has proven me wrong, and I’m glad about that.

    And I’m sure that Canadians aren’t the only ones that care about the World Juniors. Otherwise Ovechkin wouldn’t have been crying.

    International Hockey has always been more important than the NHL to those who aren’t North American. The tides have certainly been changing in the past few years, but for those guys it was Olympic Gold before it was a Stanley Cup.

    The World Juniours is an important key to playing your way onto the International Stage, and upping your stock as a player.

  11. cecilturtle says:

    Nigel Dawes….. Will lead all rookies in goals scored.

    Jarkko Immonen….. Will list among top rookies in assists and points.

    If Dawes can beat out Hossa for the 4th line Left wing roster spot??? The Rangers 4th line should be Immonen centering Dawes and Adam Hall. I could see this line putting up big point totals if matched up against other teams 4th line.

    Cecil Turtle

  12. BruMagnus says:

    I’m not sure which videos you were watching, but the ones I’ve seen on youtube and at http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/multimedia/archive.php?mm_type=video&cat_id=26&cat_name=On-Ice%20Highlights show at the very minimum is absolutely brilliant Mario-esque reach and soft skilled hands. Check out the goal he jumps over the goalie too.

    And lastly, did you check out Malkin at all during the Juniors, Olympics or Worlds? He was phenomenal. Clearly one of Russia’s top players, more noticeable than Ovechkin.

  13. BruMagnus says:

    and rightfully so he should be overlooked by the forwards since he will be nowhere near their callibre. Dion Phaneuf is good, but he’s nowhere near Crosby or Ovechkin’s level.

    Malkin is in his own level as well, already considered a franchise player. Luc Bourdon is no franchise player.

  14. BruMagnus says:

    87 points (Crosby’s number). or else 101 points (breaks 100 (and Mario) but just shy of Sid).

    pitty ties for 7th, 8th due to less wins.

  15. BruMagnus says:

    Malkin is his own Crosby. If he were on Crosby’s line as a natural winger, think Ovechkin, you’d have a 50+ goal scorer for his rookie campaign.

    No, he will most likely center Ryan Malone (his breakout year for you pool people, I’m betting he has an Anson Carter like year, 30+ goals) and Mark Recchi (ugh) unless the Pens pick up Carter or other. Or else maybe Malkin gels with Christensen or Ouellet or Armstrong.

    But the main thing is (a) he will play on the powerplay either with Sid (and rack up points) or when Sid has just worn out the first PK squad; (b) he is a phenomenal penalty killer, and should get roughly 4-6 goals shorthanded this year, bringing back some memories of Mario’s greatness in that department; (c) he won’t be going up against the enemy’s top checkers/defensemen all the time as Sid will be the main focus… at least at first. Opposition will have to beware how to neutralize these two.

  16. BruMagnus says:

    “There is no point in commenting on rumors unless they have some credibility behind them, and this one does not have it.” – so why the comment? hehe

    It still really pisses me off that we didn’t get Kovalev back. He’d be a perfect fit to snipe in some passes from Sid or Malk.

  17. BruMagnus says:

    Very few (if any that I know of, names/links please?) mentioned Phaneuf before Crosby. That’s insane.

    Crosby was fracking 18!!! 18!!! One of few players to go straight from the draft into the NHL and dominate! No offense to the big guy, but had Mario not played this year, Crosby would have had more game time and more points. IN FACT, if you check it, his production is actually better than Ovechkins. He became the YOUNGEST PLAYER EVER to reach 100 points, setting his first record, and breaking Mario’s team record that we thought would be intact for ages. He EASILY LED the tournament in scoring at the World’s this year (should even have had 3 more points but their points system is different than NHL).

    Vs. Ovie. He didn’t play two years of pro hockey against adults. He played in the juniors with kids his age and size. He just turned 19 last week, and I guarantee you at 20 years old, he has a better season than Ovechkin’s rookie year, which is the perfect tell since it will be Crosby’s 3rd year of pro hockey, just as this was Ovechkin’s 3rd year of pro hockey, and he’ll be 20 years old, just as Ovechkin was 20 years old.

    Gretzky himself said this is the kid to watch out for to break some of his records. Check out (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=4093&hubname=nhl-penguins) to see all the awards he has won in Juniors up until now. There’s quite simply no one else who compares to that.

    Everytime CROSBY has the puck you see some magic. Most of the times Ovechkin has it, he loses it. Only rarely, and almost never in a situation that matters to the team, does Ovechkin really do anything of merit. It’s like the team is down 4-0 with 2 minutes left and he scores a highlight goal, which to his credit (I love him) shows his passion for the game. Or else the team is up 5-1 and he scores with a minute left to get his point for the day.

    You watch. This season will be more about Crosby than Ovechkin. And Malkin may even have more highlights than Ovechkin.

  18. SensShark says:

    And thats why we will prob trade emery this year b4 glass is too old in the minors.

    Also Malkin hands down for Calder…..this year it won’t even be close!

  19. SensShark says:

    Yes Thornton helped out Marleau just as much as Cheechoo (although indirectly).

  20. AHLoldie says:

    First of all, I’d be surprised if Kessel gets even 50 points in his first season. Malkin should be a conservative 75 (25g & 50 a), and if he plays enough with Crosby on the PP, he could add another 15 goals. Malkin’s reach rivals that of Mario, and everyone knows what that can mean on the PP. Crosby can make Malkin unstoppable. A lot of US fans don’t like Sid the kid, but he’s that good.

  21. Oilersrun says:

    Alexei Mikhnov…This kid has some serious moves. If he makes the NHL this year….watch him. Take a look at Youtube!!! You will be in for a treat!

  22. Oilersrun says:

    Hey, Check out Alexei Mikhnov…..all I can say is WOW! Youtube!

  23. goleafsgo1991 says:

    I broke my contenders down into groups by grades…the grade is affected by their talent level, their readiness, their potential position and line-mates within the team, and their potential amount of games played. The grade actually reflects more their odds for the Calder as opposed to the actual talent of the player. This means that the “B” players probably aren’t as good as alot of the players ranked below them, it’s just they have more of a shot of playing a full season. I ranked the top 10, the rest are listed by team.

    A+

    1. Evgeni Malkin, PIT

    A

    2. Phil Kessel, BOS

    3. Patrick O’Sullivan, LAK

    4. Wojtek Wolski, COL

    5. Cam Barker, CHI

    6. Gilbert Brule, CLB

    7. Luc Bourdon, VAN

    8. Alexander Radulov, NSH (My favourite of the bunch)

    9. Matt Carle, SJS

    10. Rob Schremp, EDM

    Andrei Kostitsyn, MTL

    Carlo Colaiacovo, TOR

    B+

    Braydon Coburn, ATL

    Mark Stuart, BOS

    Jiri Hudler, DET

    Anze Kopitar, LAK

    Jeff Tambellini, NYI

    B

    Dustin Penner, ANA

    Mark Popovic, ATL

    Brandon Bochenski, CHI

    Loui Eriksson, DAL

    Ladislav Smid, EDM

    Anthony Stewart, FLA

    Josh Harding, MIN

    Petteri Nokelainen, NYI

    Noah Welch, PIT

    Aleksandr Suglobov, TOR

    Ian White, TOR

    C+

    Tobias Stephan, DAL

    Jim Howard, DET

    Jason Bacashihua, STL

    Ben Ondrus, TOR

    Eric Fehr, WSH

    C

    Yan Stastny, BOS

    Daniel Paille, BUF

    Eric Nystrom, CGY

    Alexandre Picard, CLB

    Marc-Antoine Pouliot, EDM

    Alexei Mikhnov, EDM

    Roman Voloshenko, MIN

    Jarkko Immonen, NYR

    Alexei Kaigorodov, OTT

    Josh Hennessy, OTT

    Ryan Potulny, PHI

    Alexandre Picard, PHI

    Jordan Staal, PIT

    David Backes, STL

    Andy Wozniewski, TOR

    Jay Harrison, TOR

    Brendan Bell, TOR

    D

    Mark Giordano, CGY

    Travis Zajac, NJD

    Nigel Dawes, NYR

    Matt Jones, PHO

    Doug O’Brien, TBL

    Go ‘head n rip ’em apart!

  24. jxo136 says:

    wow that wasn’t a nice thing to say.

  25. jxo136 says:

    I disagree with your comment that Crosby won’t do much to help Malkin if he’s on the other line…

    Indirectly, he will definatly help Malkin. Being Sydney Crosby, the opposite team will automatically play their top defenders against him, leaving, at best, the 2nd or 3rd defender to work against Malkin. Just by playing the game, Crosby alleviates a lot of pressure on Malkin, allowing him a better opportunity to excel.

  26. leafs_suck_sens_rule says:

    k

  27. pensfan29 says:

    CHECK OUT MY MYSPACE… I GOT VIDEOS OF MALKIN THERE…. ACTUALLY LIKE A 6 MIN HIGHLIGHT REEL

    http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/SHUTOUTKING16

  28. pensfan29 says:

    MALKIN WILL SCORE 110…. IN THE SUPER LEAGUE HE HAD 47 POINTS (I THINK… MAYB 46) BUT THEY DONT COUNT SECOND ASSISTS…. IMAGINE HOW MANY MORE POINTS HE WOULD HAVE HAD….. AND THATS IN A LOW SCORING LEAGUE C’MON

    MALKIN MAY PUSH FOR 125 IF HE IS ON A LINE WITH RECCHI AND MALONE PLUS PP TIME WITH CROSBY AND GONCHAR

    EKMAN CROSBY ARMSTRONG

    MALONE MALKIN RECCHI

    STAAL??? MOORE TALBOT

    STONE CHRISTENSEN _______

  29. Pedro says:

    Why does everyone mention Schremp, he’s gonna play in the AHL, Scott Howson pretty much said Mihkinov is on the 2nd line.

  30. Pedro says:

    I think you ranked Mikhinov way to low. He’s like 6 ft 4, 240 pounds. He was one of the Russian Super Leagues best players, and was pretty much handed the a spot on the 2nd line with Joffery Lupul and Petr Sykora. He will finnish in the top three in scoring for rookies. Check out YOU-Tube.

    Schremp is good but will be AHL bound, he’s either in the top 2 lines or in the minors, and the Oilers top two lines are already stacked.

  31. mojo19 says:

    My pick is Radulov (i guess 75-80 pts), runner up Malkin (70-75 pts).

  32. mojo19 says:

    John Pohl doesn’t qualify as a rookie.

  33. goleafsgo1991 says:

    The reason i put Mikhnov so low is because, though he was the first Russian to resign on June 30th, he is still currently in Russia and his team officials most likely have his passport. Two-weeks has come an gone (more like 6) and he still hasn’t signed on with Edmonton. His debut may be delayed or may not happen/ If he had a contract signed or atleast was in NA and in negotiations he would have gotten an A…same goes for Kaigorodov. If he doesn’t play then Schremp is likely to get a pretty good shot at the spot, given the fact he was one of their better players last pre-season and effectively ran their powerplay. The main reason he was returned to the OHL is because Edmonton didn’t want to start him at 19 and put him into free-agency a year sooner. I’d say a 60 point season from Schremp wouldn’t be a surprise given he was amongst the top-6 forwards.

  34. goleafsgo1991 says:

    The reason i put Mikhnov so low is because, though he was the first Russian to resign on June 30th, he is still currently in Russia and his team officials most likely have his passport. Two-weeks has come an gone (more like 6) and he still hasn’t signed on with Edmonton. His debut may be delayed or may not happen/ If he had a contract signed or atleast was in NA and in negotiations he would have gotten an A…same goes for Kaigorodov. If he doesn’t play then Schremp is likely to get a pretty good shot at the spot, given the fact he was one of their better players last pre-season and effectively ran their powerplay. The main reason he was returned to the OHL is because Edmonton didn’t want to start him at 19 and put him into free-agency a year sooner. I’d say a 60 point season from Schremp wouldn’t be a surprise given he was amongst the top-6 forwards.

  35. Pedro says:

    I am in Edmonton. According to media reports out here, as well as insiders out here. Mikhov is a done deal to be here by training camp, and may have already signed with the club, but yes i understand your points. Very valid, and suprised someone other then Oiler fans was aware of Mikhnov’s potential on this forum. Assistant Gm Scott Howson seem’s to believe Mikhnov will replace Samsonov on the second line and put up more points. Maybe dreaming but if you see the clips of him, it maybe closer to reality.

    Good post by the way.

  36. Pedro says:

    Malkin will win it by a nose over Alexie Mikhnov. You heard it here first.

  37. woodsco85 says:

    Yeah he does… why wouldn’t he?

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