Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early Calder Favorites

Drew Doughty
It's a bit early in the season to be talking about the NHL's end of the year awards, but there are already a few favorites to claim the title of "Rookie of the Year".

As the first pick in last years draft, Steve Stamkos was the preseason favorite to win the Calder this year. Last year it was won by the drafts top pick, Patrick Kane. Playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stamkos has gotten off to a poor start this season. After eight games he has zero goals and only on assist. He has had earned a negative three plus/minus rating while only having limited ice time.

Fabian Brunnström did not play in the first two games for Dallas, but when he did get in he scored a hat-trick. Over the next six games he earned two more goals and an assist. However he also has a plus/minus rating of negative six and leads the league in goals against per sixty minutes. While his offense has been impressive, he has proven to be a liability in his own end.

The Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty has been very solid for them as a rookie defenseman this season. After eight games he has an impressive plus/minus of positive eight, and has been trusted with significant ice time. Against Colorado he even scored a goal, but as a defenseman is not likely to put up big enough offensive numbers to be picked as the Calder winner.

After three solid seasons at the University of North Dakota TJ Oshie is playing as a rookie for the St Louis Blues this season. After eight games he only has three points (two goals and one assist). Still he has been a better two way player than Stamkos or Brunnström, and as such is more likely to be trusted with more playing time throughout the season.

Still it is early to try and figure out who the Calder favorite is. It could still go to a player like Toronto defenseman Luke Schenn who has been playing decently. It could even go to a player like Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe who has plenty of potential, but has yet to even play in a single NHL game.

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