In the Nov. 24 issue of The Hockey News, writer/columnist Adam Proteau looks at Leafs rookie blueliner Luke Schenn and nine other fab freshmen who are in the running for rookie of the year.
With that in mind, I figured it was a grand idea to compile a top 10 list of Calder candidates based on the opinions of 25 THN-affiliated minds (truth be told the concept came from former THN intern Justin Dickie).
Each voter submitted a top five with a first-place vote worth 10 points, second worth seven, third worth five, fourth worth three and fifth worth one (the full list of voters is below). Here are the results:
1. Derick Brassard, Columbus – 205 points
After spending most of last season with Syracuse of the American League, the sixth overall pick in 2006 is leading all rooks with 19 points in 18 games. The 21-year-old center garnered 14 of 25 first place votes.
2. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles – 161 points
The Kings are flush with talented young blueliners, but Doughty is the ace. His skating and puck-moving ability is obvious, but he’s also a team-leading plus-6 to go along with his pair of goals and six points.
3. Kris Versteeg, Chicago – 118 points
The Hawks have made a number of crafty moves both on and off the ice in returning the team to contention, but grabbing Versteeg, second in rookie scoring, from the Bruins for Brandon Bochenski in ’07 is perhaps the shrewdest.
4. Mikhail Grabovski, Toronto – 75 points
The rookie goal-scoring leader quickly wore out his welcome in La Belle Province, but has found a Hogtown home on a speedy line with Niklas Hagman and fellow freshman Nikolai Kulemin.
5. Alex Goligoski, Pittsburgh – 26 points
A trial by fire was forced upon the 23-year-old after the Pens blueline was beset by injuries, but the 2004 second-rounder has responded well, picking up the power play slack and scoring four goals and nine points in 17 games.
6. Jakub Voracek, Columbus – 18 points
Yet another young component beyond Brassard and Nikita Filatov for Jackets fans to get excited about, the young Czech, who averaged almost two points per game in the ‘Q’ last season, has played well, but not great in his first NHL campaign.
7. Luke Schenn, Toronto – nine points
His numbers aren’t impressive – two assists, minus-6 – but he’s second on the Leafs in time on ice and coach Ron Wilson called him the team’s best defensive defenseman at one point. Nice praise for a 19-year-old.
7. Luca Sbisa, Philadelphia – nine points
Few expected the 18-year-old, born in Italy but groomed in Switzerland, to emerge as a top-six defender for the Flyers this season, but his solid play in the pre-season and early on in the campaign couldn’t be ignored.
9. Patrik Berglund, St. Louis – eight points
There’s been very little to cheer about for the Blues this season, but Berglund, 20, is a sparkle of light in an otherwise dim situation. The Swede has five goals, 10 points and is a plus-8 for the league’s worst team.
T-10. Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, Edmonton – seven points
Part of a trio of goaltenders currently on the Oil’s roster, ‘Double D’ would be better served playing heavy minutes in the AHL, but can’t be sent down without passing through waivers. Don’t be surprised, though, if he ends up as Edmonton’s unquestioned No. 1 down the stretch.
T-10. Mikkel Boedker, Phoenix – seven points
Yet another 18-year-old who made an NHL roster out of camp, the great Dane is getting first-line time with the Coyotes. Five goals and nine points isn’t head-turning, but things will only improve for this speedy winger.
Others receiving votes: Steven Stamkos (5); Blake Wheeler (2); Nikolai Kulemin (1); Jannik Hansen (1).
THN Staff: Jason Kay, editor in chief; Brian Costello, senior special sections editor; Ken Campbell, senior writer; Sam McCaig, senior copy editor; Ryan Kennedy, writer/editor; Ryan Dixon, writer/editor; Adam Proteau, writer/columnist; Edward Fraser, editor, THN.com; Rory Boylen, web content specialist; Justin Dickie, former intern; Darryl Dobbs, THN.com fantasy expert; John Grigg, copy editor.
THN Team Correspondents: Jim Gintonio, Pho.; Jeremy Rutherford, Stl.; Mike Heika, Dal.; Tim Sassone, Chi.; Ansar Khan, Det.; Randy Sportak, Cgy.; Luke DeCock, Car.; John Glennon, Nsh.; Peter Kerzel, Wsh.; Aaron Portzline, Clb.
Others: Mike Brophy, Sportsnet.ca columnist and former THN senior writer; Brian Duff, NHL Network host and THN.com blogger; Mark Seidel, NACS chief scout and THN.com blogger.
Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog normally appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.