If final season was any indication, making an attempt to handicap the Calder Trophy race in September as soon as once more might show to be one other colossal waste of time.
However as we all know, each season is totally different.
Coming into the 2021-22 marketing campaign, Cole Caufield of the Montreal Canadiens was the overwhelming pre-season favorite to be topped the NHL’s high rookie at yr’s finish. And despite the fact that the 21-year-old sniper confirmed super promise beneath Martin St. Louis, everyone knows how that labored out.
This time round, there appears to be no scarcity of great contenders for the honour. To be eligible for the Calder Trophy, a participant should have not performed in additional than 25 NHL video games in any previous season, nor in six or extra NHL video games in every of any two previous seasons.
Right here’s a top-10 record of rookies to observe:
The beneath rankings are derived from Sportsnet’s top-250 pre-season fantasy rankings and are quantified based mostly on projection, age, and potential.
1. Matty Beniers, C, Seattle Kraken (SN Rank: 122)
The 2021 second total choose made his extremely anticipated debut this previous spring and didn’t disappoint, tallying three objectives and 9 factors in 10 outings for the enlargement Kraken. The Hobey Baker finalist was a busy man final season. Along with starring for the Michigan Wolverines on the collegiate degree, the pivot additionally suited up for america on the postponed World Junior Championship in December and the Winter Olympics in February. Beniers tasks to be Seattle’s No. 1 centre on opening night time.
2. Mason McTavish, LW, Anaheim Geese (SN Rank: 143)
On the heels of capturing World Junior gold and match MVP honours final month in Edmonton, McTavish may very well be primed for a monster rookie marketing campaign for Anaheim. Like Beniers, the 19-year-old was in all places final season. Actually, he suited up for six totally different groups at quite a lot of totally different ranges: Anaheim (NHL), San Diego (AHL), Peterborough (OHL), Hamilton (OHL), Canada (World Junior), Canada (Winter Olympics). Final fall, McTavish notched two objectives and an help in 9 video games to start out the season for the Geese earlier than finally being despatched again to junior. Whereas there aren’t any ensures, McTavish shouldn’t have any downside securing a top-six winger function to start out the season for the Geese.
3. Logan Thompson, G, Vegas Golden Knights (SN Rank: 145)
With Robin Lehner on the shelf for the season, Vegas’ No. 1 job is ripe for the taking and at this level, it’s Thompson’s to lose. In 19 appearances final yr, 17 of which have been begins, the 25-year-old posted a 10-5-3 report to go together with a 2.68 goals-against common, .914 save-percentage and one shutout. With Adin Hill and Laurent Brossoit behind him, regardless of the dearth of NHL expertise, Thompson is unequivocally the highest crease choice for the Golden Knights shifting ahead.
4. Owen Energy, D, Buffalo Sabres (SN Rank: 158)
Seemingly like everybody else on this rookie crop, Energy additionally was in every single place final season. Actually, the 19-year-old adopted just about the identical path as Beniers, besides he performed for Canada, not the U.S. Moreover, the 2021 first total choose completed the yr with Buffalo, tallying two objectives and one help in eight contests. Energy tasks to play top-four minutes proper out of the gate.
5. Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators (SN Rank: 174)
After signing his entry-level contract in March, a hand damage saved the NCAA standout from making his NHL debut final spring. With that in thoughts, it seems like he’s absolutely recovered and it’s all methods go for the beginning of coaching camp. The 2020 fifth total choose was a monster in two seasons for North Dakota and has been equally as spectacular on the nationwide stage for the U.S. The 20-year-old puck mover might be given each alternative to crack the opening-night roster; Search for Sanderson to quarterback Ottawa’s second power-play unit.
6. Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, Montreal Canadiens (SN Rank: 181)
At this level, it’s nonetheless unclear the place Slafkovsky, who went first total to Montreal in June, will play this season. After all, the Slovakian might be given each alternative to make the staff, however contemplating the Canadiens are firmly in a rebuild, they’ll be good with their choice. In 31 outings for TPS Turku within the SM-liiga final season, the winger notched 5 objectives and 10 factors. Moreover, the 19-year-old scored seven occasions in seven video games for Slovakia on the Olympics.
7. Cole Perfetti, C/RW, Winnipeg Jets (SN Rank: 201)
In 18 appearances for the Jets final season, the 2020 tenth total choose had two objectives and 7 factors. The winger added added six extra objectives and 15 factors throughout 17 complete AHL contests. There’s no query Perfetti has the expertise, it’s all about placing it collectively now. On high of that, Rick Bowness’ arrival might show to be excellent news for the ahead. Over the previous few seasons, the 67-year-old performed a pivotal function for Dallas in creating a few of their blue-chip prospects like Jason Robertson. Perfetti ought to get a protracted take a look at a top-six winger function in coaching camp. Be conscious.
8. Marco Rossi, C, Minnesota Wild (SN Rank: 205)
Rossi’s feeling nice and contemplating every little thing he’s been by means of the previous few years, that’s all that issues. Again in late 2020, the 20-year-old was identified with myocarditis — a coronary heart situation — stemming from issues from COVID-19 and was compelled out of motion for a protracted time period. All issues thought-about, the 2020 ninth total choose is coming off a really strong season. He notched 18 objectives and 53 factors in 63 video games for Iowa (AHL) and was held pointless in two video games for Minnesota. Coming into camp, Rossi has a reputable shot to a solidify a top-six function.
9. Calen Addison, D, Minnesota Wild (SN Rank: 212)
Due to who’s in entrance of him within the pecking order on the again finish in Minnesota, chalk this one up as a deep sleeper with super potential to shock. Crucial factor right here is that Addison is lastly poised to develop into a full-time NHLer, a place that was freed up with the latest commerce of Dmitriy Kulikov. Lengthy-term, the previous Pittsburgh second rounder figures to be a big-time distinction maker for Minnesota’s energy play, one which positioned 18th within the NHL in 2021-22. Addison had 4 factors in 15 video games with the Wild final season and added 34 factors in 43 outings with Iowa (AHL). Train persistence.
10. Shane Wright, C, Seattle Kraken (SN Rank: 235)
Much like Slafkovsky, Wright’s fast non-keeper league worth is mediocre at finest due to the dearth of readability on the place he’ll play this season. Seattle, which is constructing for the longer term, has the choice to ship the 18-year-old pivot again to junior. And if the Kraken will not be trying to compete, what’s the push? In 63 video games with Kingston (OHL) final season, the Burlington native, who’s represented Canada a number of occasions, tallied 32 objectives and 94 factors. Wright’s future could also be vibrant, however we might have to attend just a little bit longer to see him full-time within the NHL. We’ll see.