Report Cards for the NHL's Top Rookies

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IFebruary 16, 2013

Report Cards for the NHL's Top Rookies

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    Late in January, I published my early report cards for the NHL's top rookies. But who has risen and fallen in the ranks since then?

    In January, it appeared that Vladimir Tarasenko was going to run away with the Calder Trophy, but the race has gotten very interesting since then.

    Here is an updated report card for the NHL's top rookies.

Alex Galchenyuk

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    Early Grade: C+

    Updated Grade: B-

    Key Stat: Eight points

    Alex Galchenyuk gets upgraded to a B- for his first few games of the season after increasing his presence on the ice.

    Galchenyuk has looked a lot more active and dynamic for the Canadians, and he is a player who could make a late push for the Calder Trophy.

Damien Brunner

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    Early Grade: B-

    Updated Grade: B+

    Key Stat: Nine Points

    Damien Brunner has played very well for the Detroit Red Wings thus far. He has racked up six goals and nine points, and he fits in well with the top-six and power play.

    Brunner is really acclimating well to the NHL, and he has a ton of potential.

Chris Kreider

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    Early Grade: D

    Updated Grade: D

    Key Stat: Two Points

    Chris Kreider came back from injury and had an impact in the lineup before JT Miller was called up, and Kreider made a brief return to Hartford before being recalled again on Saturday afternoon.

    Kreider will look to take advantage of this opportunity because if he doesn't, he will be back in the minors.

Mikhail Grigorenko

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    Early Grade: D

    New Grade: D

    Key Stat: Three Points

    Mikhail Grigorenko has still not played very well for the Buffalo Sabres. He has only three points to date and is not getting much ice time.

    He will eventually improve, but thus far he has been a disappointment for Buffalo.

Mikael Granlund

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    Grade: B-

    New Grade: C-

    Key Stats: Four Points

    Mikael Granlund has had a very quiet season to date, and he has doubled his point total since the last ranking. He is a dynamic player who has come close many times this year, but he has had trouble finishing.

    Granlund could make a late run at the Calder, but don't be surprised if he doesn't. 

Dougie Hamilton

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    Grade: B

    Grade: B

    Key Stat: Six Points

    Dougie Hamilton has had a nice start with the Boston Bruins, but offensively he hasn't had an impact. Hamilton has done well defensively, but the Bruins are going to need him to unleash his cannon of a shot on the power play.

Cory Conacher

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    Grade: A+

    New Grade: A+

    Key Stat: 12 Points

    Cory Conacher has had an amazing start to the 2013 season, and he is one of the players who will be a finalist for the Calder Trophy.

    Conacher's 12 points gives him the lead amongst all rookies, and he has been a key part of the Tampa Bay Lightning's offense.

Justin Schultz

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    Early Grade: A+

    New Grade: A

    Key Stat: Seven Points

    Justin Schultz has been a breath of fresh air for the Edmonton Oilers' blue line, and he has been one of the team's top offensive players.

    Schultz is a dynamic player, but his offense has died down a bit over the past few games.

Nail Yakupov

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    Early Grade: B-

    New Grade: A

    Key Stat: Five Goals

    Nail Yakupov has tallied six more points since the last ranking, and he recorded some key goals for the team. Yakupov has been an amazing scoring threat for the Oilers, and he has emerged as one of the leaders in the Calder Trophy race.

Jonathan Huberdeau

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    Early Grade: B-

    New Grade: A-

    Key Stat: Eight Points

    Jonathan Huberdeau has started to emerge for the Florida Panthers in a huge way, and his eight points thus far has been a nice supplement to the team's offense.

    Huberdeau is a skilled forward and a player who really is going to come in big for the team in the future.

Vladimir Tarasenko

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    Early Grade: A+

    New Grade: A

    Key Stat: 11 Points

    Vladimir Tarasenko has been a powerful part of the St. Louis Blues lineup, and if he was on the top line, he probably would have more points than he does now.

    Tarasenko has used his speed, hands and skilled shot to his advantage—and he has done a good job keeping up his pace thus far.