Prediction: Atlanta's Kane Will Be Calder Finalist

Warren ShawCorrespondent IIOctober 28, 2009

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 16:  Evander Kane #9 of the Atlanta Thrashers skates during the game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 16, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Evander Kane’s dedication to hard work is paying dividends. There is a saying that when preparation meets opportunity the end result is success.  If that is true Kane is skating in a clear path on his way to one of the most prestigious NHL awards, The Calder Memorial Trophy.

Many hockey experts will say that such talk is premature so early in the season.  So many things can happen such as injuries, prolonged scoring slumps, demotion to the minors or a scoring barrage from John Tavares, the first overall pick in the draft this year.

The Calder Trophy is awarded each year to the NHL’s top rookie and the past recipients have for the most part had fruitful and noteworthy careers in the NHL. The Calder Trophy is an annual award given "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League ." The trophy has been awarded 72 times since its beginnings in 1937 . The voting is conducted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the conclusion of each regular season to determine the winner.


Chances are in Kane’s favor for several reasons:

·         The unfortunate injury to Kovalchuk has elevated him to the number one line.

·          Power play duty minutes will pick up also due to the injury.

·         John Tavares and Victor Hedman the top two choices have not yet distinguished themselves.

·         Atlanta has a history of Calder winners including Eric Vail. Willi Plett and Dany Heatley.

The key ingredient in Kane’s surge as a rookie in the Atlanta Thrasher’s lineup has been his exceptional skating ability combined with his knack for finding the back of the net. Scouting reports on him prior to the draft described him as a “superb skater with excellent acceleration. With his quick release, Kane is a threat to score every time he steps on the ice. NHL scouts say he has pure goal scoring instincts, evidenced by his 48-goal campaign. He handles the physical rigors well, in part because he is a difficult target to lock on to.”

“He is probably one of the best skaters on the team right now” Thrasher GM Don Waddell told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “he has that next gear that a lot of players don’t have” said team mate Marty Reasoner.”

Evander Kane has had an unusual first year. Starting off, boxer Evander Holyfield, who he was named after, visited him in the Thrasher’s locker room.  Coach Anderson gave him unexpected responsibility on the penalty killing unit then elevated him to the first line. He has also emerged as a popular player getting quite a bit of activity on his Facebook page .    

His performance is drawing praise around NHL circles and with his teammates.  Polite and unassuming Kane takes everything in stride. “I want to be known for what I do on and off the ice” Kane said.