I have been reading a lot about the rookies who are going to be entering the NHL and making big impacts right away.
The "new" NHL is tailor made for some of these kids with the speed, size, and intelligence that these players now possess at an early age.
The junior, collegiate, and international players are much more prepared and ready to enter the NHL now than in years past.
This makes me wonder—who will win the Calder Trophy next season?
My early vote goes to Philadelphia's Claude Giroux. He had 38 goals and 68 assists last season for the QMJHL. His team, the Gatineau Olympiques went deep in their playoff run.
Giroux’s greatest talent is his playmaking ability. With his excellent hands and great vision, the diminutive winger is often able to use his quick skating ability to turn nothing into something.
Despite his size disadvantage (5'10" and 169 lbs), Giroux does not mind getting his nose dirty, and will stand in to take a hit in order to make a play. He does get bodied often, but the shifty winger is agile enough to avoid checks on a regular basis.
Giroux’s size may have been a hindrance in the old NHL, but he appears to be a prototypical product for the new NHL, with blazing speed and dynamite skill.
He has the potential to be a first-line winger.
So who do you believe will be the NHL's next Calder Trophy winner? Here you will find past winners of the NHL's Calder Trophy:
1992-1993: Teemu Selanne—Winnipeg Jets
1993-1994: Martin Brodeur—New Jersey Devils
1994-1995: Peter Forsberg—Quebec Nordiques
1995-1996: Daniel Alfredson—Ottawa Senators
1996-1997: Bryan Berard—New York Islanders
1997-1998: Sergi Samsonov—Boston Bruins
1998-1999: Chris Drury—Colorado Avalanche
1999-2000: Scott Gomez—New Jersey Devils
2000-2001: Evgeni Nabokov—San Jose Sharks
2001-2002: Danny Heatley—Atlanta Thrashers
2002-2003: Barrett Jackman—St. Louis Blues
2003-2004: Andrew Raycroft—Boston Bruins
2005-2006: Alexander Ovechkin—Washington Capitals
2006-2007: Evgeni Malkin—Pittsburgh Penguins
2007-2008: Patrick Kane—Chicago Blackhawks