NHL Predictions: Top 10 Dark Horse Rookies Who Could Challenge for the Calder

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NHL Predictions: Top 10 Dark Horse Rookies Who Could Challenge for the Calder
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

One of the most exciting things about a new season in any professional sport is the new crop of rookies set to make an impact and potentially change the balance of power.

There are more than just a few players that can do that this season in the NHL. In fact, many of the top picks from both the 2010 and the 2011 NHL Draft will make their debuts with the eyes of many watching their every move. These are the top prospects, the young studs, the future stars, whatever you want to call them. They are the rookies that everyone talks about as the sexy picks for the Calder Trophy.

That’s not what this list is about, though.

This is about the dark horses, the sleepers, the players you may not have even heard of. After all, the Rookie of the Year Award is one of the hardest to pick because you don’t know how a bunch of guys, who have never played at the highest level, will fair until you see them play.

So apologies to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brayden Schenn, Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Larsson, Nino Niederreiter, Mark Scheifele and the rest of the high draft picks that everyone is talking about. You get enough attention from the other writers, so I’m going to focus on the other rookies that you should get to know throughout the 2011-12 season because one of them might just surprise you at this year's NHL Awards.

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