If last season is any indication, trying to derail the Calder Trophy in September again could be another massive waste of time.
But as we know, every season is different.
Entering the 2021-22 campaign, Montreal Canadiens’ Cole Coffield was the favorite pre-season to be crowned NHL Rookie of the Year at the end of the year. And while the 21-year-old sniper showed tremendous promise under Martin St. Louis, we all know how it worked.
This time around, there seems to be no shortage of serious contenders for the honor. To be eligible for the Calder Cup, a player must have played no more than 25 National Hockey League games in any previous season, nor in six or more NHL games in each of the previous seasons.
Here is a list of the top 10 rookies to watch:
The ratings below are drawn from Sportsnet’s top 250 pre-season fiction ratings and are measured based on projection, age and potential.
1. Matty Benners, C., Seattle Kraken (SN Ranking: 122)
The 2021 second general pick made his highly anticipated debut last spring and didn’t disappoint, scoring three goals and nine points in 10 games for the Kraken expansion. Finalist Hobby Baker was a busy man last season. In addition to the Michigan Wolverines at the college level, the hub was also a fit for the US at the postponed World Junior Championships in December and the Winter Olympics in February. The Beniers expect to be number one in Seattle on opening night.
2. Mason McTavishL.W., Anaheim Ducks (ranking SN: 143)
On the heels of his World Junior Championships gold and MVP titles last month in Edmonton, it is possible that McTavish is ready to campaign for a monster rookie for Anaheim. Like Bennett, the 19-year-old was all over the place last season. In fact, it was suitable for six different teams at different levels: Anaheim (NHL), San Diego (AHL), Peterborough (OHL), Hamilton (OHL), Canada (Junior World), Canada (Winter Olympics). Last fall, McTavish scored two goals and one assist in nine season-opening games for the Ducks before eventually returning him to the junior team. While there are no guarantees, McTavish should have no problem getting the top six winger round to start the duck season.
3. Logan Thompson, G, Vegas Golden Knights (SN Ranking: 145)
With Robin Lehner on the shelf for the season, the first Vegas mission is ready to take on, and at this point, Thompson loses. In 19 games last year, 17 of which were starting, the 25-year-old hit a 10-5-3 record to align with 2.68 goals-to-average, 0.914 savings and one closing. With Adin Hill and Laurent Brossoit behind him, despite his lack of NHL experience, Thompson is unequivocally the top curling option for the Golden Knights going forward.
4. Owen Power, D, Buffalo Sabers (SN ranking: 158)
Apparently like everyone else in this up-and-coming crop, Power was also all over the place last season. In fact, the 19-year-old followed pretty much the same path as Beners, except that he played for Canada, not the United States. Furthermore, the first pick of 2021 ended the year with Buffalo, scoring two goals and making one in eight competitions. Power projects to play the top four minutes straight out of the gate.
5. Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators (SN rank: 174)
After signing the entry contract in March, a hand injury prevented an NCAA debut last spring. With that in mind, it looks like he’s made a full recovery and all systems are up and running to start the bootcamp. The 2020 fifth overall pick has been a beast in two seasons at North Dakota and has been equally impressive on the US national stage. The 20-year-old puck player will be given every opportunity to break through the opening night roster; Find Sanderson to the second powerplant of the Ottawa quarterback.
6. Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, Montreal Canadiens (SN Ranking: 181)
At this point, it remains unclear where Slavkowski, who first went to Montreal in June, will play this season. Of course, the Slovak will be given every chance to make up the team, but given that the Canadians are on their way to rebuilding, they will be smart in their decision. In 31 games with TPS Turku in SM-liiga last season, the winger scored five goals and 10 points. In addition, the 19-year-old scored seven times in seven matches for Slovakia at the Olympics.
7. Cole Perfetti, C/RW, Winnipeg Jets (SN Ranking: 201)
In 18 games for the Jets last season, the 10th overall pick for 2020 scored two goals and seven points. The winger added six more goals and 15 points in a total of 17 AHL competitions. There’s no doubt that Perfetti has the talent, it’s all about putting it together now. Moreover, the arrival of Rick Bowness could be good news for the striker. Over the past few seasons, the 67-year-old has played a pivotal role for Dallas developing some chances for success as Jason Robertson. Perfetti should take a long look at the last six in training camp. Be vigilant.
8. Marco Rossi, C, MN Wild (SN ranking: 205)
Rossi is relieved and thinking about everything he’s been through over the past few years, that’s all that matters. In late 2020, the 20-year-old was diagnosed with myocarditis – a heart condition – caused by complications from COVID-19 and forced to stop working for an extended period of time. All things considered, the 9th overall pick for 2020 comes with a very strong season. He scored 18 goals and 53 points in 63 games with Iowa State (AHL) and had no goals in two games with Minnesota. Coming into the camp, Rossi has a legitimate chance to cement the top six.
9. Callen Addison D, MN Wild (SN Ranking: 212)
Seen in front of him in the order of clicking on the back end of Minnesota, chalk this deep sleeper with tremendous potential for surprise. The most important thing here is that Addison is finally poised to become a full-time NHLer, a position that liberalized with Dmitriy Kulikov’s recent trade. In the long run, the former second-round personalities in Pittsburgh have been a major difference-maker in the power game in Minnesota, which ranked 18th in the NHL in 2021-22. Addison had four points in 15 games with Wilde last season and added 34 points in 43 games with Iowa (AHL). be patient.
10. Shane Wright, C., Seattle Kraken (SN Ranking: 235)
Similar to Slafkovsky, Wright’s non-going direct league value is mediocre at best due to a lack of clarity over where he will play this season. Seattle, Building for the Future, has the option to return the 18-year-old axle to the Rookies. And if the Kraken isn’t looking to compete, what’s the rush? In 63 games for Kingston (OHL) last season, the Burlington native, who represented Canada several times, scored 32 goals and 94 points. Wright’s future may be bright, but we may have to wait a little longer to see him full time in the NHL. we will see.