Even though the 2017/2018 season getting started is already exciting enough, the incoming rookie classes are always intriguing. Whether it be the high ceiling for potential or the mystery of the unknown, the Calder race is always a fun one to watch. SiriusXM NHL Network Radio experts Tyler Madarasz, Brett Innis and Jake Hahn of SiriusXM NHL take a look at the cream of the crop of the incoming 2017 rookie class.
The small, speedy forwards are taking the NHL by storm. We’ve seen the game change drastically over the past few seasons, and with that, came a change in the players as well. The smaller, skilled forwards have thrived in today’s NHL, and one that could dominate in his first full season is Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller.
The 19-year old made his NHL debut last season on March 26th against the St. Louis Blues, picking up an assist and finishing the year with two helpers in three games.
He dominated in his first season with Boston University, scoring 21 goals and 45 points through 31 games to win the Hockey East Rookie of the Year in 2016-17.
That scoring ability seems like it will translate well to the NHL, and with all the skill we’ve seen from Keller during the World Juniors, at Boston University, and in his short time with the Coyotes, he could easily run away with the Calder Trophy this season.
When talking about skilled forwards who may lack some height, the first names that come to mind may be Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau or Mitch Marner. Alex DeBrincat has already been compared to all three of these players, but could pack as much as an offensive punch as his teammate and possible linemate Patrick Kane.
DeBrincat, who turns 20 in December, absolutely lit up the OHL playing for the Erie Otters. In 191 games through three seasons, he scored 167 goals and 332 points. Those numbers are just ridiculous, especially with his lowest goal total in a season was 51.
So when we’ve seen guys like Gaudreau put up 64 points in his rookie year, and Marner have 61, it’s easy to think DeBrincat can surpass both of those totals. If he plays most of the season with Patrick Kane as well, he almost certainly will. With all that said, DeBrincat or Keller both have great shots at becoming the first American Calder Trophy winner since Patrick Kane back in 2007-08.
The 21-year old played in 21 games last season so he is still eligible for the Calder Trophy. He may be a long shot, but nobody in the incoming rookie class has the swagger and explosiveness that Josh Ho-Sang does.
The former 2014 first round pick had 10 points for the New York Islanders in his brief stint in the NHL last season and looked effective on the power-play throughout the preseason. Despite there being players younger than him in this class, Ho-Sang could still put up the most points throughout all rookies in the league this season
The 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft is planning on showing the hockey world who Nolan Patrick really is. After an injury riddled campaign that saw Patrick miss last year’s World Juniors, many prognosticators wondered how Patrick would square up against NHL competition especially after two sports hernia surgeries.
The 19-year not only cracked the opening night roster, but looked right at home on the power play in the preseason. Patrick will look to make an impact right away on the Flyers 2nd line centring Wayne Simmonds and Jordan Weal
The first-overall pick in the 2017 draft this past June will almost certainly be in the Calder conversation. The 18-year old from Switzerland should get plenty of opportunity with a Devils team in desperate need of a spark. He’s already turned some heads this month, racking up seven points (four goals, three assists) in four pre-season games. That just might be a sign of things to come for this uber-talented teenager.
The Bruins will be relying heavily upon their first round pick from 2016 (14th overall) to help secure them a playoff spot this season. With an aging Zdeno Chara on the backend it’s time for someone else to take over, and McAvoy looks like that guy. He’s already had a taste of NHL action, as he logged almost
27 minutes per game and picked up three assists over the B’s six playoff games against the Senators. Throw in the fact he should be anchoring a Bruins power play with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and you’ve got yourself a legit Calder candidate.