NHL Rookies 2012: Who Will Win the Calder Trophy

Top NHL Rookies 2012

Every year a new crop of youngsters enter the NHL with hopes of one day raising the Stanley Cup.  Not all will be so lucky.  Even less will win the Stanley Cup in their first year just as Boston’s Tyler Seguin accomplished last year.  The list of 2011-2012 NHL rookies is quite impressive.  Nearly ever team has had a rookie make an impact this season.  So who will be the NHL Rookie of the Year for 2012?  Early results suggested that number one pick of the Edmonton Oilers, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would claim the Calder trophy, and he still might, but a shoulder injury has limited his production over the past month and a half.

Here is a look at the top NHL Rookies for 2012.

    1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Center – Edmonton Oilers.  Even after having missed over 5 weeks of the season Ryan Nugent-Hopkins still leads all NHL Rookie:  Ryan Nugent-Hopkinsrookies in points with 35.  He leads all rookies with 22 assists.  The Nuge has been a dynamic player that the Oilers have sorely been missing.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the rookie of the month for October and November.  This feat has only happened one other time when Evgeni Malkin accomplished this in 2006 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Nugent-Hopkins had 16 points in November after putting up 11 in October.  According to reports from the Edmonton Journal,  Only two other Oilers have ever had more points in a single month as rookies – Glenn Anderson (23) and Jari Kurri (20) in 1981.  Thus far after 40 games played, the Nuge has 35 points.  Still our choice for NHL rookie of the year at this point of the season.
    2. Adam Henrique – Center – New Jersey Devils.  Tied with Nugent-Hopkins with 35 points, the Devils Adam Henrique is quietly putting together a nice rookie season.  Henrique is a +8 with 14 goals and twenty one assists in 47 games at the time of this writing.  He plays a little over 18 minutes per game with four  out of his fourteen goals coming shorthanded goals, illustrating his all around play.  Henrique was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the third round, 82nd overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  Injuries up front has seen Henrique play on the Devils’ top line with wingers Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
    3. Cody Hodgson – Center – Vancouver Canucks – Hodgson has really come on since Christmas.  If he can keep piling up the points as the Canucks keep winning, Cody Hodgson just might be a consideration for the Calder trophy.  Posting 31 points in 55 games, Hodgson is a +8.  Second in NHL Rookie scoring with 15 goals.
    4. Matt Read – Right-Wing – Philadelphia Flyers – currently leading all NHL rookies with 16 goals, the Flyers Matt Read is having a tremendous rookie season placing him as a mid-season favorite for the Calder trophy.    His four game winning goals show just how important he is to the Flyers squad.  On October 18, Matt Read recorded a career-high 4 points on a goal and 3 assists in a 7-2 Flyers win over the Ottawa Senators.  Look for Read to continue produce with the Flyers.
    5. Gabriel Landeskog – Left-Wing – Colorado Avalanche – with a rookie leading +15, we see that Landeskog is an all around player who can contribute both offensively and defensively for the Avalanche.  His 30 points in 57 games rank him in the number six position of all rookie point producers.   His 30 minutes in penalties is near the top of rookie penalty minutes.  Gabriel Landeskog was the second overall pick in the 2011 Entry draft.
    6. Craig Smith – Center – Nashville Predators – Averaging just under 13 minutes per game, Smith has posted the fourth highest point total of all NHL rookies with 31.  Drafted  by the Nashville Predators in the 4th round (98th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
    7. Adam Larsson – Defence – New Jersey Devils – Averaging nearly 22 minutes per game, Adam Larsson is second in rookie ice time (behind Carolina’s Justin Faulk).  Larsson has been thrust into the spotlight with the New Jersey Devils in his rookie season.  Adam Larsson was drafted fourth overall by the Devils in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  Judging by his play from his first season, Larsson just might be what the Devils were hoping for when they drafted him in 2011.

I expect one of these seven NHL rookies to win the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year for the 2011-2012 season.  Our pick (providing he comes back to play another 20-25 games would be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers.

Here is a look at the top NHL rookies as of February courtesy of NHL.com.

Top 30 NHL Rookies - 2012