NHL 2010-11: Top Calder Candidates by position

With about one month before the pucks drop for the 2010-11 NHL season, it’s time to have a look at the top Calder candidates before the training camps start in a couple of weeks.

Forwards
1. Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers80 games, 32 goals, 40 assists, 72 points
A very complete player, Eberle has been dominant at every level. With the youth movement going on in Edmonton, he will get plenty of ice-time on the PP and 5 on 5.
2. Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers82 games, 25 goals, 42 assists, 67 points
Drafted first overall in 2010, Hall is a top offensive talent and a proven leader, winning two Memorial Cups with Windsor. He will be given every chance to produce offensively.
3. Tyler Ennis, Buffalo Sabres75 games, 27 goals, 35 assists, 62 points
Ennis is a pure offensive talent who possesses excellent speed and quickness despite his small stature.
He is a nice complement to an already strong Sabres offense.
4. Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins78 games, 25 goals, 32 assists, 57 points
A skilled offensive player who was drafted 2nd overall in 2010. He can score goals and set his teammates. Might shift to the wing if Marc Savard is not traded.
5. Nikita Filatov, Columbus Blue Jackets72 games, 23 goals, 22 assists, 45 points
After a one-year hiatus in the KHL, Filatov is back in the NHL and will help bolster Columbus’ anemic offense. His excellent skating ability and great speed will help him land a spot on the top-6.
6. Mathieu Perreault, Washington Capitals78 games, 18 goals, 26 assists, 44 points Penciled as the second line center in traning camp, Perreault played very well last season when he was called up for a bunch of games. He is a quick, shifty skater who is also a slick playmaker.
7. Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames76 games, 15 goals, 28 assists, 44 points
The speedy forward is a premier play maker thanks to incredibly soft hands. Backlund will likely play on the 3rd line in Calgary and get some PP time on the 2nd unit.
8. Michael Grabner, Florida Panthers70 games, 23 goals, 20 assists, 43 points
Acquired in the offseason from Vancouver, Grabner will finally have a chance to prove himself. The speedy skater is loaded with skills, but need to improve on this consistency.
9. Eric Tangradi, Pittsburgh Penguins72 games, 18 goals, 25 assists, 43 points
With a great training camp, Tangradi will likely land a spot on Sidney Crosby’s wing, which gives every player a chance to pad up his offensive stats. His great size and strength will allow him to garner many points from the front of the net.
10. Mats Zuccarello-Aasen, New York Rangers75 games, 13 goals, 29 assists, 42 points The pint-sized Norwegian impressed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and with the Rangers being thin up front, Zuccarello-Aasen will have a chance to play heavy minutes and log some PP time. Despite his small stature, the right winger is a gritty player with great hands.
11. Brayden Schenn, Los Angeles Kings77 games, 17 goals, 24 assists, 41 points A smooth skater with good acceleration, Schenn is slated to turn pro this season. Schenn will likely become the Kings’ second line center by mid-season.
12. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks71 games, 19 goals, 21 assists, 40 points
The versatile forward had a great post-season with the Sharks last season, showing great skills and commitment both offensively and defensively. Couture will likely start on the third line, but he is an injury away to a key forward to slide into the top-6.
13. Lars Eller, Montreal Canadiens78 games, 16 goals, 24 assists, 40 points
Traded by the Blues, along with Ian Schultz, for Jaroslav Halak prior to the draft, Eller will get every opportunity to play in Montreal. If Andrei Kostitsyn or Benoit Pouliot doesn’t meet the expections, look for Eller to slide into a to-6 role.
14. Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs77 games, 13 goals, 25 assists, 38 points
The talented center will likely start the season on Toronto’s third line and slowly get more playing time as the season goes on. His great skills and offensive instincts are Kadri’s best attributes.
15. Cody Hodgson, Vancouver Canucks67 games, 15 goals, 22 assists, 37 pointsThe CHL player of the year in 2009, Hodgson battled with injuries last season which hampered his development. The fragile Hodgson has very good hands and an excellent on ice-vision, coupled with great speed. Vancouver is very deep at forward and Hodgson will have to impress in camp to earn a top-6 spot with the Canucks.

Defensemen
1. PK Subban, Montreal Canadiens82 games, 15 goals, 33 assists, 48 points
A great playoff run has allowed Subban to shine on a depleted defensive corps thanks great skating abilities, a good ice vision and a knack for taking great decisions. Markov’s injury will force Jacques Martin to rely more on Subban on the PP which will improve his offensive numbers.
2. Jamie McBain, Carolina Hurricanes80 games, 8 goals, 37 assists, 45 points
Has good puck handling skills and good offensive instincts. He’ll pair up with Joni Pitkanen on Carolina’s first PP unit.
3. John Carlson, Washington Capitals78 games, 5 goals, 40 assists, 45 points
Carlson is positionally sound, strong defensively and he kills penalties. He is also strong on his skates strength and has great speed. Carlson will garner top PP minutes behind Mike Green on the NHL’s most lethal PP unit of Semin, Ovechkin and Backstrom.
4. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes75 games, 8 goals, 31 assists, 39 points Blessed with excellent hockey sense and impressive skating ability, Ekman-Larsson will play in North America this season. A good playmaker, he will likely slide in the top-4 on defense for Phoenix and get quality PP time on the second PP unit.
5. Kevin Shattenkirk, Colorado Avalanche78 games, 5 goals, 30 assists, 35 points
A very talented defenseman, Shattenkirk will likely quarterback Colorado’s PP right from the start as they need his booming shot and great ice vision to improve in that department.
6. Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis Blues77 games, 5 goals, 27 assists, 32 points
Has excellent on-ice vision and a high hockey sense. Pietrangelo is a completey defenseman who can quarterback the power play and kill penalties. His last season in the junior helped him polish many aspects of his game, mainly his shot, creativity and staking abilities.
7. Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks77 games, 4 goals, 26 assists, 30 points
An excellent skater and puck handler, with great offensive instincts, Fowler will likely make the team out of training camp because of the team’s lack of depth on defense.

Goaltenders
1. Michal Neuvirth, Washington Capitals25 games, 17 wins, 3 SO
With Jose Theodore walking away as an UFA, the Caps will go with the young tandem of Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth to start the season. The latter showed great things when he was given a cup of coffee in the NHL. He is a confident butterfly goaltender displaying a great technique and solid rebound control.
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks22 games, 15 wins, 2 SO
The Montreal-native will battle Hannu Toivonen for the back-up job in Chicago with that Huet will play in France and that Niemi was let go.

My three Calder finalists are Jordan Eberle, PK Subban and Tyler Ennis.
Source: Hockey’s Future and Dobber Hockey

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About the Author: Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 33, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish. http://twitter.com/FredPoulin98 www.traductions-quebec.com

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  1. Mike says:

    Thanks Fred, this will help for my hockey pools this fall!

  2. pete says:

    good list but a few of these guys are not Calder eligible. Filatov, Grabner, Couture, Pieterangelo. Do you know if Zuccarello-Aasen is eligible because of his euro experience?

  3. [...] You can have a look at my article on the 2010-11 Calder trophy candidates here: NHL 2010-11: Top Calder Candidates by position. [...]

  4. Fred Poulin says:

    Pete you are right about Filatov, Grabner, COuture and Pietrangelo as they have played more than 6 games in the past two consecutive seasons even though they haven’t played 25 games yet.
    Mats Zuccarello Aasen is eligible as he’s younger than 26 years of age. The Euro experience doesn’t count.

  5. Fred Poulin says:

    You can add Magnus Paarjarvi (Edmonton Oilers) and Erik Gudbranson (Florida Panthers) to the list. Subtract Mats Zuccarello Aasen as he’s be assigned to Hartford of the AHL.

  6. Natural Born Scorer says:

    good list but I think the projections are probably about 5-10 points high, especially on the higher ranked rookies you have here. I do think Taylor Hall and John Carlson have a good shot at those numbers though….