Just Bourne of Backhand Shelf has a piece giving five reasons why he believes Rangers rookie Chris Kreider will win the Calder next season for best NHL rookie, citing age, experience, size, linemates and draft class.
This year’s draft saw defensemen selected with eight of the first 10 picks. While defensemen are certainly capable of winning the Calder Trophy, the position just isn’t as sexy or noticeable as that of being a goal-scorer. And, not to mention, it takes longer for defenseman to reach their potential in the NHL, as the best in the world are mostly stronger, more physical men. Since 1990, the Calder has been won by a defenseman only three times (Bryan Berard, Barret Jackman and Tyler Myers).
Yakupov and Galchenyuk will both likely see plenty of ice time for rookies, but they won’t be playing with the quality of players that Kreider will have the luxury of using. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Rangers top-six likely leaves him with any two of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, or Ryan Callahan.
- Bourne makes a good case for Kreider to win the Calder. However, what will matter most is consistency, as Kreider has never played an 82-game NHL season before (44 games with Boston College last season). If he can maintain a level of offense—and stamina—for an entire year, then Kreider has an excellent chance at being the NHL’s best rookie next season.