After several years of incredible rookies stepping right into the NHL and making huge impacts, this year looks like it will be no different. Young players all around the league have huge expectations, and Corey Pronman of The Athletic (subscription required) took to ranking those who can qualify for this year’s Calder Trophy. Pronman leads things off with Vancouver Canucks phenom Elias Pettersson, and puts another 67 in order before mentioning some other potential call ups.
Pettersson of course is coming off an incredible season in the SHL in which as a teenager he led the entire league in scoring with 56 points in 44 games. That production didn’t slow down in the playoffs, where he scored another 10 goals in 13 games and was named playoff MVP (after already taking that honor during the regular season as well). A World Junior silver was outdone by his World Championship gold, making his one of the most successful seasons ever by a junior-aged player. He’ll try to continue that impressive stretch with a debut for the Canucks this evening.
- Another name on Pronman’s list, though a little further down is Jordan Kyrou, who will make his debut with the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night. GM Doug Armstrong spoke with reporters including Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic, and explained that while he expected Samuel Blais and Robert Thomas to push for spots in camp, Kyrou was the one who really impressed and “opened their eyes.” If today’s practice lines are any indication, Kyrou will start on a line with Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn to start the year, and incredible opportunity for the 20-year old winger as he starts his professional career.
- Looking ahead to draft season, ISS Hockey has released their Top 31 prospects for the 2019 Draft and like everyone else have Jack Hughes in the top spot. Hilariously the scouting service still has Hughes listed at 5’1″ 152-lbs—he’s actually more like 5’10” 170 lbs—but that didn’t stop them from putting him ahead of Kaapo Kakko and Dylan Cozens. The race for second overall seems to be on between those two forwards, but there are several names that could push to get into the conversation before long.