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Top 10 Season 8 Calder Candidates Written by habsfan93 - October 17th, 2011

For the fourth year in a row, I will take a crack at predicting the Calder Trophy winner for the upcoming season, along with a run down of my top candidates. After narrowly missing the mark in my first year (Season 5, in which my #3 candidate won the award), I have now correctly predicted the last two Calder winners at the start of the year (Bryan Little in Season 6 and Tyler Myers last season). Let's see if I can make it three in a row!

Honourable Mentions - Not quite Top 10 at this point, but could be candidates in the right circumstances.

Lauri Korpikoski (CMB), Victor Hedman (FLA), Tyler Kennedy (FLA), Ondrej Pavelec (NJ), James Reimer (MIN), Alex Pietrangelo (WPG)

#10 - Derek Stepan (FLA)
Derek Stepan forms part of an up and coming core of rookies for the Panthers this year, but he will have his ice time limited as fellow rookie Logan Couture is expected to get more minutes at C than Stepan. Nevertheless, if Stepan can show that he deserves more minutes, he might be able to climb this list quickly.


#9 - James van Riemsdyk (SJ)
JVR enters the season in San Jose battling for a spot on the Sharks first line. While his ratings are still a little raw, he could get a huge boost playing with linemates like Milan Hejduk and Mikko Koivu.



#8 - Michal Neuvirth (OTT)
Neuvirth enters the season as the starting goalie for Ottawa, likely backed up by veteran Brent Johnson. Though they traded Dany Heatley this summer, Ottawa is one team that is always in the mix, and if Neuvirth starts 60+ games for the Sens, he could really label himself a Calder candidate with strong numbers.


#7 - Kevin Shattenkirk (CMB)
Like many offensively minded defencemen, the knock on Kevin Shattenkirk is his inability to play good defence. But there is no question that Shattenkirk can be counted on to put up points. Columbus has traditionally been an offensive powerhouse, and Shattenkirk should have lots of opportunities to rack up the numbers though he has major competition from another rookie defenceman for the ice time which keeps him down on this list.

#6 - Tyler Ennis (BUF)
Though he might be small, Ennis is a guy who can skate, pass and score, which makes him a valuable asset to any team. Given GM koopaclassic's propensity for roster movements, it would not be surprising if Ennis found himself in another lineup before the year is out. But the skills are there, and with the right ice time, Ennis should be right in the race throughout the year.



#5 - Max Pacioretty (MTL)
With the second highest scoring rating of any rookie in the league and a lock on a 2nd line spot in Montreal, Max Pacioretty slides into #6 on this list. The main thing keeping him from being higher is that he is slotted behind franchise player Patrick Marleau at LW which will limit his ice time in all situations.


#4 - John Carlson (ANA)
Though not as offensively gifted as some of the other players on this list, Carlson has the advantage of playing on one of the best teams in the league. With a good preseason showing, Carlson may in fact be lining up with perennial Norris candidate Shea Weber, which drastically improves his potential ability. Carlson could be the sleeper pick on this list.


#3 - Taylor Hall (FLA)
The Panthers have been rebuilding for a year or two now, and appear ready to take the first step towards the playoffs and the Stanley Cup. Taylor Hall figures to be a big part of that equation, and he'll likely be given first line ice time in Florida as the Panthers attempt to develop their young stars. But much like Shattenkirk, Hall will have to compete with another prime rookie for the spotlight.

#2 - PK Subban (CMB)
The reason Kevin Shattenkirk is not higher on this list is this man, PK Subban. CMB GM habsfan93 has already stated that Subban will be the club's #2 defenceman behind Duncan Keith. Given his overall talent and offensive skills, he should fit right into the Blue Jackets high powered offence, and stands the best chance to lead all rookie defencemen in scoring.

#1 - Logan Couture (FLA)
I took one look at the list of rookies and knew immediately who I would slot at #1. Couture has the best ratings set among the rookie crop, including an 82 scoring rating. He'll be playing top line minutes on an up and coming Panthers team, and will be expected to lead the way. There is no reason to believe that Couture won't top 60 points which the last few years has been enough to get a Calder nomination if not win the trophy. As of right now, Logan Couture is the hands down frontrunner for the Calder.

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