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Top 10 Season 5 Calder Trophy Candidates Written by habsfan93 - November 30th, -0001

Calder TrophyEvery year, a new group of rookies breaks out onto the grand stage that is CMHL hockey. Some are expected to produce right from the doldrums of the offseason summer, and some come out of the woodwork from where we least expected them. But there they are, the rookies, the freshman of the CMHL, ready to take the spot of the departed veterans. Past CMHL Calder Trophy winners, awarded to the best rookie of the season, include Alex Ovechkin, Eric Fehr, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist, all of whom continue to ply their trade as franchise players in the league.

This year, we take a look at the top 10 preseason candidates for the award as things look right now. Right away you'll notice that this list is forward heavy, mostly because their impact is the easiest to quantify. A defenceman or goalie really has to prove his worth statistically to be mentioned alongside the forwards, but this author still feels there are a few who stand out at each position. Without further ado, here is a look at the top 10, starting at #10.

Honourable Mentions - Not quite Top 10 at this point, but could be candidates if they are managed well by their GM's: Sam Gagner (NYI), David Backes (NYI), Daniel Girardi (ANA), Peter Mueller (ANA), Devin Setoguchi (NJ)

#10 - Erik Johnson (CGY) / Tobias Enstrom (PHX) / Braydon Coburn (OTT) / Alex Edler (ATL)

At #10, we have a pack of defencemen because they all possess similar skills and all project to be defencemen in the #2-4 mold. Which of these dmen will be the best this season will be heavily dependant on how they are used by their respective coaches and GM's. All of these guys could play anywhere from #1 to #6 minutes on their team, and the one who gets the most ice time will likely come out on top of the pack.

Alex Steen#9 - Alex Steen (TOR)

Steen may not be the most skilled forward in this group, but he has one thing to his advantage playing in Toronto - ice time, and lots of it! Steen is easily the 2nd best forward on this squad next to Dainius Zubrus and if he sees 22-25 minutes a game as he should, he could rack up 50-60+ points easily, just as Wellwood and Stafford did in Season 4 for the Rangers.



Dennis Wideman#8 - Dennis Wideman (NYR)

Blessed with 78 DF and 75 SC, when it comes to ratings, Wideman is a notch above the group of dmen sitting at #10. In fact, that 75 SC rating is what sets him apart as he could use that to rack up 30-40 points, and if he can come close to the 50 point mark, I think he will be a serious contender. Given that the Rangers are a rebuilding team, he is going to see 20, if not 25 minutes a night without a sweat on the part of the GM.



R.J. Umberger#7 - R.J. Umberger (NYR)

The Rangers had two Calder caliber rookies last year, and they will again this year with Wideman and now Umberger. Umberger is one of those player who could come out of nowhere for the Rangers. He will see either the 1st or 2nd line, and will center either Stoa or Bulis on one side, and either Stafford or Satan on the other, all of whom have equal offensive potential. Umberger has 40-50 assist potential and 60 potential much like Alex Steen, but I think he will do better statistically because he has a better supporting cast around him.



Carey Price#6 - Carey Price (BUF)

Price could be higher on this list, except I believe that for a goalie to win this award, he has to be the undisputed starter of the team, taking at least 60 games if not more, and he has to have good numbers to boot. While I don't doubt that Price will put up good, if not great numbers, with Manny Legace battling him for ice time, I don't see him getting in enough games to go ahead of the 5 guys higher than him.



Mike Green#5 - Mike Green (DET)

Off all the defencemen in the CMHL, Mike Green has to stand the best chance of getting this award in large part because of his stellar 84 SC rating. He has the ratings to be the #2 dman in Detroit and should see 25 minutes a game playing next to another offensive dynamo, Sergei Gonchar. With top power play time, Green is a serious threat to lead all defenceman in scoring, not just rookie dmen.



Patrick Kane#4 - Patrick Kane (EDM)

Before Edmonton moved Ladislav Nagy, I would have had Kane higher than 4 on this list, possibly at 2 or 3, but without Nagy, there is a big hole in Edmonton as to who is going to round out the top 6 offensively. With Iginla at RW as well, on the 1st line, Kane will see second line minutes, likely playing alongside Michael Nylander. I think Kane has the potential to surpass the 80 point mark, but with Edmonton's current roster, I'm just not sure he will.



Nicklas Backstrom#3 - Nicklas Backstrom (CGY)

Backstrom breaks onto the scene with an awesome 90 PA rating, and will see 2nd line minutes behind Jason Spezza in Calgary. However Calgary, unlike Edmonton, has the depth at forward to ensure that Backstrom plays every night with two guys who can put the puck in the net. I think Backstrom, if played properly by his GM, could challenge for the league lead in assists this year, and I see him as a Calder finalist come next spring.



Jonathan Toews#2 - Jonathan Toews (BUF)

Toews and Backstrom are similar players. Both will receive similar ice time, with similar linemates providing support. The difference between them is that while Backstrom is a primo passer, he is not a strong scorer. On the other hand, Toews is a much more balanced attacker, and because of that I think his point potential is much better. I see Toews easily putting up 80 points this year.



Ryan Getzlaf#1 - Ryan Getzlaf (ANA)

Ryan Getzlaf is hands down the best rookie in this class from a ratings standpoint. And on top of that, he is the undisputed #1 center on Anaheim's roster, which is a powerhouse, evidenced by their President's Trophy last year. Getzlaf will see potentially 25 minutes a game, centering Marian Hossa, and I could see a 100 point year if things go his way. For that reason, I think he has to be the odds on favorite for Rookie of the Year in Season 5.

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