|It’s time again for Hockey’s Future to answer the question “If the Calder Trophy were awarded today,|
based on what you have seen so far this season, who would your Top 10 Rookie Finalists be?” We’ve recruited several of
HF’s finest to take part this month and totaling up their votes, here is this month’s version of ‘Handicapping the Field’:
|Ilya Kovalchuk-No real surprise here. As long as he keeps potting them, no one is going to catch him. While not|
overwhelming in Salt Lake, just being able to skate next to the likes of Sergei Fedorov can only help the young Russian down
the road. As if he really needs it.
|Dany Heatley-The Thrasher’s Mr. Meat and Potatoes to Kovalchuk’s Mr. Caviar checks in at #2 once again|
although he too is starting to show the chrome on his 4×4 game. Pascal Rheaume must think he’s died and gone to hockey
|Erik Cole-After a long tough haul Cole finally arrives in the top three. The kid is doing it all. He’s leading the|
rookie class in hits, he’s passing the puck well and he’s equally dangerous in front of the net and from the faceoff dot. Even
better he plays both ways. The Hurricanes have a keeper here.
|Kristian Huselius-The Florida portsider has shown himself to be, like most snipers, relatively streaky when it|
comes to production and right now he isn’t putting up the points like he was earlier. When that happens, the utter absence of
any kind of physical game really hurt his chances.
|Pavel Datsyuk-The ‘other’ young Russian who made the Olympic team, he’s had all season to learn at the side of|
fedorov and Igor Larionov. Now that Steve Yzerman is resting a bum knee, expect Datsyuk to see increased icetime in all
situations and put up some serious points because of it.
|Radim Vrbata-He’s baaaack. For a while there people were wondering where Colorado’s lastest in a long line of|
sniper’s had gotten to. Turns out he hadn’t gone far at all. The NHL’s Rookie of the Month is the high debut and if he keeps it
up chances are this won’t be his last stop.
|Mark Bell-His point production has died off completely but at least he’s trying to make himself useful in other|
areas. Still, this is one ship that is listing badly in the water. Oh Stumpy where art thou?
|Andy McDonald-It seems that Paul Kariya’s favourite pivot these days is finally getting his just rewards. Can dish|
with most anyone but it sure helps to have a blur like Kariya on your line. Will probably have to do it without the mightiest
Duck before anyone will fully buy into him though.
|Rostislav Klesla-The kid they call ‘Rusty’ is probably one of the few good pieces of news coming out of|
Columbus these days as all reports have both coaching and management happy with his progress. While you’d like to see more
offense from him, playing with the lineup he has in front of him, it’s easy to see that his lack of numbers here aren’t entirely his
|Jeff Jillson-The next Sharks defenseman to march off the assembly line they seem to have going over there is|
back from a stint in the minors and is indeed back in the Top 10. San Jose are now using him in all situations and he is
repsonding to the increased workload. At this rate, the next time Mike Rathje holds out, the Sharks might just call his bluff.
|Others Receiving Votes (position last month in parenthesis):Krys Kolanos (7), Dan Blackburn|
(8), Mike Ribiero (9), Nick Boynton, Martin Erat, Pascal Dupuis