Photo: Florida Panthers' forward Jonathan Huberdeau formed a potent trio in February with Peter Mueller (R) and Drew Shore (courtesy of Juan Salas/Icon SMI)
With the lockout-shortened season, most teams will reach the midway point of their 48 game season sometime over the next week. In terms of the race for the 2013 Calder Trophy, most of the front-runners from the season's opening month continued to shine.
Photo: Mark Arcobello, among Oklahoma City’s leaders on and off the ice this season, made his NHL debut with the Oilers on February 6th. (courtesy of Chris Austin/Icon SMI)
The 2012-13 season has been a roller coaster ride for the Edmonton Oilers’ minor league affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons. The lockout at the beginning of the season brought them a host of talent with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to name a few. However, once the lockout ended, the Oilers quickly found themselves in injury trouble and the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons were not only without the benefit of some added offense, but missing some of their key centermen as well. Despite this, the Barons have managed to soldier on and are currently vying for a playoff spot in the Western Conference of the AHL.
Photo: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko got off to an impressive start in his NHL career, making him an easy choice as the NHL's top rookie for January (courtesy of Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
Due to the NHL lockout, January was an abbreviated month, with most teams playing just over half a dozen games. Nonetheless, the Hockey’s Future staff was polled to give their early thoughts on the front-runners for the league's Calder Trophy, which recognizes the NHL's top rookie.
Photo: Teemu Hartikainen may not be the most glamorous prospect in the Oilers' system, but the hard-nosed winger is once again skating with the big club in Edmonton. (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
As a team that has taken the number one draft selection in the league for the past three years, the Edmonton Oilers are in a unique position. Their last three number one picks have been an almost sure-bet to enter straight onto the Oilers roster at the beginning of the next season and were expected to make a big splash for a team that desperately needed some new blood, starting with Taylor Hall in 2010-11, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011-12, and Nail Yakupov in 2012-13. This leaves the potential for the remaining draft pool to be a bit sparse, but the Oilers have managed to maintain some depth in their pipeline.
Photo: St. Louis Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who is ranked second in HF's prospect rankings, is off to a fine start in his NHL career, making him a leading candidate for NHL Rookie of the Year (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
With the end of the lockout and the abbreviated 48-game season, the opportunities for NHL rookies to make an impression is somewhat limited. Many of the top teams, such as the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, head into the season with their lineups virtually intact from the 2011-12 season.