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: 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: Toledo Walleye forward Willie Coetzee, shown here playing in a preseason game for the Detroit Red Wings, is trying to climb back up the ladder in that NHL team's organization (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
Willie Coetzee refuses to use this year’s earlier NHL lockout as an excuse for currently playing for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. There is a reason why the Detroit Red Wings decided to keep the 5'10”, 180-pound forward in the ECHL instead of letting him build off of his 2010 campaign (11 goals, 11 assists) with the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids, MI.
Photo: Washington Capitals prospect Philipp Grubauer, shown here playing for the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, has performed impressively so far in the ECHL (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The ECHL and the ECHL All-Star Game has quietly become one of the top showcases and grooming grounds for upcoming National Hockey League goaltenders.
Just ask the Washington Capitals.
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.