HF Calder Poll March 2007

By HF Staff

For the first time during the regular season, the staff at Hockey’s Future unanimously ranked Evgeni Malkin No. 1 in our Calder Poll. Malkin continues to provide consistent excitement and offensive production, maintaining a scoring pace of more than a point per game.

Not surprisingly, Paul Stastny and Jordan Staal of the Pens have made compelling statements through their play over the course of the past 20 games. And the Western Conference again dominates our Calder Poll, with seven players in our Top 10. Following are the results of our March Calder Poll.

1. Evgeni Malkin, C (PIT)
6’4, 190 lbs. DOB: July 31, 1986
Acquired: 1st Round, 2nd Overall 2004

Malkin has scored 30 goals and 41 assists in 63 games, with nine of his goals coming on the power play. He has played an average of 23 shifts per game, which translates into and average of 19:33 of ice time per game.

The Penguins are 16 games over .500 and are close to securing a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Malkin will not have to wait long to acquire playoff experience.

2. Anze Kopitar, C (LA)
6’4, 220 lbs. DOB: August 24, 1987
Acquired: 1st Round, 11th Overall, 2005

Through 63 games, Kopitar has scored 18 goals and added 38 assists. A durable center, he is averaging 20:39 of ice time. His performance is impressive in light of the fact the Kings are struggling badly this season. He has missed five games over the past month, due to an upper-body injury.

3. Paul Stastny, C (COL)
6′, 205 lbs. DOB: Dec. 27, 1985
Acquired: 2nd Round, 44th Overall 2005

Stastny was just edged out by Kopitar for second place in our Calder Poll. Through 69 games, Stastny has scored 22 goals and 44 assists while averaging 17:52 of ice time. His 66 points are second only to Malkin in the rookie-scoring race.

Currently, Stastny is on an 18-game point-scoring streak. Alas, it may be too little, too late for the Avs playoff hopes, but Stastny has injected excitement and purpose with his heady offensive play. The organization’s previous record point scoring streak was 16 games, set by Stastny’s father Peter back in 1980-81. He has also eclipsed the league record of 17 consecutive games with at least one point, set previously by Teemu Selanne’s when he broke into the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets. Stastny was also named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for February.

4. Jordan Staal, C (PIT)
6’4, 220 lbs. DOB: Sept. 10, 1988
Acquired: 1st Round, 2nd Overall 2006

Through 66 games, Staal has scored 27 goals and 10 assists. He plays an average of 14:47 per game and is among the rookie leaders with a plus-15 ranking. With seven short-handed goals, Staal leads the entire NHL. In comparison to Malkin, Crosby and the other high-octane forwards in Pittsburgh, Staal sees very little ice time on the power play, but has still managed to score four times with the man advantage. At 18 years of age, Staal is the youngest of the standout rookies.

5. Wojtek Wolski, LW (COL)
6’3, 202lbs. DOB: February 24, 1986
Acquired: 1st Round, 21st Overall 2004

Through 63 games, Wolski has scored 20 goals and added 23 assists while averaging 15:33 minutes of ice time. Left slightly behind in the wake of Stastny’s recent run, Wolski continues to develop in all areas and has become a reliable provider of secondary and special teams scoring.

6. Dustin Penner, RW (ANA)
6’4, 240 lbs. DOB: September 28, 1982
Acquired: Signed as Free Agent, May 2004

Through 69 games, Dustin Penner has tallied 25 goals and 15 assists. Penner, 24, sees time on the Ducks’ second power-play unit and is also the oldest rookie in our Calder Poll. Much like NHL veteran Ryan Smyth, Penner often scores from position tight to the opposition goal as his size makes it challenging for defensemen around the league to have their way with him.

7. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D (SJ)
6’1. 186 lbs. DOB: March 30, 1987
Acquired: 2nd Round, 35th Overall 2005

Vlasic continues to log plenty of ice time for the Sharks, averaging 21:57 per game. Through 67 games, Vlasic has scored three goals and 18 assists and a plus-4 ranking. With the departure of Josh Gorges to Montreal and the subsequent arrival of Craig Rivet from the Habs, Vlasic has gained another veteran defenseman to learn from.

8. Matt Carle, D (SJ)
6′, 190 lbs. DOB: September 25, 1984
Acquired: 2nd Rd, 47th Overall, 2003

The dependable Carle has delivered consistency for the Sharks this season, delivering on the promise heaped upon the former Hobey Baker Award winner prior to the current campaign. Through 63 games this season, Carle has collected nine goals and 24 assists. He has a plus-4 ranking. His average ice time has decreased over the past 25 games, from over 20 minutes to 18:46. Carle, along with Vlasic, provide the Sharks with a bright future along the blueline as both have offensive skills to complement their solid defensive play.

9. Alexander Radulov, LW (NAS)
6’1, 190 lbs. DOB: July 5, 1986
Acquired: 1st Round, 15th Overall, 2004

Through 51 games, Radulov has scored 12 goals and 16 assists while playing an average of 10:37 per game. He has scored three game-winning goals. Radulov also spent a portion of the season in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals, scoring six goals and 12 assists in 10 games.

His plus-14 ranking is second among rookies, behind Staal. On a good team with a deep group of forwards, Radulov has proven to date that he belongs in the NHL as a consistent offensive threat.

10. Travis Zajac, C (NJ)
6’2. 200 lbs. DOB: May 13, 1985
Acquired: 1st Round, 20th Overall 2004

Through 66 games with the Devils this season, Zajac has scored 13 goals and 16 assists, while averaging just 15:46 of ice time per outing. He also has a plus-5 ranking.

Zajac is playing in all situations for the Devils and recently scored big goals in back-to-back, one-goal victories over division-rival New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. In a more high-profile media market, Zajac would likely receive much more press, as he has very quickly become a dependable pro.

Copyright 2007 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.