Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Cross Checks [Print without images]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Calder Trophy finalists: Who should win?

By ESPN.com

As the NHL unveils the awards finalists this week, we will look back at our experts' picks for each award.

Today, it's the Calder Trophy finalists for rookie of the year. San Jose's Logan Couture, Carolina's Jeff Skinner and the New York Islanders' Michael Grabner are the finalists. Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun made their picks:

Calder Trophy

Burnside: Although Logan Couture may end the season behind Carolina's Jeff Skinner in points and may get edged by the Isles' terrific first-year sniper Michael Grabner in goals, our vote goes to the young San Jose center. When the Sharks were floundering earlier this season, it was Couture who provided clutch performances in spite of his youthfulness. Whatever coach Todd McLellan has asked, Couture has delivered.

Winner: Couture.

LeBrun: A sizable and impressive group of 2010-11 rookies, which included Couture, Skinner, Corey Crawford, P.K. Subban, John Carlson, Cam Fowler, Grabner, Tyler Ennis, Sergei Bobrovsky, Michal Neuvirth and James Reimer. I think Subban's 14 goals deserve more attention, but this will end up being a 1-2 battle between Skinner and Couture when the Professional Hockey Writers' Association votes come in. It's totally a toss-up and both kids deserve the award, but I'll go with the player who added defensive responsibilities to his game on top of the offense he provided.

Winner: Couture.