Is two weeks into the season too early to discuss the Calder Trophy race? Not at ESPN.com! We’re a little crazy that way. So let’s take a look at the early race as we see it with our top five contenders as of Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 18):
The 21-year-old native of St. John’s, Newfoundland, is tied for the NHL rookie scoring lead with six points (3-3) in five games. The second-round pick (44th overall in 2008) has begun the season centering the top line between Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Not bad at all. At 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds, Adam has the size and strength to stand the rigors of an NHL season.
The Swedish blueliner, drafted fourth overall this past June, doesn’t have a point yet, but so what? At 18, he leads all NHL rookies in ice time at a whopping 24:14 per game. That’s unreal. He’s got tremendous vision and is going to be a star in this league for a long, long time.
The native of Burnaby, B.C., of course, was taken first overall in June. The Oilers haven’t officially announced he is here to stay, but we’d be shocked otherwise. He already has a hat trick under his belt (as of Wednesday afternoon he led all rookies with four goals) and is showing terrific chemistry with second-year winger Taylor Hall.
At 25, he’s certainly the elder statesman of the freshman NHL class this season, but he’s still a rookie. A free-agent signing by the Flyers out of Bemidji State University, Read is tied for the NHL lead with six points (2-4) in five games. He’s also plus-4 on the season.
The 18-year-old Swede was taken second overall in June and doesn’t look out of place at all despite his age. Playing the wing on a third line with Ryan O’Reilly and Daniel Winnik, Landeskog has displayed a solid, two-way game and his hockey smarts are obvious. He’s got three points (2-1) in six games, but his game is more than offense.
Trophy Tracker: Calder Trophy
The Oilers must decide whether to keep Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the big club or send him down to junior before the nine-game mark.