Prospect Ramblings: Calder Power Rankings 010

Brayden Olafson

2020-03-06

 

 

Welcome back for another edition of the Calder Power Rankings. 

 

For a look at any of the previous revisions of the Calder Power Rankings, check out the following links:


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1. D, Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (-) | 12-35-47

 

 

Cale Makar is holding on to the top spot by a thread. The rookie defender has remained consistent while healthy throughout his first NHL slate and has a scoring rate higher than any rookie defender in the modern-day NHL including greats like Nick Lindstrom, and Bryan Berard. Hughes is hot on his tail in many aspects and has outplayed him by some standards. For now, he remains at number one, but this is the closest the two have been since kicking off the season.  

 

 

2. D, Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks (-) | 8-43-51

 

 

Each week I find myself closer and closer to bumping Hughes ahead of Makar in these rankings. What Hughes has been capable of on a team that hasn’t been consistently competitive throughout the year is significant, but I’m still having a hard time giving that more value than what Makar has consistently done at even strength. No matter what, this one is going to come down to the wire. 

 

 

3. LW, Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks (+1) | 29-15-44

 

 

The 24-year-old Czech has been one of the stand-out bright spots in Chicago this year, and an outstanding find for their scouting team. Only one other rookie has done what the Blackhawks forward is on pace to do this year, and that was Auston Matthews, who also eclipsed the 37-goal mark as a rookie. Kubalik has found success predominantly at five-on-five and played a strong defensive game as well. As snipers go, he’s as well rounded as they come, and that’s not just considering rookies. Over-aged players like him don’t come around often. 

 

 

 

4. LW, Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres (+8) | 19-21-40

 

 

Back from injury this week, the Buffalo rookie isn’t going to have to make up as much ground as I had anticipated when he hit the IR. As long as he’s able to find his legs before too long, Olofsson should be able to keep his stock inside the top-5 until year-end.

 

 

5. D, Adam Fox, New York Rangers (+1) | 7-28-35

 

 

Sitting a full tier below this year’s top rookie defenders is a terrible way to look at Rangers’ rookie Adam Fox year. Deployed more sparingly in Manhattan, Fox’s opportunity hasn’t come close to matching either Hughes or Makar, but many aspects of his game have. Fox plays a solid two-way game and his offense has been on par with many of the past decade’s top rookie defensemen. Sadly, this year he’ll have to settle for the second all-rookie team because of those circumstances.

 

 

6. G, Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets (-3)  | 12-9-8, 0.922 SV%, 2.39 GAA

 

 

Most of us knew that the improbable eight-game winning streak Merzlikins rallied the Blue Jackets to was bound to correct itself, but the subsequent eight games that have followed have been a surprising disappointment. While Elvis has thankfully been able to sustain his quality starts, for the most part, the team has struggled to find points, coming away with only four through that stretch. It’s a tumble that is going to be difficult to pick up from, and with Korpisalo back from the IR fighting for minutes, Merzlikins top-rookie goalie bid will be even more uncertain. 

 

 

7. C, Nick Suzuki, Montreal Canadiens (+1) | 13-27-40

 

 

After a relatively slow start, Suzuki rocked the second half of his rookie campaign. The shuffle of Canadiens’ lines has continued making the rookie’s deployment as turbulent as his production. Since late February, Suziki has been as cold as ice, sporting a six-game pointless drought. His totals are enough to sustain him for now, but if the last quarter of the year continues as it’s started, he could drop right out of the top-10. 

 

 

8. C/RW, Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes (+2) | 16-19-35

 

 

Necas’ rookie slate has been consistently bland, but nonetheless, consistent. Unfortunately, when watching him, it seems like he could do so much more for the Canes if given the opportunity. The team has had ample opportunities to juggle their lines more which is what makes Necas’ predicament all the more difficult to endure. At least for the short term, it seems like we’ll have to come to terms with Necas as a relatively productive bottom-six forward. 

 

 

9. D, John Marino, Pittsburgh Penguins (-7) | 6-20-26

 

 

The facial injury that derailed Marino’s surprising rookie slate has subsided after a few weeks of recovery, and the Pens’ blueliner is back in the lineup seemingly without skipping a beat. Unfortunately, he’s lost some ground since the beginning of February and the middle of the top-10 are an unforgiving bunch. If he can finish strong, he might be able to leapfrog a few spots, but regardless of where he ends up, his season should be considered a massive success by almost all standards. 

 

 

10. Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals (-1) | 16-6-1, 0.917 SV%, 2.71 GAA

 

 

Since mid-February, Samsonov has had some difficulty putting together a string of quality starts for the Capitals. His share of the crease hasn’t increased and most of his vital stats have taken a dip over the span in which he started five games. On February 10th against the Islanders, he was yanked for the first time this year, after surrendering five goals on a mere 20 shots. Of all rookie netminders, there’s little question that Samsonov has been one of the best, but his play as of late has slipped a bit. 

 

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For anyone who’s still reading, last week DobberHockey published my final edition of The Journey. The column will continue but will be hosted by another eager writer from our amazing clan. It was a bittersweet conclusion to the opportunity that Dobber and Cam Robinson entrusted me with a little over a year ago, but I’m planning to dedicate my extra time exclusively to DobberProspects moving forward. For anyone who wants a little more detailed look at some of this year’s rookie goalies who may or may not has been included in past revisions of the Calder Power Rankings, that link to The Journey is a much more thorough look at the rookie goaltenders of the 2019-20 NHL season. 

 

Make sure to check back in a couple of weeks for the next revision of the Calder Trophy Power Rankings. 

 

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@olaf1393

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