Prospect Ramblings: Calder Power Rankings 003

by Brayden Olafson on November 13, 2019

 

Welcome back! 

 

If this is your first time tuning in to the Calder Power Rankings, welcome! I’m glad you’re here – and no need to worry, you can find each of the previous editions below.

 

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Two weeks into the 2019-20 NHL campaign I kicked off a new segment that I’ve committed to publishing on a bi-weekly basis as part of the Dobber Prospects Ramblings. 

 

One month into the year, the Calder race remains extremely volatile, and this week we’ve welcomed several new players to the top-10, as well as the honorable mentions section.

 

It’s also worth noting that as the list has evolved, I’ve begun to track and monitor a broader group of rookies so that I can provide a better reading experience for everyone. For this reason, you might begin to notice a jump in places greater than ten players who weren’t included in previous lists. 

 

1. D, Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (-) | 4-13-17

 

After the run he’s gone on over the last two weeks if Cake Makar could go any higher in the rankings, he would. The rookie blueliner was named the NHL’s third star of the week on Sunday after a jolt of six points through his previous three games. At times, the 21-year-old has seemingly saddled up and put the Av’s team on his back, not to mention continuing to boast an outstanding rapport in the advanced stats’ community.

 

2. D, Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks (+1) | 2-10-12

 

Consistently and aggressively, Quinn Hughes is attempting to make up ground on his equally touted defensive counterpart, Cale Makar. Unfortunately for the Canuck, Makar has also refused to slow his torrid pace. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t help his cause that Makar has been playing slightly more difficult and less sheltered minutes for the Avalanche than Hughes has in Vancouver. There is hope for Hughes though, as he’s had a slightly stronger impact on his team’s possession, making good on his favorable deployment. 

 

3. C/RW, Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes (+2) | 4-8-12

 

The Czech forward has been the ultimate blend of offense and defense for the middle-of-the-pack Hurricanes to begin his rookie campaign. The 20-year-old sits fifth among ‘Canes forwards in scoring thanks to his 2.9 points/60 scoring rate. While the pace is nearly double that of his small sample size from last year, it’s far from unsustainable. 

 

4. RW, Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres (-) | 7-5-12

 

Despite a dip in his production since the first couple weeks of the season, Olofsson has been a mainstay on the Sabres’ top line. His shooting percentage was expected to dip after that time and is expected to dip further yet, however, the 24-year-old has regained some pace in his offense since his brief hiatus from the scoresheet. Along with playing on the teams’ top line has come a highly challenging opposition for the rookie which is something he seems to be being challenged with these days.

 

5. C, Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils (+4) | 4-5-9

 

The gap between brothers has narrowed significantly over the past two weeks with Jack finally finding his confidence as a New Jersey Devil. His production has become among the most consistent in Newark, as he now trails only Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. The 18-year-old has been playing an extremely sheltered role with the aforementioned pair which has allowed him to rebuild his confidence and also may play a role in slingshotting him into the heat of the Calder race. 

 

6. C, Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks (-) | 4-3-7

 

This Hawks rookie has quietly been chugging along as one of the league’s most consistent defensive forces. His production has been respectable, however, considering the 24-year-old’s deployment, it’s all the more impressive. The majority of Kubalik’s zone starts have come in the defensive zone and along with linemates David Kampf and Brandon Saad, he’s thrived. Unfortunately he may struggle to maintain the offense required of a prototypical Calder contender, however, if there were a Calder-Selke hybrid, DK would certainly be in the running.

 

7. LW, Denis Gurianov, Dallas Stars (+4) | 4-3-7

 

After a lightning-quick start in the AHL to kick off the 2019-20 campaign, Denis Gurianov has wasted no time getting his production to translate to the NHL. Lined up with All-Stars Tyler Seguin and fellow Russian Alex Radulov, Gurianov has had an exceptional amount of offensive success in Dallas. Considering his slightly delayed start to the year, Gurianov has made up ground on the competition quite quickly and could sustain the climb based on his positive possession numbers. 

 

8. D, Adam Fox, New York Rangers (NEW) | 2-4-6

 

With four points in his most recent four games, Adam Fox has officially put himself on the radar for Calder contention. The Rangers’ rookie had been off to a stable start through the first month of the year, however, his production had yet to blossom. With his contributions finally showing some tangible results there is optimism that Fox will be able to continue this trend and grapple his way higher in the rankings as the weeks wear on.

 

9. RW, Ilya Mikheyev, Toronto Maple Leafs (-7) | 4-7-11

 

Proof of the infancy, turbulence, and volatility of these rankings, the previously surging Leafs’ rookie has been undoubtedly surpassed by several others over the course of the last two weeks. His production, along with the team’s record over that span has plummeted, and with little to no advanced stats to back up a resurgence, we could see Mikheyev stewing in the 7-12 range for several of the weeks to come. 

 

10. LW, Alex Nylander, Chicago Blackhawks (+4) | 2-5-7

 

One might argue that Nylander was worthy of a spot on these rankings weeks ago – the Blackhawks left-winger has been one of the team’s most valuable shutdown forwards since early in the year, but it has only now become truly distinguishable from a fluke. In addition to his consistent 200-foot play, Nylander has finally begun to receive semi-regular dividends from his contributions to the team in the form of a points/60 scoring rate that is slowly approaching his career president. 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Emil Bemstrom 

Joel Farabee

Cody Glass

Ethan Bear

Kirby Dach

 

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