While both have shown glimpses of what made them the top two selections in the draft, they’re both struggling to find consistency. Both will be fine and will eventually prove why they were taking as high as they were.
That said, though, Hall and Seguin are just two first-year pros who are part of a very impressive NHL rookie class.
The best of the lot, at least this year, may be Carolina’s Jeff Skinner. While he doesn’t turn 19 until May, Skinner has been incredibly impressive with the Hurricanes. He was named to this year’s All-Star Game, and his numbers certainly back that up. He’s accumulated more points and assists than any other rookie, and he finds himself trailing only one player in goals.
That player happens to be San Jose’s Logan Couture, another impressive rookie making a name for himself. Couture, who scored for the Sharks in a Feb. 5 win over the Bruins, leads NHL rookies in tallies with 25 of them. He’s also an impressive plus-17 on the year.
Those aren’t the only rookies contributing night in and night out. Michael Grabner is red-hot down on Long Island for the Islanders, with 25 points in his last 22 games. If the Blackhawks are able to get back into the Western Conference playoffs to defend their Stanley Cup title, a lot of the reason will be because of goalie Corey Crawford. He leads rookie goalies in practically every category. He’s second among all goalies in goals against, behind only Vezina favorite Tim Thomas.
Making a strong push to at least get into the conversation is Bruins forward Brad Marchand. After starting the season on Claude Julien‘s lower lines, Marchand has morphed himself into one of the Bruins’ more consistent players. He’s among the rookie leaders in all offensive categories, and no rookie has a better plus-minus rating. Perhaps the strongest indication of his impressive season is the continued confidence shown in him by Julien and the rest of the Bruins as he skates on a line with veterans Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
The league has a bright future, as this year’s rookie class is showing. Only one will walk away with the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year, though.
Who do you think is the Calder Trophy front-runner? Share your thoughts below.
Saturday, Feb. 26: Is the Eastern Conference or Western Conference stronger in the NHL?