With two more goals Tuesday night, Carolina’s Jeff Skinner continues to tear up the NHL at 18 years old, but while he’s leading the Calder race, he’s far from the only freshman making waves. This week we look at some other rookies who are either in the thick of things for some hardware or who deserve a mention for a recent call-up.
The coaching staff loves this 21-year-old – and why not? The ninth overall pick from 2007 is second among rookies in points and leads his team and all first-year players in goals with 24. In a season where San Jose’s big guns Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton (among others) are seeing a downturn in production, Couture’s ascension has been crucial to keeping the Sharks in the thick of things.
Congratulations to the 21st overall pick from 2009, who earned his first NHL call-up last week. Moore played in his first NHL game Saturday against Edmonton and while his 12:05 of ice time and minus-1 rating isn’t anything to write home about, he wasn’t outmatched and made a nice defensive play after losing his glove and stick.
The 20-year-old has seen less than nine minutes of ice time in four of his past five games, but give him room and he’ll take advantage. Tedenby recorded his first multi-goal game Tuesday night against Carolina, with the second marker coming on a beautiful wrist shot in overtime to give the Devils their 10th win in 13 games.
Much like Erik Gudbranson this season, Timmins was sent back to the Ontario League last season after not being able to agree on a contract with the Panthers. After a strong overage season, Timmins graduated to the American League and posted 22 points in 45 games this season before being called up to the NHL. He now has four games under his belt – all in February – and while he hasn’t played 11:00 in a game yet, he notched his first goal Feb. 2 against Montreal.
Included in an off-season trade with Steve Bernier and a first round pick for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich, Grabner didn’t last long in Florida and was cut by the Panthers after a weak pre-season. Too bad. Grabner has excelled on a poor Islanders team with 17 goals so far – eight of which have come in his past 11 games.
With Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov long gone, Subban has had to take on a much bigger role for the Habs. After a couple of healthy scratches in December, Subban has regularly logged more than 21:00 a game and has 12 points in the 18 games since he was sat down.
A two-time Calder Cup champion in Hershey, Perreault is making the most of his NHL opportunity. Undersized at 5-foot-10 and 174 pounds, he’s nonetheless easily noticeable on the ice because of his quickness. A defensively responsible playmaker, Perreault has seen his ice time come up a bit in his past five games and he’s answered with four points and a plus-2 rating.
A late arrival to the Calder Race, Marchand sits sixth in freshman scoring. Undersized, but full of energy, the 2006 third-rounder had 14 points through his first 35 games, but has posted the same amount of points in his past 15 games.
The Hawks had to dump a few energy players in the off-season so the 24-year-old’s promising effort has been welcomed with open arms by the defending champs. A potential power forward, Bickell’s age shouldn’t be a turn off because those types of players tend to take a bit longer to develop. With 12 goals and 28 points in 50 games, the Bowmanville, Ont., native has as many markers as Marian Hossa and is eyeing a 20-goal campaign.
The second round Columbus pick from 2005 averages 12:45 of ice time per game, but has played more minutes than that in each of his past nine games. After being traded to Boston in 2007 for a fifth round pick, McQuaid is finally establishing himself as a physical force along a big Boston blueline. At 6-foot-4, 197 pounds, the 24-year-old is fourth on the team in blocked shots despite playing only 39 games.
The Rookie Report covers the top performances from first year NHLers. From Calder candidates to brief call-ups, we’ll bundle all the best together every other week only on thehockeynews.com
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