The battle for the Calder trophy is shaping up to be a good one: Cory Conacher’s 18 points in 21 games has him as the favourite, but Jonathan Huberdeau’s 10 goals is tops among rookies and Justin Schultz is playing nearly 23 minutes a night for the Oilers. A strong push from Brendan Gallagher, Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, Dougie Hamilton, or one of half-a-dozen other rookies could see them in the running by the end of the season.
But what about last year’s rookies? Early last season, it looked like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was going to run away with the Calder, but an injury and strong all-around play from Gabriel Landeskog saw him lose out in the end. Meanwhile, Adam Henrique and Matt Read made a case for themselves with their two-way play and solid offensive numbers.
How are this season’s second-year players handling the dreaded sophomore slump and who is making a case for being the best sophomore this season? So far, Cody Hodgson is leading the way thanks to a great offensive start to the season and the struggles of last season’s Calder candidates.