Friday, 29 June 2012

NHL: Calder Trophy candidates

The annual Calder Trophy award is given to the player who has had the most proficient first year in the NHL and is the de-facto award for the Rookie of the Year.

The Rookie of the Year trophy has been awarded 79 times since its creation for the 1936–37 NHL season. The voting is conducted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the conclusion of each regular season to determine the winner.

The 2012 daft class will be on display next season in the NHL and it could well be a thrilling battle for the Calder Trophy, as several NHL picks battle for recognition.

This season’s draft was heavily dominated by defencemen and it may well happen that a blueliner can win the award next year – although that has only happened on two occasions since the 1996-97 season.

Nail Yakupov would be among most people’s leading candidates for the Trophy and he has added to that chance by heading to Edmonton to play for the Oilers.

There he will have an outstanding chance of leading the rookie tables in scoring especially if he has Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Sam Gagner as his center, and he could easily top the 52 points that this year’s winner of the Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche scored on his way to scooping last year’s prize.

Yakupov has an uncanny knack of scoring and it has to be remembered that he will be part of a very dangerous Oilers offence next year.

Yakupov is sure to be pushed by a few others and those would include Ryan Murray and Teuvo Teravainen.

The former will hopefully figure on the Blue Jackets roster next season and we expect him to be an all-round force on defence. Whilst his offence isn’t a major part of his game, he remains leading candidate for the Calder.

Teravainen has the spectacular combination of elite-shooting skills and blazing speed, which will help him be effective at the NHL level. He could well thrive alongside the talented Blackhawks forwards in Chicago and he has the potential develop into a star.

Those who bet on hockey reckon he’s another who has a shot at picking up the Calder Trophy on the way.

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