There are plenty of old adages to sum up how good this rookie class may ultimately be. "Iron sharpens iron", or maybe "let the cream rise to the top", but more likely I think by seasons end the quote by Andrew Whitworth may sum up who will win this season's Calder Trophy:
"If you're a true warrior, competition doesn't scare you. It makes you better." This one speaks to me when looking at the league landscape in terms of it's rookie class. Sure, almost every major sports website has a Connor Bedard watch or Connor Bedard tracker... However, upon further inspection these websites should also have these players being eyed for this season's honor:
Logan Cooley - 8 points in 11 games for an improved Arizona club. Cooley is tied for the league lead in assists for an eligible rookie skater.
Pavel Mintyukov - The smooth skating defenseman looks comfortable running things for the Ducks and is tied for the points lead (8) amongst his rookie counterparts.
Bobby Brink - The Flyers forward was drafted in 2019 (22 years old) but is entering his first full stint with Philadelphia (8 points in 11 games as well)
Marco Rossi - After a bout with effects from Covid, Rossi appears to be on track now (9th overall in 2020) and has 5 goals in 11 games thus far.
Highly touted players for this award are also off to good starts as Adam Fantilli is on a 40+ point pace, while Leo Carlsson has come on strong with 3 goals in his first 7 contests, and Luke Hughes for Cup contender New Jersey has 7 points in 11 matchups.
On top of those 7 are a host of worthy inclusions: Matthew Knies (7 points in 12), Ridly Greig (7 points in 9), Brock Faber (4 points in 11), Kevin Korchinski (3 assists in 11 games), David Jiricek (3 points in 10 games), Matthew Poitras (7 points in 12), and Luke Evangelista (7 points in 11 games).
Then there is the presumed front-runner, Chicago's own: Connor Bedard (5 goals, 2 assists in 11 matchups so far this season). Anyway you look at it, the competiton for this award is full of both quality and quantity. With many players past the 9 game mark now, alot of the listed rookies will now stay with their NHL teams (presumably). There could also be a host of recent high picks come into the fold later in the season (Wright / Slafkovsky).
Who will win this prestigious award? It is too early to say anyone has gotten off to a start that declares they have a "skate" up on anyone. It is exciting to see such competition though and a race that I'll happily keep tabs on throughout the season.