Zuerst die Western Conference:
Western Conference Rookie Race
November 7, 2002
From Arnason to Zetterberg, Bouwmeester to Volchenkov, the NHL's rookie crop appears exceptionally promising - and deep - in the early going of 2002-03.
So much so, in fact, that this week we'll look at only the Western Conference's top freshmen, and save the East for next week. (For the record, that's when defensemen Jay Bouwmeester of Florida and Anton Volchenkov of Ottawa will be discussed.)
Here are the West's 10 leading Calder Trophy candidates through the first month of play, in alphabetical order by team:
Stanislav Chistov, Anaheim: Five-foot-9, 170-pound Russian left winger wasted little time hitting NHL scoresheet, with a goal and four points in his first game. Only 19, he's a potential offensive dynamo who has three goals - all at even strength - and leads the Ducks with a plus-3. If his small frame can handle NHL pounding and lengthy season, Chistov - the No. 3 prospect in Future Watch 2002 - will get the linemates, ice time and opportunity to give the Calder a go.
Chuck Kobasew, Calgary: Twenty-year-old right winger thinks a good game and has the scoring knack. The Flames need goals, so as long as he contributes he'll continue to play with quality linemates.
Jordan Leopold, Calgary: Another bright Flame. Last season's Hobey Baker winner, he impressed Calgary management enough in camp that they flipped Derek Morris for Chris Drury, implying Leopold is the team's heir apparent power play quarterback. A superb skater, his forte is creating offense from the blueline - he has two goals in nine games.
Tyler Arnason, Chicago: Tied for the rookie scoring lead with four goals and eight points, Arnason made his big-league intentions known when he showed up at camp nearly 30 pounds lighter than last year (198 vs. 226). He was drafted 183rd overall in 1998.
Rick Nash, Columbus: With one goal and a minus-7 through 11 games the 18-year-old left winger, the first overall pick at last June's draft, is not an early Calder contender. But he's getting a regular shift and hasn't been scared off by a couple of fluky minor injuries.
Niko Kapanen, Dallas: Smaller, younger brother of Carolina's Sami, Niko, 24, is Dallas's other center, behind Mike Modano, Jason Arnott and Pierre Turgeon. Except Arnott has been hurt and Turgeon is just plain hurtin'. So Niko has played 14-plus minutes a game, chipping in a goal and six points.
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit: Although slowed by a groin injury that has shelved him for three games and counting, the pre-season Calder favorite saw time on the top line with Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov when he was healthy. A strong two-way player whose strength is as the set-up man, Zetterberg is definitely a rookie to watch.
Jason Williams, Detroit: Great story. Undrafted, he was signed as a free agent two years ago and played 25 regular season games with the Wings last season; one more game and he would've lost his Calder eligibility (his nine playoff games don't count). He's a speedy and creative 22-year-old who's a natural center, but has moved to right wing to skate with Pavel Datsyuk and Luc Robitaille.
Alexander Frolov, Los Angeles: Twenty-one-year-old Russian left winger is tied with Arnason and Chistov for the rookie scoring lead. And why not? He's on Los Angeles' first line - fellow rookie left winger Jaroslav Bednar is on the second unit - and his game is all about offense. At 6-foot-3, he needs to pack more muscle on his 190-pound frame to withstand the rigors of the NHL.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Minnesota: Drafted eighth overall in June, the 18-year-old offensive center, who checks in at a wispy 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, has two assists in the six games he has played for Jacques Lemaire's surprising Minnesota club. But he's still around...and he still might be when the Wild make their playoff debut in April.
Other Western rookies with bright futures are:
Alexei Smirnov, Anaheim: Teamed with Chistov and second-year center Andy McDonald and had a goal and an assist in Duck kids' explosive debut, but no points since and has seen some press box time.
Kurt Sauer, Anaheim: Zero points, but averaging nearly 20 minutes a game on Ducks blueline.
Vaclav Nedorost, Colorado: Another potential offensive force for overloaded Avs. Not this year, though, as 20-year-old needs to bulk up and learn North American game.
Dmitri Bykov, Detroit: Wings are easing in 25-year-old Russian defenseman; he's minus-4 in seven games.
Jaroslav Bednar, Los Angeles: Teases with his talent, 26-year-old Czech right winger has six helpers in 10 games. He scored four goals and six points in 22 NHL games last season.
Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose: The pride of Moose Factory, Ont., on the shores of Hudson Bay, Cheechoo is a goal-scorer getting about eight minutes a night.
Barret Jackman, St. Louis: No-nonsense, physical player getting third-most minutes among Blues defensemen.
Offizielle Werbung für das Heimspiel der Houston Aeros gegen die Milwaukee Admirals (AHL):
"If there is not a single five-minute fighting major given to a player, every fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the following home game."
Leider mittlerweile von der AHL verboten