by PuckStopsHere on 01/27/09 at 03:58 AM ET
I am picking Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets as the current Calder Trophy leader. He is not only the rookie of the year, he is also a serious Vezina Trophy candidate (though at this point I would pick Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins), that makes him the runaway Calder leader.
However, there is another rookie who I could imagine giving Mason a race in the second half. This is especially true if the back spasms that kept Mason out of the Young Stars Game affect his second half play. That rookie is Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks.
Bobby Ryan apparently wasn’t good enough for selection to the Young Stars Game. He is currently the second highest scoring rookie this season. His 30 points are second to Kris Versteeg of Chicago, but he has been limited to only 31 games. This gives Ryan the best points per game among rookies.
In January so far, Bobby Ryan leads the entire NHL in goals. He has nine goals so far this month (which puts him ahead of Mike Cammalleri of Calgary and Ilya Kovalchuk of Atlanta who have eight). If Ryan can be among the goal scoring leaders the rest of the season, he could be in a position to win the Calder Trophy even if Mason remains a Vezina candidate. So far in January he has shown it is a possibility.
Where would Bobby Ryan be right now if he had spent his entire season in the NHL? He clearly looked like he should have made the Anaheim Ducks in training camp, however for salary cap reasons he started the season in the AHL. With a full season in the NHL, Ryan would likely be the top scoring rookie. I wonder if that is good enough to make the Young Stars Team.
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