by PuckStopsHere on 10/30/10 at 12:50 AM ET
For several years, I have tracked the players that I think are leading for the NHL awards as the season progresses. This often has me picking several leaders as the season progresses and things change. It is interesting to see how things change as the season progresses and see how soon into the season the final award candidates present themselves. At this point, I think Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the early leader. He is tied for the league lead among defencemen in points with eight. His +8 +/- rating is second best in the league and leads his team.
I think Letang is one of the better young defencemen in the game. At age 23, he is making a jump to the top defencemen in the NHL. Last year, he appeared among the top players in the league by adjusted Corsi rating. This is all evidence that he is becoming a star. This is easily seen watching the Pittsburgh Penguins.
I argue that Pittsburgh has one of the better defences in hockey. Their biggest strengths are young rising stars in Letang and Alex Goligoski. Strong depth is provided by free agent signees Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. I think Pittsburgh may have overpaid for these players especially Michalek but they are still valuable depth. It is the development of Letang and Goligoski that makes Pittsburgh`s defence a strong one.
I don`t believe that Letang will actually wind up the Norris Trophy winner, but he could be a solid candidate who plays an all star season. I think Kris Letang is one of the better young defencemen in hockey today.
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