Last season, Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers
ran away with the Calder Trophy, earning 400 more points than Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard
, who was the first runner-up.
Will it be closer this year?
The 2010-11 race certainly has the making of a classic, featuring a Cinderalla story goaltyender in Philadelphia, a gamble at forward paying off in Carolina and a can't-miss defenseman playing at a far higher level than his age would suggest in Washington DC.
So, who will take home Calder this spring? There's too much hockey left to be played to make that brash a decision, but NHL.com's Mike Morreale is ready to tell you who has been the League's best rookie through the first quarter of the season.
Sergei Bobrovsky, Philadelphia Flyers --
Bobrovsky has turned potential into reality. The 22-year-old Russian arrived in North America this fall as one of the game's most intriguing prospects. By November, he has become one of the League's best goalies. He's tied for second in the League with 11 wins and is ranked 11th in goals-against average (2.29), save percentage (.925) and minutes played (916:31) after stealing the job in training camp after starter Michael Leighton
suffered a back injury. During the Flyers' 10-game unbeaten streak earlier this season, "Bob" had a 1.70 GAA and a .946 save percentage.
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes --
A surprising No. 7 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, Skinner has repaid the faith Carolina showed in his with a Calder-worthy performance through the season's first two months. Skinner leads all NHL rookies with 10 assists and 16 points and is second with 6 goals, despite being the youngest player in the League.
John Carlson, Washington Capitals --
It's hard to believe Carlson, the overtime hero for Team USA in the gold-medal game of last year's World junior Championship, is still a rookie. Despite playing 22 regular-season games last season, as well as in the playoffs, Carlson is still considered a rookie, even if he doesn't play like one. He's first among rookie defenseman in scoring with 9 points, including 7 assists.