There’s a lot to be excited about the upcoming NHL season. The fact that the season is coming is enough, but the ever-growing group of young players in the league is also exciting. As such, there are several quality candidates for the 2021 Calder Memorial Trophy, NHL’s best rookie. Below, I can find a prediction that my method is too early – one goalkeeper, one defense, and one forward could be a candidate for this year’s rookie.
Igor Sheschokin (G) – New York Rangers
Last season was Igor Sheschokin’s first season in North America. The player from Moscow was selected for the fourth round of the 2014 New York Rangers. He and the Rangers didn’t rush his development, but instead took the time until both parties felt they were ready to make an impact at the NHL level.
That patience is about to be rewarded. After spending five seasons at KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg, Sheschokin split into AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack and New York last season. During his 25 games against Hartford, he scored 17 wins, an ERA of 1.90 and an ERA of .934. Broadway’s bright light didn’t seem to bother him with 2.52 GAA, .932 (SV%), and even 10 wins in the first 12 NHL games.
The 25-year-old Sheschokin is the Rangers’ future starter, but his partner Alexander Georgiev has proven to be a talented running mate over the last three seasons in New York. It should lead to a good tandem that gives Sheschokin the opportunity to stay fresh so that he can play the best hockey.
I’m not a goalkeeper expert, but it was impressive to see him several times last year. It’s a very gentle and efficient play style. The Rangers will be a very good team in the next few years. Sheschokin could speed up the process, and my guess is that he will reveal it sooner or later.
Bowen Byram (D) – Colorado Avalanche
This was a close decision between Moritz Cider and Bowwen Byram, Detroit Red Wings 6th overall in 2019. Cider has disbanded the Swedish League, but I was fortunate enough to see Byram since I was 13 years old. This probably explains my prejudice in this case.
At the age of 19, he is still eligible to play in junior. This means you have to play in Colorado or return to WHL with the Vancouver Giants. AHL cannot be selected this season. This is a bit of a challenge for Avalanche, as six highly capable defenses have contracted for the next season.
Do they keep the youth in Denver, where he is at least a member of the taxi corps and can adapt to the league? Or do you wait until the WHL season begins? Byram has earned points per game over the last two seasons. Only Avalanche GM Joe Sakick and head coach Jared Bednar know the final plan.
After seeing him at the World Junior Championships last week, I have my own predictions: Byram stays in Colorado and quickly proves that he is not only a playable but also an impact player. No one knows what Avalanche will do after that, but this is a young man who has always shown a big jump in play easily.
Kirill Kaprizov (LW) – Minnesota Wild
Choosing a positive candidate for Calder is much more difficult. The 2019 draft includes a number of good candidates, such as Dylan Cozens (Buffalo Sabers) and Trevor Zegras (Anaheim Ducks), who appear to be ready to influence based on their recent play at World Junior. I’m sorry.
Then again, Alex Lafrenière, the first overall pick in 2020, may be a good choice as it steps into the aggressively dangerous New York Rangers lineup. Fans’ favorite Tim Stetzle may be able to break out with Ottawa Senators, or Quinton Byfield of the Los Angeles Kings, and Marco Rossi of Wild in Minnesota.
All great candidates, but in the end I chose a player with more professional experience, Russian star Kirill Kaprizov. Minnesota chose him in the fifth round of 2015 and spent time developing within Russian territory at KHL’s CSKA Moscow like Sheschokin.
The 23-year-old signed an entry-level contract with Wild in July 2020, and the excitement around Minnesota has been active ever since. Expectations are justified as his total points are steadily rising during his time at KHL. In 2019-20, he scored 33 goals per game pace and added 29 helpers (62) in 57 KHL games.
Reaction to Previous story of Kaprizov It was decisive – both methods. There are many wild fans who are confident that he will soon become a star, and many who think he is being hyped.
Personally, the numbers don’t lie. The fact that he has always been a big part of Russia’s junior and Olympic programs, along with his steady offensive contributions, makes him a good candidate as a great NHL player. That said, I predict he will endure hype and have an immediate impact on the wild team looking for more crime.
In any case, the NHL is constantly blessed with great young players and this year’s Calder Race should be interesting!
– NHL Sports
The least likely, but still plausible NHL2020-21 Calder Memorial Trophy candidate
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