Well, it's that time again... NHL award candidates are being announced. Wednesday starts the daily parade of award announcements with the Calder Trophy for the best rookie. This is still probably my favourite of the awards, it's a good celebration of the up-and-coming youth movement in the league. For fantasy players, it's also a good award to watch for keeper drafts, especially if you picked them early.
The best fantasy rookie this year, which makes him my leading candidate, not to mention everyone else's in the league, is Steve Mason of the Blue Jackets. With 33 wins and an NHL-best 10 shutouts, Mason finished with 86 pool points, ranking him 16th among all players. That's more than enough to make him a first round draft pick next season, even if I have 17 people again.
The Ducks had their own super-rookie this season, Bobby Ryan, who likely was having fears of not playing this year at all, thanks to the Ducks' poor cap management in the off-season. Ryan finished the year with 57 points in 64 games for the Ducks, whichis a pretty good click to be scoring at. He finished 97th in pool rankings and he could have been quite a bit higher, if he played the whole year.
Kris Versteeg jumped out to a huge start in the year for Chicago, which got him picked in the first round of the first Waiver Draft of the year. Versteeg started the year with 20 points in 22 games, which was good and finished the season with 53 points in 78 games. That's a pretty reasonable season, when it's all said and done. That ranked him pretty well for next year, 117th in pool rankings. Someone to definitely keep an eye out for.