NHL Rookie Of The Year Candidates
With the NHL season quickly approaching, we are going to be taking a look at a couple of young players that could potentially win the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the year. The NHL is a bit different from other professional sports leagues, some players in contention for this award have played in multiple NHL games in 2020, but not enough to be taken out of their rookie category. Let’s see what players could end up winning this award in 2021.
Trevor Zegras was two games away from being labeled ineligible for this award and yet here he is. Zegras participated in the 2021 World Junior Championship and in the AHL while dominating both of those. He even put up 13 points in a couple of appearances for the Anaheim Ducks. This season, Zegras is expected to take an even bigger leap forward, with the Ducks primed to move him into the starting lineup for the beginning of the year. Zegras is going to get to show the world of his talents this season and with that much playing time he should be considered the top man for the award.
Cole Caufield did end up playing in 30 NHL games last season for the Montreal Canadiens in 2020. However, 20 of those games were in the postseason so he is still classified as a rookie. Caufield impressed the team quite a bit in the first couple of games, which is why they have big expectations in mind for the young kid. He may get twice as many opportunities in the power play now that Shea Weber is currently injured and could also put his elite shot release on display alongside either Nick Suzuki or Christian Dvorak’s line.
Lucas Raymond ended up being the fourth overall selection back in 2020 and still remains a teenager. While teenagers usually don’t win this award, Raymond proved that he was good enough to do so. He played for one of Europe’s best professional teams a little bit ago, adding 18 points to his name in just 34 total games. Raymond is currently on a Detroit Red Wings team that doesn’t have much talent at the scoring positions, meaning he is going to have a ton of opportunities to showcase his talents this upcoming season. That usage could win him this award.
The only goaltender on our list, Spencer Knight may be in line for a tremendous season. He was a finalist for the Rookie of the Year award last season and somehow is eligible for the award again this year due to the fact he played in just 23 games in the regular season. It won’t be easy for him to repeat his success from last year, especially because he will now be the starting goaltender on a subpar team. However, the FLorida Panthers have shown an incredible amount of faith in the young man. He got the start in two elimination games against the Tampa Bay Lightning last year and did well, having a .933 save percentage. The young goalie could end up becoming a prodigy at the position.