From Kevin Allen of USA Today late yesterday afternoon:
“Have you seen a better crop of rookies than we have this year, because I know I haven’t,” St. Louis Blues President John Davidson said to me earlier today.
My answer is that I haven’t seen a rookie class that goes as deep as the 2008-09 group.
Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan is a rookie 30-goal scorer, and there are six other rookies with 20 or more goals. James Neal of Dallas has 24 goals and you never hear his name. Matt Hunwick is plus-18 on Boston’s defense and he has received no attention because Columbus goalie Steve Mason has been nearly invincible and Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne has been nearly as impressive. Ryan is also in contention for the Calder Trophy, and Boston’s Blake Wheeler will receive votes because he’s a 20-goal man, plus he’s plus-36.
Read Allen’s whole post at Mucking and Grinding here.
JD is right; this class is better than many have realized. Just reading all the quality players up above and you’d think these players have been around for a few years now. The fact that Mason is going to win the Calder speaks to how good he has been, because Bobby Ryan looks like he is going to be a 40+ goal scorer for a long, long time and Pekka Rinne may end up getting the Predators into the playoffs.