By Alex Watson, originally published at The4thLinePodcast.com
The new talent hasn’t disappointed so far in 2018-19. The Calder Trophy is normally a good indicator of a young player’s future. So far, there have been several standout candidates. These players are the new lifeblood for their respective franchises and could well spell great things for their future. Drafting these young guns is never straightforward, but these gambles are paying off. Here are three potential Calder Trophy candidates, along with a few honourable mentions:
Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks)
Until a nasty hit by Mike Matheson caused him to be sidelined with a concussion, this 19-year-old Swede was flying. In his first five NHL goals Petterson has scored 8 points and generally looked lively. Winner of the MVP award in the SHL last season, Vancouver has waited patiently to develop this young gun. Their efforts and patience have paid off and if Petersson can be nursed back to health, he will continue to be a deadly threat. Boasting great speed and a number of clever tricks, it appears the post-Sedin blues won’t be around for long in B.C. If he can maintain his streak he is definitely the Calder favourite.
Andrei Svechnikov (Carolina Hurricanes)
Drafted second overall in 2018, Svechnikov has wasted no time making an impression. Chalking up 4 points in his first 6 NHL games, this 18-year-old Russian is the star Carolina has needed for years. A team struggling to score, Svechnikov has had no trouble putting the puck in the net and is threatening to unseat Petersson’s fine streak. Having dominated offensively for Barrie Colts in the OHL, he is threatening to be the same elite scorer this season. Already a top line prospect, Carolina fans can be excited once more.
Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres)
The first overall pick has certainly enjoyed a fine start in Buffalo. His record might not indicate anything glorious- one goal and one assist and +/- of 3 but beyond the number has been outstanding. Already known for his fine skating and being able to cover in all areas. His work on the blue line is by far his biggest contribution. His fine work has Buffalo for once sitting three places above the bottom of the Atlantic division. While he might not be the scoring sensation of the other two on this list, Dahlin is showing precisely why he was the top choice. The last blueliner to win the Calder was Aaron Ekblad back in 2015. Expect this young Swede to in the running all season.
Dominik Kahun (Chicago Blackhawks)
Although he’s a little older than most of the candidates, the 23-year-old German forward has enjoyed a stellar start. Already scoring 4 points in six games, the Olympic silver medalist is making an impression in Chicago. Not bad for a guy signed as a free agent. Kahun could be this year’s Panarin and the dark horse of this Calder trophy race.
Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa Senators)
Now the third member of the Tkachuk dynasty, Brady is threatening to outdo them all. Drafted 4th overall this year, on October 10th he became the fastest Tkachuk is to ever score. A bright light on this revitalized Ottawa team, Brady deserves your attention for the remainder of the year.