The NHL's Calder trophy race has become the point of much interest as this season progresses. As the NHL has reached the halfway point of the season, the rookie race has gone a rather interesting path. Currently battling in the top three positions are Toronto Maple Leafs centreman Auston Matthews, Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine, and Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Zach Werenski.
The 2016 NHL Draft saw the Toronto Maple Leafs select 6'3 centre Auston Matthews 1st overall. With high hopes for the 19 year old to be the savior of the franchise, Matthews did not take much time to impress, scoring four goals in his first game. The young man has had an impressive season thus far posting 21 goals and 14 assists in 39 games this season. The young forward from Arizona is in a tight race for the trophy, currently second in scoring for all rookies this season. Matthews centres a line with William Nylander and Zach Hyman on his wings.
Currently leading the league in scoring among rookies is the Winnipeg Jets star rookie winger, Patrik Laine. In this years draft, Laine was taken 2nd overall by the Jets, 2nd to only Auston Matthews. The 6'5 Finnish superstar has excelled in his first season with the Jets, posting 21 goals and 16 assists thus far. Laine has been an early candidate for the trophy, and with continued success he leads the race. Laine currently plays on a line with Mark Schiefele and Nikolaj Ehlers.
The NHL's top two picks Laine and Matthews were expected to be the front runners in the rookie race, but the 3rd candidate is one that come to surprise many. Columbus Blue Jackets star defencemen Zach Werenski. The 19 year old defencemen has 6 goals and 19 assists in 39 games this season and has been a pleasant surprise addition to Columbus' blue line. The 6'2 American defenceman was the 8th overall pick in the 2015 draft and has made a strong case for himself to win the trophy this year.
Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Zach Werenski are the three top rookies at the midway point of this season, but not far behind these three rookies trying to win the Calder are Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Mitch Marner, Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltender Matt Murray and Carolina Hurricanes Forward Sebastian Aho. The Calder race is growing more intense every game as the rookies battle to be better than one another.