As mentioned earlier, the NHL announced its nominees for rookie of the year on Friday: New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
It’s another talented group of offensive stars, reminiscent to last year’s trio of forwards nominated for the award: San Jose’s Logan Couture, New York Islanders’ Michael Grabner and Carolina’s Jeff Skinner, the eventual winner.
Here’s quick rundown of the case for each of the 2012 nominees…
— Henrique holds the distinct advantage of contributing to a playoff team. His play after injuries to Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson sparked the Devils, including his veteran linemates on New Jersey’s top unit — Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. New Jersey finished with 102 points, tied with Boston and Detroit for seventh-most in the NHL.
— Landeskog received huge praise for being the most complete player in this year’s rookie class, which included a verbal Calder vote from Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault.
“He’s the best rookie in the league this year,” the Vancouver coach said in late March. “In my mind, there are some other good rookies but he plays like a man right now and has a lot of skill to back it up.”
— Many have suggested Nugent-Hopkins would be the runaway winner if not for his shoulder injuries. They cost him 20 games in the second half of the season — prior to that, he won the Rookie of the Month award twice and became the fourth-ever 18-year-old in NHL history to record five assists in a single game.
So, let’s put it to a vote…