Clayton Keller, C, Arizona Coyotes
Keller is an electric talent that is arguably unmatched in the rookie class this year. He’s playing on a young team that allows the ceiling to be sky high with potential for a player like Keller.
He’s second in team scoring with four points (3 G, 1A) through six games and has proven he isn’t just going to survive in the NHL, but he should thrive ( the last cliche saying, I promise). Calder contender without a doubt.
Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins
McAvoy’s offensive upside from the blue line is in a league of its own in this rookie class. He’s poised to thrive under pressure and ready to take on big minutes for the Bruins. Let’s not forget that he made his NHL debut in the playoffs last year on a line with Zdeno Chara.
He has four points in five games already this season and has been a dominant force inside his own blue line.
Nolan Patrick, C, Philadelphia Flyers
The second-overall pick in the 2017 draft will have to play really well to be put into any high-leverage situations this season. The Flyers have depth at center with Claude Giroux and even Sean Couturier who’s a proven stable middleman.
He has three points in six games so far and is a plus four which is exactly what the doctor ordered if you’re GM Ron Hextall. If he continues to play consistently on both ends of the ice he’ll surely be a candidate for the Calder come season’s end.
Nico Hischier, C, New Jersey Devils
Though there were questions about whether he was big enough to be a dominant first overall pick, his nifty offensive ability was impossible to pass by for the Devils. Though he has yet to pot his first goal in the NHL, he has four assists in six games for a Devils team that is really hot out of the gate.
Hischier, unlike some of the other notables on this list, is going to be thrown into high-leverage situations game in and game out which should allow the Swiss-born 18-year-old to rack up some points.