March 29, 2011
From the USA Today power rankings that your old pals Wysh and Bourne take part in, the latest tally for the Calder Trophy, voted on the Professional Hockey Writers Association:
Full disclosure: I had Michael Grabner(notes) of the New York Islanders third on my ballot, because he's had a killer second half and could still win the goal race among rookies. (He's at 31 to Logan Couture's(notes) 30 entering Tuesday night's play.) Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks was on top of my ballot, followed by the Bieber-esque Jeff Skinner(notes) of the Carolina Hurricanes. Skinner still leads in rookie points.
But there's been a shift since the last vote by the pundits (and Wysh and Bourne): Couture went from six first-place votes and a lead in points to deadlocked with Skinner, and Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford(notes) picked up two first-place votes and some forward momentum.
Some of this may be due to the erosion of some support for Sergei Bobrovsky's(notes) Calder campaign for the Philadelphia Flyers, as Crawford's now the top rookie keeper. But Crawford's a damn good candidate on his own: 2.27 GAA and 30-15-5 in 48 starts, prior to Tuesday night's start against the Boston Bruins. (That .918 could be a little higher.)
Too late for Crawford to pull this out? Couture seems like he's picking up he pace again, recently setting a Sharks rookie record for goals. But, slowly, it's looking like our top three is being established in what's been a hell of a rookie class.