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01-19-2004, 12:01 PM
darth5's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Smashville, TN
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Originally Posted by SmokeyClause
check out's rankings of the top rookies.
The rankings are all based on statistical production. While I think Hamhuis has had some hiccups this year, he's easily one of the top 5 rookies going. I don't think he'll win the Calder but how many 20-21 year old rookie Dmen see the valuable ice time that he does (often seeing 25 minutes a game). He's been playing quite a bit better lately and other than Pitkanen, is the best rookie Dmen in the league. If you'll notice, the players at the top that generally don't deserve to be there play on good teams. Unfortunately, I think being on a good team has as much to do with being high in the rankings than most anything else other than pure numbers. Very few would argue that Dan isn't better than Liles. That and +/- are the only reasons I can see for him being 15 spots a head of Dan. Nevermind that Liles is protected by the Colorado lineup and sees less than 15 minutes of icetime while Dan has worked his way into our top 3-4 and sees almost 22 minutes...
Now, Smokey, we all know Dan has a premium handicap in any press evaluation.
He plays for the Predators. You know, the franchise that called and left a voice-mail saying they wanted to move to Winnipeg
I have seen most of these guys play at least one game this year. I think Trent Hunter is the best rookie playing that is Calder eligible, closely followed by Raycroft. As far as Pitkanen, yeah, he is about as good as advertised, but until now Hitchkock had the luxury of playing him in select situations via matchup. With recent injuries, we may get a better look at his total game.
There is no doubt in my mind if Hammy played for the Rangers, the Avs, Flyers, etc. he would be getting lots of favorable press. Let's face it: he has exceeded even our expectations, and we are inevitably biased. He's good now, and the invaluable experience he gains each game is making him better all the time. Only time will tell, but I suspect he will prove to have been quite a gem from his draft class to have fallen to our pick that year.

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