Of course he can win it. As for who WILL win it, nobody here can say. There's still more than half the season to go.
I love Ryder and his style of play, but Pitkanen is such a talent, I would predict he'll just keep improving all season and take the trophy. As for the others, Trent Hunter has the best point per game average could do well in voting. As for the top 3 forwards (Ryder, Bergeron, Hunter), It all depends on who gets the most icetime, with the best linemates. Ryder has the fast track in Montreal because of their lack of depth on the right side (he plays on the top line infront of Dagenais, Dackell and Ward). Personally I hope Bergeron flops on his face and gets sent to the minors soon, that Hab hating little SOB.
With half a season left, its really anyone's guess as to who will win it. Some rookies fade after hot starts...some rookies heat up after mid season. Ryder seems like the favorite at the moment with Pitkanen right there. But it also possible for a guy like Staal or Horton or even Zherdev to get hot and really take the honors. I think it might be one of those 3 winning it but that just my gut feeling.
HUnter IMO will not win it. There are too many guys who are younger and are playing as good as him. Staal IMO will not win it just cause he plays on Carolina. Bergeron also has so many guys around him in Boston like Thorton, Murray, and Knuble. Pitkanen is IMO the frontrunner. Ryder is up there but IMO he will tail off. Of course I'll get roasted for this one, but Nathan Horton has REALLY come on in the past few weeks and IMO will seriously push for the rookie leads in goals and points and will have a shot at it.
Just a question: why rate Horton better than Staal? I'm not impressed at all by Horton, I would take Staal instaed of him.
You probably haven't seen Horton very recently. His play is MUCH improved. He's now showing a lot of FL fans why he was so highly thought of. No knock against Staal at all but Horton can change the way the other team plays against FL already and he'll continue to do it for the rest of the season.
IMO, I think both Zherdev & Horton will finish ahead of Staal in the voting. Zherdev really impressed me this last game he played against FL. I was tossed up between Horton & Zherdev right before the draft and now I see why it was so hard (but I'm very happy with Horton in FL).
I like Hunter to win it. He's scoring goals and leads rookies in points per game...but more importantly, he's an experienced professional level hockey player with prior NHL experience (and thus less likely to have a tail off in terms of the rigours of an 82 game NHL slate) and he plays the kind of solid, hard-working two-way game that lends it self well to not finding oneself in the 'doghouse'...which even the world's most talented youngsters, when still very young and raw, often find themselves in.
Though if Pitkanen contines to play strong, it will be hard not to give it to him.