So many good alternatives this year, but I'm going with a homer pick. Kärpät's second line is still undecided and Tomi Pekkala has a decent chance of getting some ice time alongside Pekka Saarenheimo, so that might be productive for Pekkala.
Media has already chosen their favourites: Granlund & Pulkkinen (The film will be available until the 13th of September.)
He is already 21, but making his debut a bit late. He is a lot more experienced than Pulkkinen or Granlund and will be "up" the whole season so I think he would constantly make some points. He could be the 3rd line center for Ässät and has the potential to make 20 points.
So, with his two assists today Niemi had already the 20 points I predicted AND went past however-in-the-U20-playing Granlund to the top of the rookie scoring list.
Will Granlund still be #1 rookie or are there other possibilities available (two good young goalies with Raanta and Rynnäs perhaps)? What do you think?
Got to admit that even I am a bit confused, but Jussi Rynnäs seems to be the biggest candidate for the award right now. He is topping the saving percentage list (or is 2nd after Vehanen who plays in KHL now) and has already earned a spot as some kind of cult player in Pori.
He still has less playing time than Eero Kilpeläinen but I think that it will change until the end of the season.
I think the hype of Granlund and Vatanen is so much bigger than with Rynnäs that one of those two will win the award. Both have great seasons so it wouldn't be that disappointment. Rynnäs have been on fire lately though and definately has showed great talent and he has made himself a candidate for the award. But still I think that it's Vatanen or Granlund who wins it.
Sami Vatanen D - 18yo (5' 9" 159lbs) - (41 games 5+20=25 +4, icetime/game 19:31) Mikael Granlund - 17yo (5'10" 172lbs) - (30 games 7+21=28 +6, icetime/game 16:29) Jussi Rynnäs G - 22 yo (6' 6" 215lbs) - (25 games 13-9-1, s% 93,61; 2,21 ga/60min)
There is a quite big age-difference but because the Wasama-award is rewarded to "the Finnish player in their first season of SM-liiga, who has shown talent to develop in to a great player internationally." (or something like that) I don't think that really matters. Toni Söderholm won it and he was almost 25 years old in 2003.
But at this point I would give it to Rynnäs. Well I have seen him play more that the other two so can't compare them that well but if Jussi keeps developing at the rate of the past few years I think that next year at some point he will be batteling for a spot at the NHL. If he stays cool, Ässät will probably have to say him good bye maybe even before the next season. Hopefully he will stay as long as possible with Ässät though.
Well, I have a ("bad") feeling that Granlund will win.
For those of you who get the chance to watch Lukko play, how has Eero been doing as of late? I see he's getting the points but how much ice time is he getting, is his skating looking any better and is his shot as good as some have said? I would think if he continues his pace that he could been one of the top rookies this year but probably won't win it due to Granlund and Vatanen playing full years in the SM-Liga, plus having good years as well. Eero is just someone who really intrigues me because to a lot of people in the states he was a nobody when he was drafted.