Calder Watch: Varlamov jumps into the top five 

December, 16, 2009

Well, I've made my December Calder list (top five) and I've checked it twice. From my vantage point, the freshmen in this year's class have been very nice, though perhaps a little naughty as well. While I might not have a gift for your favorite rook, you shouldn't be discouraged. We haven't even reached the mid-way point of the season. There's still plenty of time for every newcomer to make a good impression.

1. John Tavares, C, New York Islanders
The high expectations that come with being selected first in the 2009 draft class haven't bothered this young pivot. In 33 games, Tavares leads all rookies with 15 goals and 27 points. And he's logging 18:49 minutes -- more than any other freshman forward. I like that he's winning a respectable 49.5 percent of his draws. The faceoff circle can be a tough place for a 19-year-old kid. Also, Tavares' minus-3 rating is pretty good, too, especially when you consider that the Islanders are a minus-23 as a team.

2. Tyler Myers, D, Buffalo Sabres

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.