Logan Couture holds slim Calder lead 

February, 2, 2011

It's the first Wednesday of a new month, which means that it's time for me to offer you my latest Calder watch top-5 rankings.

Before I get to the list, I wanted to mention the play of Boston Bruins rookie Brad Marchand, who has become a valuable role player. In 48 games, the speedy pivot has been making a big contribution toward the Bruins' success. Working an average of just 13:13 minutes per game, Marchand has 13 goals, 25 points and a rookie-best plus-21 rating.

If the NHL awards were like the Oscars, Marchand would be a candidate for a trophy as Best Supporting Rookie. Of course, the awards system doesn't work like that. Still, Marchand deserves recognition for the little things he's doing to help the Bruins stay atop the Northeast Division.

Now, here's my list for this month:

1. Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks

For the second straight month, I have the San Jose rookie in the top spot. I rate him as having a slight edge over Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner, who is closing the gap. Couture leads all freshmen (and all Sharks) with 22 goals. He also leads his peers with 166 shots, six game-winning goals and six power-play goals, as well as ranking fourth with a plus-11 rating. Couture is getting the job done in the face-off circle, too, winning 51.2 percent of his draws. At this point, I see him as the most complete newbie.

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.