The NHL freshmen in the class of 2010-11 are deep into their second semester, having battled their way through 60 or so games. In the final quarter of the regular season, when teams are fighting tooth and nail for every inch of open ice they can find, these rooks will be challenged to keep up with their more experienced peers.
With roughly six weeks left on the regular-season schedule, here's the March edition of the Calder watch top five:
San Jose's rookie standout remains at the top of my list for the third straight month. I've been impressed with his overall game, working as an important part of the red-hot Sharks.
At this point, Couture's most impressive number is his eight game-winning goals. That leads all rookies and ranks him second in the league behind only Washington Capitals megastar Alex Ovechkin (nine).
Couture, who'll turn 22 later in the month, has been pretty consistent throughout his first full NHL campaign, averaging nearly 18 minutes per game.
Through 61 games, the ninth overall selection in the 2007 draft stands second in his class with 44 points (behind the next guy on this list), and he's tied for the rookie goal lead with New York Islanders winger Michael Grabner with 25.
Couture leads his class with 201 shots. He has an impressive plus-17 rating and he's winning 51.5 percent of his faceoffs. To date, Couture has produced a pretty complete season.