Rookie Rankings: Conacher on top

Forwards Cory Conacher and Vladimir Tarasenko are the early-season Calder Trophy favorites. Getty Images

The 2013 NHL Calder Trophy race continues to be a hotly debated topic in the NHL, but statistically speaking, the top rookie of the year candidates have finally slowed down. Out of the gates, forwards such as Tampa Bay's Cory Conacher and St. Louis' Vladimir Tarasenko took the league by storm, but even they have slowed (in terms of scoring), as opposing teams are increasingly paying attention to this season's top rookies.

Here's the Calder Trophy race update as of Tuesday, Feb. 12, based on my own viewing of their performances, as well as my talking with contacts within the game.

1. Cory Conacher, forward, Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous rank: No. 1

Following Sunday's game against the New York Rangers in which the Lightning lost 5-1, Tampa Bay has lost four in a row and this year's Calder Trophy race leader was quiet like most of his teammates. Conacher's offensive numbers are still impressive, as he leads all rookies with 12 points in 11 games, including two game-winning goals. One Western Conference Scout who was at the Lighting-Rangers game said Conacher's play is the least of Tampa's problems, and that overall the team is playing flat. The 5-foot-8 forward continues to play with high-end energy, something the entire roster better start doing as losing streaks in a shortened season could prove deadly.