Rookie Rankings: Gallagher No. 1

Brendan Gallagher and Brandon Saad sit atop the Calder rankings heading into the final week. Getty Images

With just one week remaining in this shortened NHL season, the scent of playoffs is in the air. The end of the regular season brings the conclusion of many races, including the battles for major awards.

The Calder Trophy, like most awards, is based on regular-season performance, and this final week could certainly have a lasting impact on voters who will cast their ballots for the NHL's rookie of the year.

Here's a look at the top 10 rookie rankings heading into the final week of the season. (Note: Statistics are through April 21.)

1. Brendan Gallagher, forward, Montreal Canadiens
Previous rank: No. 1

Montreal has not played well of late, going 4-6 in its past 10 games, but this 5-foot-9 winger continues to be a bright spot. Just one goal shy of the lead among rookies -- and tied for third in the rookie scoring race -- only tells part of the story surrounding Gallagher. His larger-than-life presence has caught the eye of many -- especially his opponents. He continues to raise the bar with his intensity and grit while consistently making plays. It is rare that a rookie can lift the play of his teammates, but that's exactly what Gallagher has done this season. And that's precisely why I think he deserves the nod for the Calder.