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Duck Tales: Early Calder Trophy predictions

Plus the NWHL’s bubble schedule, Ottawa’s weird headshots and more in today’s news and notes.

Trevor Zegras #9 of the United States celebrates a goal against Canada during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game at Rogers Place on January 5, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

The Anaheim Ducks starting Trevor Zegras in the AHL may have saved the 19-year-old from facing Ryan Reaves this weekend, but could he have been in talks for rookie of the year if he hadn’t?

Chris Peters at ESPN+ did a preseason ranking of 43 potential 2021 NHL rookies and where they might fit in the Calder Cup conversation at the end of the season. He created five tiers, with the first tier consisting of potential Calder Finalists and working his way down from there.

The Ducks’ lone appearance on the list is in Tier 5: Taxi Squad and Call Ups. Should Zegras see the big club this season, it might only be in a limited role — and hopefully for few enough games to make next season his real rookie campaign.

Trevor Zegras, C/W, Anaheim Ducks

Many, including myself, were surprised that the Ducks opted to start Zegras in the AHL after his MVP performance at the World Juniors. That said, I’ve never seen a player arrive to the NHL “too late,” though scores of them have gotten there too early and needed time to reset. I don’t think there should be any concern like that for Zegras, who has confidence in his abilities and one of the best playmaking skill sets not currently in the NHL.

Ducks defensive prospect Jamie Drysdale was an honorable mention in Tier 5, as well.

Read more about the early Calder Trophy predictions linked below.

On the Pond

  • NHL rookie tiers: Stacking 43 first-years, from Calder Trophy favorites to depth contributors [ESPN+]
  • Ducks Getzlaf Aiming for 1000 Points Amid Contract Uncertainty [NHL Trade Talk]
  • Ducks want taxi squad players to be included and ready [LA Daily News]

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