As the Olympic break approached, five players were still in the running as the best rookie of the 2009-10 NHL season. In no specific order, John Tavares, Jimmy Howard, Matt Duchene, James Van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Myers were at the top of the rookie class. Other players were either too old (Antti Niemi) or too hurt (Semyon Varlamov) to be considered. With the Olympic break behind us, two of those players seem to have hit the wall. This does not mean their futures aren't as bright though, as Tavares had a 5-point night last night and Van Riemsdyk continues to play well. In fact, only three strong contenders remain.
Jimmy Howard was supposed to be a good goalie from day one. Detroit knew it too. They just took their time releasing him and his skills to the world. His play after October cemented him as the Red Wings #1 goaltender and this late-bloomer seems to be the real deal.
Matt Duchene wasn't even the best rookie on his team in October and November as Ryan O'Reilly drew most of the attention. However, steady play and a super burst in December put this favourite of Don Cherry into the spotlight.
Tyler Myers was supposed to be a project defenseman. His splendid early season play was no fluke and this massive Zdeno Chara clone is a franchise player of epic proportions. Not only is he playing big minutes against the NHL's best but he is putting up amazing offensive numbers for a defenseman as well. A big 4 point night in March proved that he can play a full season and continue to make an impact.
Prediction - Barring a late season charge by one of the other two, this award will go to Tyler Myer. As stated earlier... Who dares steal this trophy away from the hulking defenseman?
Duchene and Myers have rookie cards available in most 2009-10 products available at Canada Card World. Jimmy Howard has rookie cards available in many 2005-06 products.