- Corey Pronman, ESPN Insider
Every season, the NHL awards the Calder Trophy to the top rookie player, and as we approach the quarter mark within the next couple of weeks, it's a good time to take the temperature of who's in the mix for this prestigious award. We'll revisit the rankings at various points throughout the season.
As we've seen in the past, rookie performance can be inconsistent, so expect to see players move up and down (or even off) this list as the 2013-14 campaign carries on, and we may have quite a few new names later on in the season. This first edition is filled with elite prospects, free-agent signings and former average prospects who have been strong early on.
The Calder is a performance based-award, so output is obviously important. But since raw point totals and stats like shooting percentage can sometimes not reflect the entirety of how a player has looked, scouting notes are also important for consideration.
The fourth overall pick from the 2013 NHL draft is logging over 25 minutes a game, and it's been nearly a month since he has played under 22 minutes. He's everything you want in a star defenseman. Jones is a big, elite skater with good offensive ability and the extremely advanced hockey sense to make plays at both ends. He looks beyond his years while doing so.
It is so rare to see a rookie 19-year-old defenseman take on this many NHL minutes, play against the opponent's best players in every game and come out looking good. The sky is the limit for Jones, and he's been the best rookie this season by a wide margin.
9dScott Burnside and Craig Custance