One of the biggest highlights of the 2015-16 NHL season is the arrival of Connor McDavid to the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid has been heralded as the best prospect since Sidney Crosby and has been favorably compared with many legends of the game like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. McDavid is expected to be the obvious favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the top rookie but there are a few players that are expected to challenge him.
Jack Eichel – Buffalo
Jack Eichel is expected to be the top competitor to go after McDavid for the Calder Trophy and was the second overall pick in this past year’s draft. The Buffalo Sabres rookie had 71 points in 40 games with Boston University last year. He also played on the United States National Development Team for two years.
Dylan Strome – Arizona
Dylan Strome is hoping to give the Arizona Coyotes a boost and a respite from the relocation rumors that have plagued the Coyotes for the past few years. Strome played alongside Connor McDavid with the OHL’s Erie Otters for the past two years. While McDavid had 120 points in 47 games last year, Strome had 129 points in 68 games and was a critical player who led the Otters to the OHL finals even as McDavid was injured for part of the year. He is also the brother of the New York Islanders’ Ryan Strome.
Mitchell Marner – Toronto
Mitchel Marner had 126 points in 63 games with the OHL’s London Knights last year. He also won a gold medal for Canada in the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He is looking to be a big contributor for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their new coach Mike Babcock.
Noah Hanifin – Carolina
Noah Hanifin is looking to snap the Carolina Hurricanes’ extended playoff drought this year. The top defenseman in the draft, he won gold models with the United States’ U17 and U18 teams in major tournaments in 2014 and was a star player at Boston College last year. He also spent three years playing hockey for Saint Sebastian’s School, a prominent Boston-area high school.