The Colorado Avalanche will have their own Calder Memorial Trophy to give out among their rookie class who are all breaking into and establishing their careers in the NHL this season. This prestigious honor will be voted on by you, the readers at Mile High Hockey at the conclusion of the season.
It's been quite an eventful month for the Avalanche in that they finally pulled the trigger on the Matt Duchene trade but the month of November also saw a lot of prospect movement for the organization who has now seen nine different rookies dress for the team just 22 games into the season. A tenth is likely to get added when recent recall defenseman Duncan Siemens gets into the lineup. The nine are:
Samuel Girard (8GP: 0G, 2A)
The biggest piece the Avalanche received from Duchene trade and perhaps the most important rookie to the club this year is 19-year-old defenseman, Samuel Girard. He's averaging just a shade under 22 minutes per game and is the only regular Avs player to have positive possession numbers at just over 51 Corsi For %. What he's been able to do in his short time with the Avalanche is nothing short of remarkable as zone exits and puck movement have improved with Girard on the ice. Once he really settles in and the points start to follow his play, Girard can become a real difference maker for the team.
Vladislav Kamenev (1GP: No Points)
Also acquired from the Duchene trade is forward Vladislav Kamenev. The Avs opted not to bring him in for the two games in Sweden but were quick to call him up from San Antonio when they reached home. Unfortunately, Kamenev's stint with the Avs ended just as quick when a devastating hit during his game with the team on November 16th broke his forearm and required surgery. Kamenev should return at some point but it's disappointing as the Avs were ready to give him a real shot at the NHL level but will likely still do so when he's ready to return to the ice.
AJ Greer (6GP: 0G, 1A)
Getting another small taste of NHL action early this season, AJ Greer left an impression as he always does with his physical and emotional style of play. The Avs likely wanted to see some more growth in Greer so they sent him back to San Antonio upon their return from Sweden and Greer responded by scoring a goal in four consecutive games, including one in overtime for the Rampage. Hopefully, another recall is just around the corner.
Tyson Jost (6GP: 1G, 1A)
It's been a tough month for Tyson Jost since his latest injury on October 19th. He missed several weeks of action with a lower-body injury and then was sent to San Antonio for about ten days so he could get conditioned and back into game shape. In his five-game stint in the AHL, Jost scored a goal and assist and improved over the course of his stay. He now looks ready to enter the lineup in Colorado on Wednesday, November 29th against the Winnipeg Jets and start to get regular games with more ice time under his belt moving forward.
Dominic Toninato (5GP: 0G, 1A)
Probably the most surprising of all the call-ups, at least in this early portion of the season, Dominic Toninato has slid into a bottom six center role and hasn't looked out of place. He boasts a 53.33 CF%, albeit in a small sample size but has made positive contributions in his limited time. With the four-game suspension to Gabriel Landeskog, Toninato should stick around in Colorado for at least that timeframe and will probably see more ice time especially in shorthanded situations.
JT Compher (16GP: 3G, 3A)
Getting back into the swing of things as a broken thumb sidelined him for six games but after a period of adjustment seems to be healthy finally. JT Compher is fantastic on the penalty kill as he's potted two goals while shorthanded and is the fourth highest forward on the team in average shorthanded time per game. His even strength play could use some improvement as he has the lowest CF% of any regular forward at 42.24 but more consistent linemates and seeing more offensive situations moving forward should help.
Alexander Kerfoot (22GP: 7G, 8A)
Quite obviously the points leader of the rookie class so far, Alexander Kerfoot is top five in team scoring. He also has the highest relative Corsi among the rookie forwards and sits at a respectable 47.55 CF%. He's been used all over the lineup and with a multitude of linemates and has still found ways to get on the scoresheet. Kerfoot is a very intelligent playmaker and seems to make those around him better.
Anton Lindholm (9GP: No Points)
Anton Lindholm dealt with an injury of his own as a broken jaw has sidelined him since November 4th but he's been activated off of injured reserve and is expected to play against Winnipeg as well. Lindholm plays a smart, steady game that coaches like and can trust even if he still doesn't offer much in terms of game with the puck.
Andrei Mironov (9GP: 1G, 2A)
Andrei Mironov found a more consistent spot in the lineup even if it wasn't a whole lot of ice time as he's still averaged just under 11 minutes a game. The Russian is getting more comfortable on North American ice but has just been sent back down to San Antonio for a second stint in the AHL to get up to speed. He has a shot that seems to surprise goalies, which is how he earned his first NHL goal and also some decent puck moving ability. Defensive coverage is still a work in progress, however.
Who is your top rookie thus far this season?