Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The PIPE-ies: Top Rookie

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Rookie during 2013-14 in their respective league and why they are worthy of consideration.

In alphabetical order, the nominees for Top Rookie of 2013-14 are...

Nikolaj Ehlers (Halifax Mooseheads)

Photo: CHL Images
The Dane who lives in Switzerland made a huge debut in the CHL with the Halifax Mooseheads last year. Ehlers racked up a crazy 104 regular season points and followed that up with another 28 in 16 playoff games. Although a bit undersized, Ehlers is a fantastic talent and was selected 9th overall by the Winnipeg Jets. Ehlers was recognized by the CHL as the Rookie of the Year.

Cole Huggins (Minnesota State Mavericks)

Photo: Minnesota-State
The only goaltender to be named a finalist in the category, Huggins made the most of his opportunity when it presented itself. While sophomore Stephon Williams was expected to be the starter, he struggled and Huggins got the call and didn't look back. Through 35 games he was able to maintain a 1.88 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. The Mavericks went on to capture the WCHA Conference title and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament as well. 

Travis Konecny (Ottawa 67's)

Photo: Terry Wilson
He is the youngest nominee in the category but his name is already pretty well know even outside of junior hockey circles. Travis Konecny is already getting touted as a potential top-10 NHL pick in 2015 because of the way he played this past year for the Ottawa 67's. 26 goals and 70 points through 63 regular season games at the age of 16 is pretty darn impressive. The OHL agreed and named him the Rookie of the Year.

Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)

Photo: Getty Images
MacKinnon's 63 points were the most compiled by a NHL rookie since Jeff Skinner posted the same number and Patrick Kane surpassed the 70-point mark in 2007. There was little suspense wondering who would win the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year as MacKinnon led the class with 63 points and 24 goals. He also set a new consecutive point scoring streak record beating out the previous record holder, Wayne Gretzky. 

Ryan Strome (New York Islanders & Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

Photo: NY Post
In an unconventional way, one could make a pretty good argument that Ryan Strome deserves the PIPE-ie this year. Here's a guy who only played 37 NHL games and 37 AHL games but he was very effective at both levels. On the farm, Strome racked up 13 goals and 49 points and once recalled by the Islanders, he added another 18 points to his resume. In all, that's 67 points in 74 games at two different level of professional hockey in the same season. Unique and pretty impressive. 

We are collecting votes for the next week until Tuesday August 19th when we announce the winners of the 2014 PIPE-ies. If you want to cast your vote, let us hear it. Tweet us at @TPS_Guy and @DuckMillard and include the hashtag #TPSAwards in your vote.  

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