Early Calder watch: Hertl, Barkov impress

Tomas Hertl is just one of many outstanding rookies who have emerged as Calder Memorial Trophy favourites. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

The infusion of youth around the NHL is staggering, especially since these budding stars breaking into the league are mostly teenagers. It will definitely make for an exciting chase for the Calder Trophy this season, with many already throwing their hat in the ring in the first two weeks of action.

Here is a very, very early look at some of the candidates for the Calder…

Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers

Described by some as a “man child,” Barkov looks right at home in the NHL. The No. 2 overall pick from June has five points in seven games, including a three-point night in a big win against Pittsburgh last week.

Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks

Who can possibly have a more electric start to their NHL career than what Tomas Hertl has done thus far? The Sharks’ 19-year-old rookie sensation has seven goals and nine points in six games, including a memorable four-goal game against the Rangers. Hertl has given Team Teal a nice boost of adrenaline at the season’s onset.

Seth Jones, Nashville Predators

Ask anyone in the Predators’ locker room, and they’ll all tell you it’s easy to forget Seth Jones turned 19 two weeks ago. Due to Roman Josi’s concussion, Jones was thrown into a top-pair role alongside Shea Weber and has excelled big time. The prodigy defenceman is going to be a special player for years to come.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

The No. 1 pick of the ballyhooed 2013 draft class has not missed a beat at the NHL level. MacKinnon has picked up a point in five of Colorado’s six games and is thriving on a line with P.A. Parenteau and Jamie McGinn.

Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames

Will the Flames keep Monahan past the nine-game mark or send him back to junior? It’s been a widely debated topic, but if the Flames do keep him in the NHL he could stay in the Calder conversation most of the season. Monahan had scored in four straight games prior to Wednesday’s loss in Anaheim.

Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets

The University of Michigan product had a big NHL debut on Oct. 1 against Edmonton, tallying a goal and an assist in a winning effort. Trouba hasn’t recorded a point since then but has played major minutes on the Jets blue line.