Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz.com
We all know that Chicago's Artemi Panarin has been the rook in the driver's seat this season. The 24 yr. old winger with loads of skill signed with the closest thing to a dynasty the league has seen since the Edmonton Oilers were winning five Stanley Cups in seven years (no disrespect to the Detroit Red Wings.) Panarin has also had the benefit of playing on a line with Patrick Kane, who's on track to be the first ever American-born player to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer.
That said, Panarin (63 points,) barring anything weird happening, is on track to take the rookie scoring crown this season. With less than 10 games to go he leads Buffalo's Jack Eichel by 14 points this week, the same spread as last week. The two are also separated by three goals again as neither scored one this past week (Panarin in four games, Eichel in two.)
But the surging horse in this race is Edmonton's Connor McDavid.
Despite playing in a little over half the games as others in the top-five in points, McDavid has made his way in on the strength of five points (all assists) in four games this past week. His 40 points (in 38 games) placed him fifth, just ahead of Philadelphia's Shane Gostisbehere (39 points in 52 games.) McDavid now trails Detroit's Dylan Larkin (43,) Arizona's Max Domi (45) and Eichel (49) in what likely will be a race to place.
McDavid also cracked the top-five in assists as his 26 propelled him to fourth ahead of Gostisbehere and San Jose's Joonas Doskoi who have 23. Eichel is in third again with 27 while Domi, once again is in second with 28. Panarin leads that category with 38.
The only scoring category that seems up for grabs as we head towards the finish is goals.
Once again Panarin leads with 25 while Eichel is second at 22. Larkin upped his total to 21 with a goal in three games while Buffalo's other rookie, Sam "The Forgotten One" Reinhart, hit the 20-goal marker with one in three games last week. Domi went goal-less last week and stands pat at 17.
McDavid's surge over the past seven weeks has been remarkable considering a.) he missed three months of the season due to a broken clavicle and b.) the Oilers, once again are near the bottom of the league in the standings. The rookie scoring race and Calder Trophy may already be in the hands of Panarin, but one cannot discount what McDavid is doing (no disrespect to Gostisbehere who's done a remarkable job on the Flyers' blueline or to Eichel who's skill level is right up there with McDavid.)
With two-and-a-half weeks to go it's highly possible we see McDavid and Eichel's name up near the top where they were expected to be at the start of the season. The only thing we didn't plan on was Panarin's strong season placing him above those two.