Early Calder candidate

          So far throughout 10 games we have seen some promising rookies. Some have played well enough to start Calder trophy speculation.
         
          Tanner Pearson is lighting it up early with 7 goals, 2 assists, and 9 points through 11 games. While impressive in its own right, it helps that he plays on star studded LA Kings team. Closely behind him with 8 points each is Andre Burakovsky and Filip Forsberg. In 4th place in the rookies scoring race is defenseman Damon Severson with 7 points.

           Severson, 20 has 4 goals, 3 assists, is a +6 and is averaging 22 minutes a game. He is doing all of this while playing on the Devils top pair and in every situation. So far through his young career he has been given the job of defending the likes of Ovechkin, Stamkos, and Crosby. Not only did he do it but he put up offensive numbers in the process. This kid shows the poise of veteran, whether it’s leading the rush, quarterbacking the power play, or defending odd man rushes.

             Some notibale plays include his read on Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson cross ice pass. Karlsson took the puck along the right boards and began up ice, upon hitting his own blue line he sent a cross ice break out pass. Instinctively Severson read the play, stepped up, and cut the pass off, he blew down the ice into Ottawa’s zone and from the left circle blasted a slapshot far corner for the tying goal. This happened 1:20 after Ottawa scored the go ahead goal and was no doubt the momentum changer. The Devils went on to win. Two nights ago against Winnipeg late in the third, while the Devils were trying to tie the game Severson again stepped up. New Jersey was pushing hard and gave up a 3-1 odd man rush, as the camera panned out you see the loan defenseman. Severson, skating backwards he stayed in position, at the last second he blocked the pass coming across, kept possesion and sent it out of harms way. The Devils went on to tie and win the game.

              Perhaps Severson’s legendary teammate describe him the best. Jagr said that Severson is “fearless and plays like a 10 year veteran”.

             This early in the season Severson leads the Calder race. He has played the most minutes, against the toughest competition and so far instead of looking like a rookie he has looked like the best player on the ice. His potential has no limits and to Devils fans everywhere he has brought flashbacks of the defense they once knew.

By Steve Vullo
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