NHL Rookie Watch: Is Adam Henrique the New Calder Trophy Favorite?

Mark HillierContributor IIJanuary 17, 2012

Adam Henrique
Adam HenriqueJim McIsaac/Getty Images

Adam Henrique may not be under the radar anymore, but at just past the halfway mark of the 2011-2012 NHL season, he is by far the most surprising candidate for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the Rookie of the Year.

As of this writing, Henrique sits one point behind injured Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie scoring lead, and will certainly surpass the former first-overall pick in the near future. He is tied for first in goals, and is second in assists among all rookies.

Henrique's critics will point out that he plays with superstar linemates in Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise.

In reality, Henrique worked his way up to the first line and has performed very well no matter who is linemates are, and in all situations too. The rookie is currently tied for first in the league, with four short-handed goals and seven points, and is a plus-9 at even strength.

The confidence shown in Henrique by his coach is evidenced by his league-leading time on ice among all rookie forwards.

While RNH has 18 of his points on the power play, Henrique has managed most of his points at even strength or short-handed.

Last season it was Jeff Skinner who seemed to come out of nowhere to crush all the competition. Skinner, however, was a high first-round draft pick. Adam Henrique was selected in the third round by the Devils.

Will Henrique surpass the injured RNH to capture the Calder?