See which 2014 draftees project to be fantasy-relevant this year
HE STILL HAS A LOT OF WORK TO DO, BUT TANNER PEAR-son of the Los Angeles Kings has a chance to do something that hasn’t been accomplished in more than four decades. He’ll have to win the Calder Trophy to do it, an achievable objective since he’ll likely be playing next season with Je Carter and Tyler Toffoli on ‘That 70s line.’
Not since Hall of Famer Ken Dryden, who won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 and then was named rookie of the year in 1972, has a player had his name engraved on the Cup before winning the Calder Trophy. The only three other players to accomplish the feat were Gaye Stewart (Cup in 1942 and Calder in ’43 with the Toronto Maple Leafs), Danny Grant (Cup in 1968 with the Canadiens and Calder in ’69 with the Minnesota North Stars) and Tony Esposito (Cup in 1969 with the Canadiens and Calder in ’70 with the Chicago Black Hawks). Stewart, Grant and Esposito were all spare parts in their teams’ Cup runs, while Dryden was a stalwart, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Pearson wasn’t that good for the Kings, but he was terrific at times. He worked his way into the top six on the line with Carter and Toffoli. And although he didn’t earn a point in the Stanley Cup final, you’d have been hard pressed to find a better player on the ice than Pearson was in Game 4 when he was a beast in the o ensive zone and had at least twice as many shots as any other player on either team with eight.
Pearson will have some sti competition for the Calder, but if he stays healthy and keeps playing in the Kings’ top six, there’s no reason not to expect significant production from him this season. Here are the top o ensive rookies to watch in 2014-15.