You can't blame idle hockey pundits from musing about a would-be NHL season. They've got to do something to pass the time while they wait for the NHL and NHL Players Association to resolve their differences. That being said, TSN's Bob McKenzie took to Twitter earlier today with speculation that should pique the interest of Tampa Bay Lightning fans:
So this is what it's to come to: Debating with myself who is my Calder Trophy (rookie of year) pick for a season that may not be played.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 23, 2012
There's risk involved because he isn't guaranteed roster spot on TB, but I'm leaning toward Cory Conacher. Or maybe Jonathan Huberdeau.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 23, 2012
IF we played, other obvious candidates: Granlund MIN, Tarasenko STL, Bartschi CGY, Kreider NYR, Schultz and Yakupov, EDM, Foligno (BUF).— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 23, 2012
Cory Conacher, after his 80 point effort last season for the Norfolk Admirals (which netted him various awards in his first pro season), is off to a strong start for the Syracuse Crunch where he is among the league leaders in goals (4) assists (5) and points (9) after 5 games..
Conacher was expected to vie for a roster spot with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012-13.... Actually, that's putting it lightly. It looked as if a roster spot with the Bolts was Conacher's to lose. While Tampa Bay did add forward depth in Benoit Pouliot, B.J. Crombeen and Kyle Wilson this past off-season. That wasn't expected to dampen Cory's chances to make the opening day roster. How the lockout itself has affected those chances, however, remains to be seen.
As it stands right now, Conacher's biggest battle to make the NHL is simply the NHL itself. As the lockout rolls on, so does Cory Conacher - tearing up the AHL and waiting for his chance.