Perhaps the most challenging, and the most frustrating award, for us at Straight Shooters is the Calder Trophy. Now, most every year the final winner is properly chosen, but itís the runner ups and the voting that just drives us crazy. Daniel Alfredsson was the rightful winner in 1993. However, making it how obvious that GM's donít do any research, many votes had to be turned back in because GM's were voting for players that were not eligible. Last year, you had Byron Dafoe who took over the starting duties and was the main reason the Canucks even made the playoffs last year. Yet the kid only finished 4th in voting. So Weight and Carson with 57 and 56 points for two teams that didnít make the playoffs is more impressive then a rookie goalie with the 4th best save percentage in the league, 6th best GAA and 28 wins in 48 games. The Canucks had 37 wins, he had 28 of those yet he only was on 7 ballots.

We are challenging those GM's, you know who you are, to do some DAMN research when submitting your votes for the trophy. Look at age, team, what the guy means to the team, and donít just look at the leader board. We will try and do our part, and get with league offices and make sure a guy like Fredrick Olausson doesnít sneak through.

So after that rant, what can we expect this year. Alexei Yashin from the New York Islanders has been built up by his GM all season long. The Islanders are in a rebuild, but he has tried to keep some veterans around this rookie. Yashin is a 20 year old, who is coming off 23 points in 28 games. Expect him to score a lot of goals, but he can also be a play maker as well.

The Oilers' Pavel Bure is another one to watch. Now, he is 23 years old, so has been around 3 seasons longer. However, he has only played 33 games in 5 seasons, and no more than 9 in one season. This kid can flat out fly and shoot the puck. Look for lots of goals from this kid as he is on a much better team and should see lots of chances.

My last guy to watch for to enter the season will be 22 year old Geoff Sanderson in Toronto. This kid is a complete package, and appears like he might get some decent ice time. He has yet to play a game in the NFHL, but our scouts have heard he will get a decent shot.

So enjoy your rookie season out their Calder hopefuls, and GM's of the NFHL, show them respect and do some work and research for these young kids, hoping one day to be a star in the great NFHL.

Our pre-season Calder winner is Alexei Yashin.