Archive for the ‘Calder Trophy’ Category

Last season, we saw a great crop of rookies.  This year should be no different as plenty of guys are primed to make an impact on the NHL.

Jonathan Blum (Nashville)
In 23 games last season, Blum impressed the Predators enough to trade Cody Franson to Toronto, giving Blum a full time position. The 22 year old is a good decision maker who should fit right into Barry Trotz’ system.

Erik Gudbranson (Florida)
With Florida’s roster in flux, look for Gudbranson to get a shot to play some minutes with the big club. The team is hoping his offensive game continues to develop (12 goals in the OHL last season), but is still a defensive force.

Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida)
Like with Gudbranson, Huberdeau should get a chance with the Panthers. Florida’s brass loves his unselfish play and his hustle. The Panthers don’t want to rush him, but if he’s ready, no point in holding him down.

Ryan Johansen (Columbus)
After torching the WHL for 40 goals, 92 points last season, Johansen appears ready to join the big club in Columbus. With the recent additions by Columbus, it might keep Johansen down on the team’s depth chart. Despite that, he should still produce and work his way up.

Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado)
Landeskog was the most NHL ready of any player in the 2011 draft. He’ll be penciled in on the Avs’ top 6 and should be in the Calder conversation all season.

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Last season, 18 year old Jeff Skinner joined some elite company.  He became the fourth 18 year old to win the Calder trophy as NHL’s Rookie of the Year, scoring 32 goals and 63 points.  He became the youngest winner since Tom Barrasso in 1983-84.  Many 18 year olds have played in the NHL, but only eleven have scored 60 points in one season.  Of those eleven, nine played in the 1980s, when scoring was up.  The only one who’s done it outside of that decade besides Skinner, is Sidney Crosby.  Ironically, Skinner replaced Crosby in the All Star Game this past season.  Of the ten players ahead of Skinner on that list, all ten had productive seasons their second year.  Even the “bust” Jimmy Carson had two great years before tailing off.

Now Jeff Skinner is not going to produce Crosby numbers (120 points, Art Ross winner in his second year). Crosby posted over 100 points his rookie year to Skinner’s 63. Skinner played with Eric Staal most of last year on the Hurricanes’ top line.  But Skinner played 16:43 per game, which was only seventh most on his team.  That will surely increase this season, especially with the departure of Erik Cole.  He’ll most likely be called on for more power play minutes (played 3:10 per game last year).  More time will equal more scoring chances, which should increase his point total.

Some point to his slump in February as hitting the rookie wall.   (more…)

After the regular season, we took it upon ourselves to vote for five major NHL awards (Hart, Vezina, Norris, Calder and Adams).  With the awards show tomorrow night, let’s take a quick look back on how we did voting wise and who the frontrunner for those awards are.

Hart Memorial Trophy
This year, the three finalists are: Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis. Our voting had Perry, Sedin and Tim Thomas. With no disrespect to St. Louis, this is a two horse race. Corey Perry had 50 goals and dominated down the stretch. Sedin scored a career-high 41 goals, and 104 points, winning the Art Ross. Both guys are deserving but there can only be one winner. This season Perry’s been the most valuable to his team and should pick up the Hart. However, Sedin should win the Ted Lindsay (Most Outstanding Player) award.

Vezina Trophy
The Canucks’ Roberto Luongo, Predators’ Pekka Rinne and Bruins’ Tim Thomas are the finalists for the Vezina trophy. All three made were our finalists also. Thomas should dominate the voting and easily pick up the hardware this year, which would be his second Vezina (2009).

James Norris Trophy
Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber are the 2010-11 finalists. Our voting was close, with those three defenseman along with Lubomir Visnovsky finishing as our top vote getters. (Yes, I know that is four, but we had a 3-way tie for 2nd). Even though he’s not as well known as his co-finalists, Weber had a fantastic season and should win his first NHL trophy.

Calder Memorial Trophy
This year, the Sharks’ Logan Couture, Islanders’ Michael Grabner and Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner are the NHL’s finalists. Once again, our top 3 voted finalists match the NHL’s. All three topped 30 goals and 50 points. Couture and Skinner will likely go 1-2 (in some order) but Couture is the pick here.

Jack Adams Award
The NHL’s finalist for the Adams Award are: Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, Nashville’s Barry Trotz and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault. Unfortunately, of those three only Bylsma made our finalists. The other two were Tampa’s Guy Boucher and New Jersey’s Jacques Lemaire. The frontrunner should be Bylsma, who almost won the Atlantic Division, despite his two best players (Crosby and Malkin) being injured.

Our voting produced 12 of the 15 NHL’s finalists. So who will win some of the other awards?

Ryan Kesler seems like the heavy favorite to unseat 3-time defending winner Pavel Datsyuk (a co-finalist) for the Selke Trophy. Datsyuk isn’t even going to Las Vegas for the awards show, and could be a sign of a new winner. The Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews is the other candidate.

The Lady Byng was another Datsyuk specialty, winning four times since the lockout. However, he was in a fight this season which prompted the internet to joke that he “blew his Byng chances.” Last year’s winner Martin St. Louis is in the running once again, along with Lidstrom and Dallas’ Loui Eriksson. St. Louis will probably win the award again this year.

The Masterton trophy is given to a player that shows perseverance and this year’s field has gone through a lot. Ray Emery (degenerative hip condition), Daymond Langkow (neck injury) and Ian Laperriere (brain injury) all are deserving, but this year’s winner has to be Emery. Thought to possibly have trouble walking in the future (let alone playing hockey), Emery rehabbed most of this season, and signed with the Ducks in February, playing in 16 games (including playoffs) for Anaheim.

One other award up for grabs is the Messier Leadership award. Chara, Lidstrom and Phoenix’s Shane Doan are this year’s finalists. The Coyotes battled relocation rumors all season and still managed to finish fifth. Doan’s been Phoenix’s captain since 2003. He was also Canada’s captain in the 2007 World Championships. He should be recognized for his leadership.

As the NHL season comes to a close, we are going to vote on the NHL Awards, and four of us will pick one candidate each to “campaign” for.  At the bottom, you will see balloting and the final results.

Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks by Cujo

Logan Couture deserves the Calder trophy, the kid is just flat out amazing. Former team captain Patrick Marleau said himself that Logan is talented offensively, and defensively, which would explain his numbers. He leads the team in +/-, he is second in goals on the team only behind Marleau, and also 2nd in game winning goals for the team. This is a team with Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton who by all means Couture should be setting up for goals (not that he is bad at that with 23 assists on the year), but he is proving he has what it takes to put the puck in the net, and help to keep it out of his own.


Corey Crawford, G, Chicago Blackhawks by Realdeal

As the season opened, the defending Cup Champions were looking to fill the hole of the departed Antti Niemi with Marty Turco.  However, Turco’s starting job was taken over by rookie Corey Crawford.    Crawford has filled Niemi’s void nicely.  In 54 games, Crawford’s won 31 games (good for 13th in the NHL), posted a 2.26 GAA (6th) and 91.9% save percentage (13th).  He’s also posted four shutouts this season.  While the team has struggled, Crawford has kept the Blackhawks in the playoff race.

Michael Grabner, RW, New York Islanders by Gabbi

When looking at this years crop of Calder nominees, it’s amazing to see how talented the future of the NHL is looking. So out of big names like Couture, Skinner and Fowler why go with the seemingly obscure Michael Grabner? On a team of young studs he leads the team in goals (33) and was fourth in points (50) in 74 games. This all after a summer where he was traded from his draft team from Vancouver to Florida, where he was subsequently waived from. The twenty three year old’s placement in the NHL was questionable at best, until he (and his silky mitts) found a niche on Long Island. He’s now a pivotal piece of the puzzle for the young Islanders core. Strange coming from the mouth of a Rangers fan, but this Austria native should be the next Calder trophy winner!

Jeff Skinner, C, Carolina Hurricanes by Joey

As if you need any more reasons why Jeff Skinner should be the Rookie of the Year besides his surname conjuring up images of an early 90s wrestling superstar (that’s Vince’s word not mine), I suppose I should continue to tip your scales. Skinner, by far, the youngest of the most viable ROY candidates being 18 until late in the conference finals and not only that, is also the most consistent having 30 goals and 29 assists as of this writing. I also venture that Skinner has done the most with the least. Outside of having Eric Staal as a teammate, Skinner is surrounded by a handful of solid but not quite venerable teammates. Which I feel is less to work with than the budding forwards in Long Island like Tavares, Okposo, Moulson, and the like. Vote young, vote Skinner. And perhaps Jeff will celebrate with a skulleted homage to Crocodile Dundee…ok maybe not.

Final Voting

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