Every year, the best rookie in the NHL is awarded the Calder Trophy. The winners the last 5 years goes as follows:
2015-2016: Artemi Panarin (Left Wing)
2014-2015: Aaron Ekblad (Defenseman)
2013-2014: Nathan MacKinnon (Center)
2012-2013: Jonathan Huberdeau (Center)
2011-2012: Gabriel Landeskog (Left Wing)
You know what I see? No goalies. In fact, the last time a goalie actually won a Calder was the 2008-2009 season when Steve Mason was tearing it up with a .916 save percentage, he won 33 games, and had 10 shutouts. That is unbelievable.
But now there’s a new goalie on the rise by the name of Matt Murray. As of right now, he has a .926 save percentage and 21 wins. That is even more unbelievable. The only problem is, it’s very rare for goalies to win because it is so hard to compare them to the other rookies. It’s like the debate between Sidney Crosby and Carey Price. (Some people may say that’s no debate, but they play different positions for crying out loud.)
Let me explain how hard it is to decide the Calder winner. There are 3 major positions in hockey. Offence, defense, and goal tending. You can go ahead and split offence into wingers and centres because those are two totally different animals, especially for a rookie. Faceoffs are hard to do, escpecially since you don’t know any of the other players. Now you’ve got 4 distinct categories and you have to choose who is the best. That’s a tough challenge, but let me give you my perspective on this whole thing.
This race is between these players:
- Auston Matthews
- Mitch Marner
- Patrik Laine
- Zach Werenski
- Matt Murray
That’s obviously not all the rookies, but it’s safe to say these are the ones who are actual contenders. Now let’s narrow this down.
Auston Matthews leads all rookies in goals and plays on an all rookie line night in and night out. His defense is solid and he can win about 50% of faceoffs, pretty good for a first year NHLer.
Mitch Marner is a winger rookie on a veteran line which is a little less impressive than Matthews’ all rookie line. Nevertheless, he leads all rookies in points and racks up assists like it’s nothing. The goals he scores are nothing short of magical and you can always count on him to wake up a drowsy offence. I still cannot get over that breakaway goal he scored on Reimer a few months ago. This kid is a keeper.
Patrik Laine is second in all rookies in points and has a killer shot. He seems to get hat tricks every night but sadly, that concussion slowed his point production down a bit. The problem is that he is just like Marner. A winger rookie on a veteran line and that puts him at a disadvantage if you are comparing him with Auston Matthews or Marner since he trails Marner in points.
Zach Werenski has 33 points which is fantastic for a rookie. The only problem is that his offensive production is hard to compare to with the other rookies. If you ask me, there’s no way he wins the Calder because of the difference in offensive production. It really is unfortunate but I’m sure he will continue to be recognized as an elite NHL defenseman.
Matt Murray is going to be an elite goaltender for years to come, but I doubt he’s going to get a Calder. It is just too hard to compare him to the forwards and he already has a Stanley Cup ring. Let the others get a shot Matt.
As you can tell, I believe that Auston Matthews should win the Calder. His production on an all rookie line is ridiculous and the position he plays is so demanding. Anyone who says otherwise is either hating on him because he’s a Leaf or because they have nothing better to do.