Who Should Win The Calder Trophy

In 2005-06, the Calder race was between Ovechkin and Crosby(with Ovechkin winning). Last year it was between Malkin, Stastny and Kopitar(with Malkin winning). We are now nearing the end of the 2007-08 season and the Calder race may not be as spectacular as it has been over the last 2 years ago, however, it is one of the closest races in recent memory and it is between some potential NHL Superstars. Here is a list of who I believe should be the main Calder Candidates(and in no particular order):

Patrick Kane, Chi: 71GP 16G 43A 59Pts -7: For a guy who was allegedly “too small” to be an effective NHL player, Kane has been fantastic with the Hawks. He is the consensus “sexy pick” among all the rookies class. One note, he did slow up quite a bit when Toews went down and hasn’t really been himself since.

Jonathan Toews, Chi: 53GP 19G 26A 45Pts +9: He was the favourite heading into the season however his Calder stock has dropped after he missed several games due to injury. He has the best Point Per Game average among the rookies(0.849 compared to Backstrom and Kane’s 0.831)

Nicklas Backstrom, Wsh: 71GP 11G 48A 59Pts +6: Backstrom was considered the 2nd favourite behind Toews heading into the season. I’m sure people will say that he wouldn’t be as good if he wasn’t playing with Ovechkin however their is a flaw in that argument, Backstrom started the year playing with Viktor Kozlov and Chris Clark and didn’t start playing with Ovechkin until Nylander went down.

Tobias Enstrom, Atl: 72GP 4G 33A 37Pts -4: Kind of the “forgotten” rookie among the NHL(with others as well), Enstrom’s been by far Atlanta’s best defender this year. He leads the Thrashers in assists and leads the Thrashers defence corps in points by a 24 point margin.

Matt Niskanen, Dal: 69GP 6G 17A 23Pts +16: He’s been a very addition to an impressive Stars defensive squad. He has stepped up huge with the injuries to Phillipe Boucher and Sergei Zubov.

Carey Price, Mtl: 34GP 17-12-2 2.69 .915 2SO: Price has impressed so much, it made Cristobal Huet expendable. The reigns were given to Price and he’s done well since in his attempt to lead the Habs to a Division Title and possibly a 1st Place Finish.

Peter Mueller, Phx: 70GP 21G 27A 48Pts -7: Mueller started off slow but has caught fire over the last few months in Phoenix’s attempt to make the Play-Offs. He’s among the “forgotten” rookie class with Enstrom, Niskanen, etc.

Honourable Mention: Alexander Edler-Van, Andrew Cogliano-Edm, Sam Gagner-Edm, Erik Johnson-Stl, Tom Gilbert-Edm, Ville Koistinen-Nsh, Brandon Dubinsky-NYR.

My Opinion: I believe Nicklas Backstrom will win the Calder in a very close race. I would like to see Tobias Enstrom win it because I believe he is getting no recognition for stepping up as a rookie and being Atlanta’s best defenceman by a wide-margin. Had Toews not gotten injured, I’d say the Calder was his by a land-slide but missing those 3 or so weeks will hurt his chances.

My Dark Horse: I believe Carey Price is the Dark Horse of this year’s Calder race. HOWEVER, I believe the only way he will win it is if the Habs win the Division AND he wins 25 games, which means he will have to go 8-2 in the Habs last 10 games.


39 Responses to Who Should Win The Calder Trophy

  1. Oil-Life says:

    The three to get nominated this year should be Kane, Mueller and Backstrom.  I think Backstrom probably could win in, however, I also think the American media would give most of their votes to Kane.  Know I don't have a problem with that, he deserves it just as much as the other two who get nominated.  And he's been amazing for Chicago this year.  So my vote would go to Backstrom, but I still think Kane will win it.  But let's not kid ourselves here, Price has been terrific for Montreal this year.  If it wasn't for his minors stint, I'd give him a shot.  He just reminds me of what Ward was two years ago.  Good, but just happened to be in a year with some pretty outstanding rookies.

  2. habsrock99 says:

    Ward was Carolina's back up 2 years ago and didn't become the starter until Game 3 of the Play-Offs when Martin Gerber was ineffective against Montreal.

    2005-06 Season:
    Cam Ward-      28GP 14-8-2    3.68  .882%
    Martin Gerber-  60GP 38-14-6  2.78  .906%

    So even if it weren't for the superstar Rookie Class of 2005-06, Ward wouldn't of been nominated because his numbers were below-average and Play-Off performance has no effect on the outcome of the NHL Trophies.

  3. morrissey says:

    I don't think Price will win because he didn't play enough games, but that's the only reason. Go figure Montreal has better depth in goal than Chicago and Washington have up front… But he did chase an All-Star goalie out of town, 'nuff said.

  4. Kramer says:

    That's easy, Simon Gamache!

  5. CofRED says:

    I would like to see Mueller win it, but I think the fact that he's in Phoenix hurts his chances a lot.  He doesn't get the exposure that a lot of the other rookies do (much like Kopitar last year).  At this very moment he's leading the NHL rookies with 21 goals, he's 3rd among rookies with 38 points, and he's 5th in assists among rookies with 27.  All the while playing for a Phoenix team that, if not for his play and the play of Bryzgalov, would likely be fighting for the 1st overall draft pick, not a playoff spot.

    I think either Kane or Backstrom will actually get it, however.  I haven't seen Enstrom play much but I've really only heard good things about him.  But it's very tough for a defenseman to win the Calder because the guys who put up the points get a lot more recognition.  That puts Niskanen and Edler in the same boat.  As stated in the original article, Toews most likely would have been a runaway favorite of not for his injury, and I feel that the stint Price had in the minors and the "not outstanding" games he had shortly before his demotion will probably hurt his chances.  If he'd played the way he is now with the Habs all season, however, he would have been tough to beat.

  6. mojo19 says:

    Wow pretty good rookie crop! I would have to go with Backstrom. But on the other hand he plays with the NHL's top scorer (unless Malkin passed Ovech). Where as Patrick Kane has been doing it with just support players like Lang and Sharp. Toews was hurt for a while and Havlatt has been in and out of the line up. So if Kane wins, I wouldn't complain either.

  7. nyrfan1369 says:

    why is everyone saying price is a contender in the calder?!?!??! he may be good, but hasnt the numbers with gaa and save % although he does win games but hasnt played enough.. i mean lundquist won 30 games and didnt get nominated and had amazing numbers

  8. Habroller says:

    Henrik was competing against Crosby & Ovechkin, and as far as I remember, he did get nominated. But there wasn't a chance he wins it with the 2 franchise guys ahead of him. If it was the year Raycroft won, he would definitely have had a shot.

    This year's rookie group is deep, but you can't say anyone REALLY stands out. I guess it's fair to have a balance group of 4-5 forwards, 2 defensemen and 1 goalie.

    Price won't win the Calder, but I figure it's fair he shows up in the top-7, maybe get a nomination depending on the last 10 games of the season. He's been VERY good yet had 2 or 3 very bad starts which has hurt his stats. Everyone who has actually followed him on a constant basis can recognize he belongs in that group for his stellar rookie play.

  9. CofRED says:

    Lundqvist was 4th in Calder voting.  Crosby, Ovechkin, and Phaneuf were the top 3.

  10. CofRED says:

    That's the same line of thinking I've been using, which is why I would like to see Mueller win it.

  11. PointMeAtTheSky says:

    My three nominees would be: Kane, Toews and Price

    For the winner, I'm going to go with Price.

    As a 20 year old rookie he has taken over the number one goaltending job of one of the NHLs hardest to play for teams (I'd say only Toronto puts more pressure on it's players than the Canadiens).

    He leads all NHL rookie goaltenders in games played and wins (Ok, the latter helps the former, but he's the only rookie goaltender who has been given full reigns over his teams net, you didn't see Turco or Backstrom traded at the deadline), and is second in SV% and third in GAA of goaltenders who have played more then 10 games.

  12. BruMagnus says:

    I agree with you. Those should be the Final 3, although I think Erik Johnson may surprise some with the number of votes he gets.

    The Calder doesn't go to rookies who get sent back down, so Price can be effectively scratched, regardless of how well he may played.

  13. BruMagnus says:

    I agree. Mueller is pimp. I picked both Backstrom and Mueller in my pools in late rounds, and I hope one of them wins it, but I think the hype around Kane will let him get it. Admittedly, his team was injured to hell and if he had healthy line/teammates, not only would his stats be stronger, but the Hawks would likely be in the playoff picture.

    Enstrom is amazing. I think he'll get the top votes for D, followed by Erik Johnson. I wouldn't be surprised if Staal got some votes too.

  14. BruMagnus says:

    I'm sorry but you don't give the Calder to a player who played only decent and not well enough to remain in the NHL and get sent back down to the AHL.

    Just like you don't give the Hart to a player from a nonplayoff team unless he completely dominates the entire NHL like Mario Lemieux did when he won his.

  15. BruMagnus says:

    Pretty solid list.

    If Price wins it, it'll be an atrocity and show the Canadian media bias.
    All of Backstrom, Mueller, Kane, Enstrom, Johnson (my darkhorse though he won't win) and maybe Edler will get more votes than Price, in a fair and honest world.

    I'll be shocked, SHOCKED, if AHL-demoted Price makes the Final 3, and still raise an eyebrow if he makes the Top 5. You simply cannot give the Calder to a guy who gets called up only to be subpar and have to go back down… unless he comes back and leads the ENTIRE NHL in his category, which Price hasn't done. Now I'm sure Habs fans will come up with a lot of excuses about the 3 goalie situation and why Price was sent down, but the bottom line is if he was as great as they say he is, he wouldn't have been sent down and they'd have traded Halak/Huet for a low pick or even put them on waivers if there were no takers. IF Price was that good, which he isn't.

    The Habs better hope they don't face the Pens or Devils first round, or they'll see just how green Price is. This is not taunting, it's just speculation.

  16. habswinthecup-again says:

     He got sent down to Hamilton to get more playing time, not because he was playing bad. Don Cherry says he should win the Calder and you know Don is always right.

  17. Habs_pm says:

    Toews would have got it if he didn't get injured.

    Carey Price wins it if he has a crazy run till season's end and plays amazing in playoffs.

    Backstrom doesn't get it because he scored on his own net !…joking.

    I would go with Peter Mueller but I'm hoping Carey Price gets it.

  18. CofRED says:

    Price can play as great or as bad as he wants in the playoffs, it means nothing in regards to the Calder.  The voting is done before the playoffs begin.  The only personal award Price can hope to win based on his post-season performance is the Conn Smythe, and it's WAY too early to be speculating on that one.

  19. habsrock99 says:

    The thing about Price, he IS that good. The real reason Price was sent down had nothing to do with sub-par performances prior to the demotion. What it was, was Price was playing once every 7-9 days, something that would hurt his deveolpment. So rather then having him ride the pine and being thrown into the fire cold, Gainey sent him down because Montreal was hitting their "easy" part of the sched and Price wouldn't be playing much because as we came to learn, Gainey was apparently shopping Huet. If Price wasn't that good, Gainey wouldn't of traded the All-Star fan favourite.

    If you've watched any of Price's starts, you'll notice that he is developed beyond his years. His positioning is Brodeur-esque and his composure is phenomonal. His rebound control and puck handling are already among the best in the game.

    I know the regular season means nothing come Play-Off time but Price has faced off against Brodeur 3 times and has won twice and he's 2-0 against Pittsburgh.

    Now, I did say the only way he'd win the Calder is if he gets to 25 wins(winning 8 of the remaining 9 games), meaning his record would have to be 25-13-2 which would most definitely be Calder worthy, especially in a year where their is no clear cut Calder favourite.

    **NOTE**when I said "easy" part of their sched, it was no knock against any team, it was "easy" because for about a month.

  20. Rico420 says:

    I think that it's gonna be Kane – he's the top selling Rookie jersey this year and has put up some pretty good numbers in Chicago.

    If Towes hadn't been hurt it was hands down his award.

    If Price had played all season and played well all season he may have won but  he won't have enough games in to really get serious consideration.

  21. movingfire says:

    Price has not played enough games to even be considered…Same as Serge Kostitsyn…would have likmed to see his numbers if he played the whole year in Montreal… I have to say Kane for the Calder….He has no Ovechkin to gain assists on.

  22. BruMagnus says:

    haha. if you want to convince me never bring up that nazi! i lost respect for him 10 years ago when he reached senility.

    if he needed more playing time and is oh so good, why didn't he get it in the NHL, hmmm?

  23. BruMagnus says:

    If he was that good, why wasn't he playing every game or at least every other game or a string of games in the NHL like he is now? Was it just not ready yet?

    It seems to me that a rookie goalie should get experience precisely during that easy part of the sched… don't you agree??

    I do respect your opinion so I'll keep an open mind here. I do have to say something funny, that maybe anger, but many people have been saying that Ty Conklin is actually the most Brodeur-esque. The reason they say that is that Conklin, like Brodeur, is one of the few standup goaltenders. It's odd to watch the awkard 1980s type saves, but apparently it works as those two are among the leaders in SV% in the NHL.

    I do remember his games against Pittsburgh. He was quite good. Nothing spectacular, but definitely NHL ready. The Pens, however, were playing atrocious then. They had a pisspoor start, and lost their first two games vs the Habs, only to get the ball rolling and win the last two against the Habs (one a shutout without Crosby).

    I still highly doubt he gets more votes than Mueller, Backstrom and Kane. Or even Enstrom or Erik Johnson.

  24. habsrock99 says:

    I do agree the Habs should have played Price during the "easy" stretch but as we have come to learn, Gainey was shopping Huet. During a time when Huet is being show-cased, Gainey had to make a decision, should Price ride the pine and then get thrown into the fire cold when Huet was dealt or should he go to Hamilton where he'll play every game.

    I too highly doubt Price gets enough votes for Top 3 but he will be a Top 5 for sure simply because he was good enough to unseat an All-Star goalie, something that isn't easy to accomplish. BUT if Price does win the Calder, you cannot blame the Canadian media as the voters of these awards are made up of 50% American writers and 50% Canadian writers, which is why people are thinking Kane will win it as all 50% of the Americans will vote in his favour.

    The thing about Brodeur is that he's not a stand-up or a butterfly goalie, he's a mixture of both. He's a Hybrid type of goalie, just like Price, whic is why people compare Price to Brodeur(for the record, I hate comparisons as it brings about false hope and tons of unneccessary pressure IE. Dan Cleary was pegged as the "Next Great One", Terry Ryan was pegged as the "Next Lindros", Brian Lawton was pegged as "The Next Great One as was Alexandre Daigle)

  25. wheresthesoda says:

    Lundqvist got nominated for the vezina his rookie year.

  26. Habroller says:

    Well, I think we can all agree he deserved to be 4th.

    Phaneuf made a huge impact on his rookie year, even more than Lundqvist.

  27. marcstaalscrazy says:

    i totally agree backstrom, toews, and kane should be the top three in the race..
    but any rangers fans out there definitely would agree that if dubinsky was playing like he's been the last month the whole season he would be atop of the list with these guys for sure. he has 26 points in his las 28 games i believe and has worked greatly with avery and jagr..there line looks unstoppable at times close to nylander and straka from the year after the lockout..lately these last couple of games they havent produced but look for that line in the playoffs racking up some points.

  28. BruMagnus says:

    doesn't Dub have the most hits amongst rookies too?

  29. BruMagnus says:

    I guess Price is a hybrid goalie just like Conklin, then.
    That's what I meant about Brodeur/Conklin. Hybrid, I forgot the word.

    How do you know it's 50% 50% for Canadian/American writers? Do you have a link or somewhere I could research that?

  30. mojo19 says:

    Yeah, I just read your Mueller comments. His numbers are really solid! He really hasn't been getting much exposure this year, has he? Still not sure he's as good as Pat Kane, but Mueller seems like a stud rookie too.

  31. mojo19 says:

    Dubinsky's awesome.

  32. BruMagnus says:

    Tyler Kennedy, now the 11th Penguins player to reach 10 goals, should get serious consideration for the Calder. If he hadn't gotten mono, he'd be in the top 5 of rookie scoring.

  33. mojo19 says:

    He's amazing. Not joking, I think he's awesome.

  34. nosnow_here says:

    Peter Mueller wins it.  American born AND stayed healthy ALL season.

  35. nosnow_here says:

    A comment from a truly clueless hockey fan.  YOU.

    1.  Hockey is a team sport.
    2. Radim Vrbata leads the team in goals.
    3.  Shane Doan leads the team in points.
    4.  Marin Hanzal, Dan Carcillo, Daniel Winnik, Craig Weller.  All stepped up as rookies.

    I pick Mueller for the Calder, yes but the fact that he is in Phoenix helps his chances. 

  36. svenki says:

    hmmmmm kane or backstrom?
    im gunna go with backstrom

  37. habsrock99 says:

    Unfortunately I do not have a link to a web site but I have heard it from several hockey analysts including Steve Kouleas, Al Strachan, Steve Ludzik, Pierre Maguire, Pierre LeBrun, Ron MacLean, James Duthie, Darren Dreger and Elliot Friedman. I believe the most recent time I've heard anything about the voters would have been at the All-Star break during the Skills Comp.

    But as far as I know, the writers are 50% Canadian and 50% American and include writers from the Ottawa Sun, Toronto Sun, Montreal Sun, Globe and Mail, Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Boston Journal, La Presse and a few Internet Bloggers who write for these papers/magazines as well. If I'm not mistaken, Pierre LeBrun and Al Strachan are two of the writers who vote.

  38. BruMagnus says:

    What CofRED said…

    I can't believe you don't know this Habs_pm… my opinion of you just dropped dramatically.

  39. BruMagnus says:

    Cool. And there are other guys like that that will step up and fill in the 'holes' of Army and Christensen. The trade was expensive, but nowhere near as bad as people think. The Pens have a lot of depth and it won't affect them long-term. The 1st rounder was the only bad thing to giveup.

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