The finalists for the Calder Trophy were announced yesterday, with Mathew Barzal, Brock Boeser and Clayton Keller landing in the top three. You can’t really argue with the nominations for any of the three after their outstanding seasons, but they certainly weren’t the only ones.
Kyle Connor in Winnipeg led all rookies with 31 goals, scoring at an incredible pace in the second half of the season. 21 of those goals came in his final 45 games, as a huge part of the Jets offensive attack.
Defenseman Charlie McAvoy registered just 32 points for the Boston Bruins, but logged more than 22 minutes a night as part of their top pairing. The 20-year old was tasked with playing against some of the best players in the league, and is hard matching against Auston Matthews and company in the playoffs.
Perhaps the most overlooked is Yanni Gourde, the undersized forward who finally made it to the NHL and showed why he should have been there all along. The 26-year old undrafted Gourde was an outstanding offensive player in junior, and registered 64 points—third most by any rookie—while playing in all 82 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
What about goaltenders? Juuse Saros played in 26 games for the Presidents Trophy-winning Nashville Predators, posting a .925 save percentage. That put him ninth in the entire league among goaltenders who made at least 20 starts, and would put him in Vezina contention had he played more games—teammate Pekka Rinne’s .927 has him as one of the favorites to win the award.
So who do you think should win the Calder? Cast a vote for not who you think will win, but who should win, and explain your reasoning in the comments below. We’ve listed several players as options to see if our readers at PHR end up with the same three finalists.
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