At the beginning of the season it was all about Matthews vs. Laine. Now, it’s a pretty diverse rookie class. There have been quite a few outstanding rookies this season. From the likes of; Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski, Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk and even Matt Murray.
The list of eligible Calder candidates is outstanding, from Patrik Laine; the 19 year old Fin who leads the rookie scoring race, to Matthew Tkachuk; who made the Flames as a 19 year old, to the young guns in Toronto, the talent level is unbelievable.
There won’t be a trophy with as much controversy, and intrigue as the Calder. This will be a tough, close battle between a lot of rookies who deserve it.
To find a rookie class such as this you’d have to go back to the 2005-06 season, when Alex Ovechkin beat out Sidney Crosby for the Calder. Ovechkin was a year older, held out of the league — like everyone else — due to the season-killing 2004-05 lockout.
“I think the league got younger from the (2004-05) lockout,” said Sabres coach Dan Bylsma. “Today it’s a different class of player entering the league. The speed at which they are playing the game is amazing. It’s high end. It’s faster than most other guys out on the ice. I think that’s really a sign of the development of young players.
“They’re more ready at a younger age. You see guys come into the league and be almost stars at such a young age.”
Here’s a look at the favourites for the Calder, an award voted on by the membership of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association for the player deemed “most proficient in his first year of competition.”
Auston Matthews has been nothing but spectacular. Currently he is tied for first on the Leafs in scoring, with 39 points. Now, people had high expectations for Matthews coming into this season, and he hasn’t disappointed one bit. He is a strong contender for the Calder Trophy, as he is leading the young leafs to what looks like a playoff-berth.
The young Fin has been downright excellent as well this season. There were thoughts and rumours that he could have gone before Matthews, and he has answered them well. Currently he leads all rookies in scoring, with 40 points in 44 games. Laine is another strong contender to bring home the Calder Trophy, as the leagues best rookie.
Mitch Marner has been a pleasant surprise for Leafs fans this season. Currently, he is tied with Auston Matthews for the lead in team scoring, with 39 points in 47 games. He would be a dark horse to win the award, being behind Matthews, but would not be a real shocker if he pulled out as this year’s Calder winner.
Some Honourable Mentions