Calder Trophy Finalists: Gostisbehere vs. McDavid vs. Panarin

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Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition."

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Who wins the Calder, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association? 

Why Shayne Gostisbehere deserves the Calder  

The NHL says: 

Gostisbehere, a third-round selection (78th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, led rookie defensemen in goals (17), assists (29), points (46), power-play goals (8), power-play points (22) and game-winning goals (5) while playing in 64 contests. He also scored four overtime goals, setting a League record for any rookie while matching a single-season record for any defenseman. Gostisbehere posted a 15-game point streak Jan. 19 – Feb. 20 (5-13—18), an NHL record for a rookie defenseman as well as a franchise record for any rookie. He is Philadelphia’s first Calder Trophy finalist since 1993-94 (Mikael Renberg) and is vying to become the first player in team history to capture the award.

Besides having one of the better nicknames in the NHL, GhostBear, Gostisbehere was a force following his November recall. Fifteen of his 17 goals either tied games or gave the Flyers the lead, a remarkable impact from the Union College product. Despite playing in only 64 games, Gostisbehere averaged 0.72 points per game, behind Panarin and McDavid among rookies with at least 45 appearances.

Why Connor McDavid deserves the Calder

The NHL says: 

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, ranked fourth among rookies with 16-32—48 despite appearing in only 45 games due to injury. His average of 1.07 points per game led all rookies and ranked third in the entire League. McDavid recorded multiple points in 12 of his 45 outings, highlighted by a five-point game Feb. 11 vs. TOR (2-3—5). At 19 years, 29 days, he became the ninth-youngest player in NHL history to register a five-point performance (as well as the third rookie in Oilers history to achieve the feat). McDavid is Edmonton’s first Calder Trophy finalist since 2011-12 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and also is attempting to become the first player in club history to win the award. 

A shoulder injury derailed what could have been a really historic offensive season from McDavid. Though he only played 45 games, his level of production was off the charts averaging 1.07 points per game, 

Why Artemi Panarin deserves the Calder 

The NHL says: 

Panarin, who signed with the Blackhawks in May 2015, led all rookies in goals (30), assists (47), points (77), power-play goals (t-8), power-play points (24) and game-winning goals (7) while skating in 80 contests. He became the fourth rookie in franchise history to reach the 30-goal milestone and the first to do so since 1995-96 (Eric Daze). That included his first career hat trick Feb. 17 at NYR, the first by any Blackhawks rookie since 2002-03 (Tyler Arnason). Panarin is Chicago’s first Calder Trophy finalist since 2012-13 (Brandon Saad) and is looking to become the first Blackhawks player to win the award since teammate Patrick Kane in 2007-08.

He was an integral part of the Blackhawks offense and big reason why Patrick Kane had the season he did. Not only did Panarin lead all rookies in scoring, he was also top-10 in the NHL in points and only the third freshman since 2011 to reach 30 goals in a season.

Who Wins the Calder? 

Panarin, really just for quotes like this:

Our Ballot (in alphabetical order, as the PHWA was asked not to reveal our votes until after the award is handed out.) 

1. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
2. Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
3. Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings
4. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
5. Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks



Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues and Max Domi of the Arizona Coyotes miss out, which tells you just how good of a rookie class the NHL had during the 2015-16 season.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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