March 31, 2010
The trophy races this season are especially unpredictable. No one can agree on Hart Trophy candidates, let alone a winner. The Norris field is competitive. The Vezina should come down to Ryan Miller(notes) and Ilya Bryzgalov(notes), and they each have their champions.
We've been fascinated by the Calder race for rookie of the year all season, because it's been unpredictable since ... well, probably since the draft. Top two picks John Tavares(notes) of the New York Islanders and Victor Hedman(notes) of the Tampa Bay Lightning have been good —not great and not Calder-worthy.
Matt Duchene(notes), No. 3 to the Colorado Avalanche, has exceeded expectations. Tyler Myers(notes) of the Buffalo Sabres wasn't expected to stick in the NHL this season let alone play 23:47 a night on average to a plus-13.
Then there are the goalies. Semyon Varlamov(notes) looked like he was going to skate into the Final 3 for the award before injuries and ineffectiveness crept in. Jimmy Howard(notes) of the Detroit Red Wings and Tuukka Rask(notes) of the Boston Bruins have come on strong in the second half.
Here are the scoring leaders for the Calder:
And here are the goaltending leaders:
Rask has been incredible, but probably doesn't have the body of work necessary to overtake Howard, whose win total is really impressive. And the Professional Hockey Writers aren't putting two goalies in, leaving out the best forward or the best defenseman this season.
Craig Simpson of CBC probably has the field right: Duchene, Howard, Myers. He has Myers winning the Calder, which seemed like a consensus pick for most of the season. But there's no denying the late momentum for Howard as the Red Wings found their mojo. (How good? Derek Zona had a great post on why Howard should win the Hart, in his estimation.)
Nabby was 25 the season he won the Calder. Howard just turned 26. Myers is 20; Duchene is 19. How much does age factor into your Calder consideration for rookies?