Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/11/13 at 05:32 PM ET
from Stu Hackel of the Red Light at Sports Illustrated,
Excluding all first year players who are 26 and over is a relic of a time gone by. No one disputes that the NHL is the best league in the world and any first year player who comes from Europe now really must make a step up to succeed, which was not necessarily the case in Makarov's day.
So when you look at this season's truly impressive rookie class, there are a trio of players who are automatically ineligible for the Calder Trophy, but they deserve consideration: Anaheim Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth, who is 30 and has been one of the year's major surprises; Detroit Red Wings forward Damien Brunner, 27 and quite skilled, who is providing Detroit with a third big point producer to go with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. If Brunner, who had 10 goals and nine assists in his first 26 games, were included in the rookie scoring standings, he'd rank second. And then there is Mike Kostka, 27, a lifetime minor pro and classic-late bloomer who has quietly become a top pair defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
They can't get a single vote, however, and that's something of an injustice.
The age exclusion provision in the Calder Trophy rules unfairly prohibits voters from recognizing these players. They've may have paid their dues at lower levels of the game far longer than teenagers Nail Yakupov and Jonathan Huberdeau, or even 24-year-old Jake Muzzin.
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