by PuckStopsHere on 03/07/10 at 03:01 PM ET
In early January, I picked Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres as the Calder trophy leader. He has not kept up that pace. In fact in his last ten games, Myers has only one point and -6 +/- rating. Those are not Calder Trophy numbers. Hence it is time to pick a new leader.
The leader at this point is Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. He is the clear Detroit number one goalie (due in part to Chris Osgood’s failures). Howard has a .925 saves percentage, which is good enough for fifth in the NHL and a 2.33 goals against average (8th in the league). Among the NHL’s successful rookie goalies this year (Howard, Tuukka Rask and Antti Niemi) Howard has been the only one who has played the majority of his team’s games.
The recent example of a goaltender winning the Calder Trophy is Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who won it last year. Mason has a .916 saves percentage in his rookie year (Howard is well above that level) a a 2.29 GAA (which is approximately the same as Mason - which shows that Detroit is allowing more shots this year than Columbus did last year). Howard must play in most of the remaining games this season to reach Mason’s games played total (which seems likely as Osgood has only appeared in four games in 2010 - and two were only partial games).
There is a group that would consider Jimmy Howard for Calder if and only if Detroit makes the playoffs. This is wrong. Jimmy Howard (or any other player) is the Calder Trophy winner if he earns the most “Bill James win shares” - basically if he gives his team more wins than any other rookie. I think he has done so during the season so far. For a large part, Detroit making or not making playoffs depends upon the play of the whole team and Howard is only one player.
Jimmy Howard is the current leader for the rookie of the year. It took a slump by Tyler Myers to get Howard the lead. Although he is not a consensus leader now (though I think he should be), Howard could become a consensus Calder Trophy winner if his strong play is a significant reason Detroit qualifies for the playoffs.
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