by Lisa Brown on 04/20/12 at 01:00 PM ET
The Calder Trophy finalists have been announced and of course Oiler rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was on the list along with Gabriel Landeskog and Adam Henrique. But that may be as far as it goes. While the Nuge was arguably the most prolific scorer of the three, those who vote argue that the games Nugent-Hopkins missed were his downfall. It’s not as though Nugent-Hopkins is frail or wouldn’t have played out the entire season if it hadn’t been for an unpredictable and completely fluke injury that was the result of skating all alone into the boards after getting caught up on a bad patch of ice.But it doesn’t matter now, Nugent-Hopkins had a much higher per game scoring rate than the other two rookies but played the fewest number of games of the three.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2012 highlights
Nugent-Hopkins scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game, a home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins and scored the game winning goal in the shootout. Nugent-Hopkins soon followed that feat with his first NHL hat trick scored against the Vancouver Canucks. Throughout his season of 62 games, Nugent-Hopkins scored 18 time, 2 of those game winning, and put up 52 points. He took 16 penalty minutes and finished -2 on the team that finished 29th.
Henrique played 74 games, scoring 16 times but with 3 of those game winners and 4 of those short handed. Henrique did earn 1 less point than RNH with 51, but only took 7 penalty minutes and finished with a +8 rating. You have to keep in mind that Henrique was also playing for a playoff team and while Nugent-Hokins played with some talent, Henrique arguably played with more talent, and a better blueline behind him.
Landeskog (Landy) played all 82 games this season scoring 22 goals and matching Nugent-Hopkins 52 points while doing it. Of the three, Landeskog had the most impressive plus minus finishing with +20 but with 51 penalty minutes. The Colorado Avalanche were also in the playoff push all of the way to the end and Landeskog was a big part of that. Oh, he also had 5 game winning goals. So there are plenty of reasons to pick Landeskog for rookie of the year.
Because “The Calder Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League” it could apply to either of the three players. Oiler fans still believe that Nugent-Hopkins is deserving of the award and will be disappointed should he not receive the award, but that is something that the Oilers are used to. Of all of the awards that the team was won, the Calder Trophy is one that the team has never taken. This could still be the year, but we will not know until the end of June at the NHL award ceremony where like it or not, Canadian rock band Nickleback will perform. There may or may not be a hockey style fight with current musical “rivals” the Black Keys.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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