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Your Calder Memorial Trophy Finalists

NEW YORK (May 2, 2016) – Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers, forward Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and forward 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,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2016 NHL Awards – hosted by actor Will Arnett – at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers

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.

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

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.

Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks

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.

History

From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, NHL President Frank Calder purchased a trophy each year to be given permanently to the NHL’s outstanding rookie. After Calder’s death, the League presented the Calder Trophy in his memory.

Announcement Schedule

The three finalists for NHL Trophies are being announced by NBC Sports in the United States and Sportsnet/TVA Sports in Canada during pregame programming for the Stanley Cup Playoffs through Saturday, May 7. The series of announcements continues on Tuesday, May 3, when the three finalists for the NHL Foundation Player Award will be unveiled.
 

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Comments

Steeb's avatar

In general, I couldn’t care less who wins the NHL awards. But Artemi Panarin, by the NHL’s own rules, isn’t eligible for the Calder. From the NHL website:

To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league.

Gretzky wasn’t eligible in ‘79-‘80 because of his time in the WHA.

Of course, this is the NHL, so bet the farm that Panarin will win it.

Posted by Steeb on 05/02/16 at 09:38 PM ET

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Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 05/02/16 at 09:38 PM ET

I agree with you in principle, but unfortunately the NHL’s current definition of “major professional league” is “the NHL,” and has been since the WHA folded.

Consider—

Sergei Makarov won the Calder despite playing 500+ games in the Soviet League (technically amateur but effectively professional, plus the level of play was probably closer to on-par with the NHL than the KHL is now).

Ovechkin and Malkin won Calder trophies despite extensive Russian Super League experience

Forsberg and Selanne won Calder trophies despite extensive top-level Swedish and Finnish (respectively) league experience.

I agree that something about the combination of Panarin’s age (24) and greater-than-usual (even for a Calder candidate) amount pro experience in the world’s second-best league feels ... wrong. Like it should be disqualifying. I mean, how can you really compare Panarin on equal footing to an 18 or 19 year old player straight out of juniors or college? You can’t.

On the other hand, I understand why the NHL would be reluctant to recognize other “top professional leagues” (especially since leagues can vary in quality significantly over time vis-a-vis the NHL), and explicitly defining the KHL as “major” could be an unfair penalty on European rookies (since they can play pro younger than 18 years old there). So it’s messy.

I would definitely consider revising the definition of the Calder in a way that would prevent “Panarin cases” to emerge, but no matter what you do the definition is going to be to some extent arbitrary and inequitable.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/03/16 at 08:14 AM ET

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I would definitely consider revising the definition of the Calder in a way that would prevent “Panarin cases” to emerge

Why?  This is an NHL award, not a “professional hockey” award.  If anything they should revise it to make sure that the best first-year NHL player wins.

To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league.

Doesn’t this technically preclude anyone from winning if they’ve played in the AHL?  And what about Auston Matthews?  He played in a major professional league this season.

How about Henrik Zetterberg?  He was a Calder finalist, but shouldn’t he have been disqualified for having played several seasons in the Swedish Elite League?

Posted by Garth on 05/03/16 at 09:26 AM ET

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Shayne Gostisbehere plays the more difficult position. To come in as a rookie and not just play well but basically put his whole team on his shoulders as a defenseman and get the Flyers in the playoffs he is the best rookie. Yes Artemi Panarin is great but as mentioned above, older and played in Russian league for years and plays on a very good line on a very good team. Connor McDavid also great but unlike Gostisbehere didn’t take his team to playoffs, Yes McDavid didn’t play a full season but neither did Gostisbehere, and Gostisbehere plays defense. Just like Aaron Ekblad the difficulty of the position should be taken into account. When you consider the position, the team he plays on and how much he changed the dynamic of the team, Shayne Gostisbehere should win the Calder.

Posted by Puckbubba on 05/03/16 at 09:46 AM ET

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Posted by Garth on 05/03/16 at 09:26 AM ET

The bottom line is that any cutoff is arbitrary, including the current definition.

According to the NHL, in order to be a “rookie” you need to be 25 years old or younger by September 15 of your first “full” season. Why not 24, or 26? Why September 15?

According to the NHL, you can’t have played more than 25 NHL regular season (an important distinction) games the previous year, or more than 6 twice. That leads to scenarios like this:

1) a player who played the last 25 games of the regular season and 4 rounds playoff games is still considered a “rookie” the following year, because playoffs don’t count.

2) A player who played 31 regular season games over 2 seasons (split 6 and 25) is still a rookie the following year.

3) A player who played 14 regular season games over 2 season (split 7 and 7) is NOT a rookie the following year.

One possible extreme position would be to get rid of age and experience qualifiers, say “you’re a rookie for whatever season you play even 1 shift in the NHL, and that’s that.” It would be the simplest way to do it. But I think people (rightly) feel that it would be an unfair standard that would disqualify too many people. On the other hand, the standards that the NHL currently uses may include too many people who really should be disqualified.

You’re never going to have a perfect definition, because it’s all arbitrary. But that’s not an argument for the current system. I think it’s worth considering whether the current “balance” is correct. I think it’s fair to wonder if a situation like Panarin (age 24 with 6 full seasons of KHL experience) is pushing the boundaries a bit too far, whereas a situation like Zetterberg (2 years in the SEL) might not be.

I am not proposing a new definition, just suggesting that maybe the current one needs another look.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/03/16 at 10:18 AM ET

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But that’s not an argument for the current system.

I agree, which is why I didn’t argue for the current system.  I specifically said that it should be changed to “the best first-year NHL player”.

Posted by Garth on 05/03/16 at 11:08 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots

This is why this award is a joke.  There are only a handful that are Hockey wise

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/03/16 at 11:31 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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