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. The award has been awarded 72 times since its beginnings in 1937. The voting is conducted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the conclusion of each regular season to determine the winner.
There is no doubt the effect that Matt Duchene is having on the sudden revival of the Colorado Avalanche. Is his effort going to go largely unrewarded in not winning the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie?
More than likely if I was able to ask him how he felt, this is probably what he would say:
Obviously it would be a tremendous honor. At this point though, I am just going to continue to work hard every night and hopefully help this team win some games. The ultimate goal for the team is to make the playoffs. If I were to get a tremendous honor like that, it would just be icing on the cake.
There are a lot of things about Matt Duchene that remind me a lot of Sidney Crosby. His ability to just find open space on the ice. The way he always has his head up looking to make a play with or without the puck. Most of all, how humble he seems to be.
As of Saturday afternoon, Dutchy is leading all rookies in goals, assists, points, power play goals, and is only one of five rookies to have a shorthanded goal. Amazingly, T.J. Galiardi has 4 shorthanded points this year (1G, 3A).
Follow the jump for more on the rest of the potential nominees for the Calder Trophy.
Another player that has been getting a lot of consideration for the Calder Trophy is Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers. Right now, Myers is tied with John Tavares for second in rookie scoring. As a defenseman, this is almost unheard of.
The last defenseman to win the Calder was Barrett Jackman back in 2002-03. He has had a solid career, but hasn't been as good as a Calder win would suggest, see Andrew Raycroft for another example of what I'm talking about. If Myers is able to bring home the hardware, he would join some pretty elite company, Bobby Orr, Raymond Bourque and Brian Leetch just to name a few of the defenseman that won the Calder Trophy.
A lot of people feel that what he has been able to do at the age 20 is simply amazing. Being a defenseman in the NHL is probably the second hardest job in the NHL behind being a goaltender. He is leading all rookie defenseman in goals, assists, points and ice time. He is also an impressive +8. He averages almost 24 minutes of ice time a night.
In my opinion, one of the dark horses for the Calder is Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard. Just about any goalie could be playing in Detroit and post the kind of numbers he is this year. There is no doubting the skill of this young goalie, and he will be very good for many years to come.
I think that Detroit would have to make another run to the Stanley Cup Finals for him to get some serious consideration from me. Last time I checked though, I will not be getting a vote. Right now Howard is tied for fourth in the NHL with a .924 save percentage and is seventh in goals against average with a 2.35 GAA.
I have no doubt that these three players are going to be the ones who are at the Awards Ceremony in June, but why should I get to have all of the fun. What do you think?