Calder Trophy Power Rankings

The 2013-14 NHL season was strong one for first year players. 34 players recorded over 20 points, and 59 different players played in at least half of their team’s games. However, the numbers start to dwindle when to start talking about the NHL’s prestigious Calder Memorial Trophy awarded to the rookie of the year. Only three players can be nominated for the award, and, of course, only one will leave the annual awards dhow in Las Vegas with rookie of the year honors. With the announcement of the three nominations for the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy expected to come in the next day or two, I’ve ranked the top 30 rookies from this past season based on where they deserve to land on the ballot when the votes from the Professional Hockey Writers Association are in.

1 Colorado F Nate MacKinnon Used his electrifying speed and skill to lead all rookies with 63 points and 39 assists. Finished in a tie for most goals by a rookie (24). Former NHLer and NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick called him, “The most dominant 18-year-old the NHL has seen since Sidney Crosby.”
2 Tampa Bay F Ondřej Palát Showcased great offensive skills even in the prolonged absence of Steven Stamkos. Led all rookies with a +32 rating and earned 59 points, the most of any player in a Lightning uniform at the end of the season.
3 Pittsburgh D Olli Määttä Demonstrated tremendous poise with the puck all season and ate quality minutes during Pittsburgh’s injury-plagued season. Showed exceptional play in his own end, as well.
4 Tampa Bay F Tyler Johnson Established himself as a great two-way player in the first year of his NHL career while finishing tied for the most goals among rookies (24). Despite his smaller stature, he played a very physical, grinding game, too.
5 Winnipeg D Jacob Trouba Led all rookie defensemen in time on ice per game as well as short handed time on ice per game. The former University of Michigan Wolverine returned from an early season neck injury with a vengeance, racking up 29 total points.
6 Anaheim Ducks D Hampus Lindholm His +29 rating was amongst the best for a rookie defenseman in NHL history and recorded 24 assists in the process. Made the transition from being a young defenseman in the AHL to NHL look easy.
7 Calgary F Sean Monahan Sky high hockey IQ allowed him to score 22 goals and 34 points on an abysmal Calgary squad. Accounted for 19.42% of the Flames’ total 5-on-5 scoring. Showed great leadership skills all season.
8 Boston D Torey Krug After his coming out party in the 2013 Playoffs, Krug used his first full regular season in the NHL to further solidify his puck-moving prowess and scored 40 points, a league high for rookie d-men. He sometimes played shaky in his own end, however.
9 Nashville D Seth Jones Cooled off from his red hot start to the season after nagging injuries and the acquisition of Michael Del Zotto cut into his minutes. Played admirably in an increased role when Roman Josi was injured. Showed off his speed and skill to earn 25 points.
10 Florida F Nick Bjugstad The massive 6’6″, 218 lbs 21-year-old quietly recorded a solid 38 points in his first season with the Florida Panthers. Uses size and strength to his advantage, but showed off on some very skilled goals. He was one of the top rookies on draws, as well.
11 Anaheim Ducks G Frederik Andersen Appeared in only 28 games and had just 24 starts, but ended up with 20 wins in those contests. The Great Dane worked towards a .923 save percentage, a great total for a rookie netminder.
12 San Jose F Tomáš Hertl Demonstrated elite offensive gifts that had him at the top of the rookie scoring race until a mid-season shoulder injury cost him the remainder of his rookie season. Still, who can forget his four goal game that was capped off by this beauty?
13 Winnipeg F Mark Scheifele Like Hertl, Scheifele’s year was cut short with a season-ending injury. Prior to injury, though, Scheifele evolved into Winnipeg’s best offensive threat. Scheif’s playmaking ability saw him get 34 points this season, 30 of which coming at even strength.
14 Dallas F Valeri Nichushkin Produced incredibly well on a line with the dynamic duo of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but failed to even come close to that level with other teammates. Still, the Russian power forward was good enough for 34 points, tied for 8th best for rookies.
15 New Jersey D Éric Gélinas Scored in his first appearance with the Devils this season, then racked up 29 points as one of the season’s biggest surprises. Unfortunately, the PP specialist was caught bouncing between the NHL and the minors, and only played 60 games.
16 Detroit D Danny DeKeyser Constantly had to face increased minutes in the face of Detroit’s constant trips to the training table. He was trusted to face quality offensive opponents on a near-nightly basis, and earned 23 points in the process.
17 Buffalo F Zemgus Girgensons This 20-year-old supplied one of the game’s worst offenses in its history with 22 points in 70 games. Girgensons play went well-beyond the scoresheet, as he recorded 171 hits and was wearing an “A” by the end of the Sabres’ long season.
18 Florida F Aleksander Barkov An injury sustained at the Olympics cut this 18-year-old dynamo’s season short, but not before he established himself as Florida’s best two-way player. Recorded 30 takeaways to 17 giveaways to accompany 24 points in 54 contests.
19 Dallas F Alex Chiasson Chaisson could never match his incendiary start to his career (at least one point in his first nine games) once the flame burned out, but he still managed to score 35 points.
20 Tampa Bay D Radko Gudas Burly Czech defender led all rookies in hits (273) and blocked shots (138), but he was also tops in penalty minutes, too (152 PIM). Recorded an impressive 22 points for someone of his role.
21 New York Rangers F Chris Kreider Speedy, enigmatic presence started the season strong, but inconsistency plagued his full year. His declining efficiency at even strength and too many trips to the penalty box landed him in the coach’s dog house by the end of the year.
22 Columbus Blue Jackets F Boone Jenner Known for his agitating play and affinity for checking, Jenner quietly scored 29 points for los Chaquetas Azules. Led all first year forwards with 212 hits.
23 Detroit F Luke Glendening Despite low scoring numbers, he became Mike Babcock’s go-to shut-down center while Red Wings legends Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were incapacitated with injuries.
24 San Jose F Matt Nieto Versatile forward slid up and down the Sharks’ line-up all season. Spent the first half of the Sharks’ impressive season getting accustomed to NHL play, but produced well in an increased role.
25 Toronto D Morgan Rielly Rielly took some time to earn the trust of head coach Randy Carlyle, and his high turnover number certainly didn’t make his bench boss very happy. However, Rielly was also tops in takeaways and demonstrated great playmaking ability all season.
26 Vancouver G Eddie Lack Played in far more games than any other rookie goaltender, and recorded a 2.41 goals against average. His great play took a dramatic dip when the Canucks traded Roberto Luongo and Lack assumed the starter’s position.
27 Calgary F Joe Colborne Colborne showed off slick hands and great penalty killing ability in his first full NHL season. 28 points doesn’t hurt, either, but that was playing alongside Sean Monahan for a large portion of the year.
28 Los Angeles G Martin Jones Led all rookies in major goaltending statistics. His goals against average was 1.81, a .934 save percentage, and an astounding four shutouts. Moreover, he was only in net for 18 starts, which hurts his case.
29 Los Angeles F Tyler Toffoli Still far from meeting his max potential, the Kings’ youngest sniper scored 29 points in 62 games. He still needs to improve in many other areas of his game, though.
30 Carolina F Elias Lindholm Proved to be a very efficient power play player working the goal line for the ‘Canes, but he couldn’t muster consistent scoring stretches, only appeared in 58 games, and nine goals was a bit lower than what was expected of him.

 

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