Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin, Martin Brodeur, even guys like Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, and Ray Bourque, just to name a few. Who are all these guys? Not only have they played a rookie season in the NHL, but they have won the Calder Trophy in years past. The Calder Trophy, named after former president Frank Calder, is awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League” by definition, since its creation in the 1936-37 NHL season. Basically, it’s for rookie of the year, and its no tight race this year.
So you’re in the NHL, as a rookie, and only so far into the season, around the start of November, you go crashing into the boards behind the net. The doctors say broken collarbone and you’ll be out a couple months. This was prime case scenario for Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid.
First lets talk how it all started out. McDavid was only 13 games into his first NHL season when he got injured. He had 5 goals, 7 assists, for a total of 12 points. He was getting on the ice anywhere from sixteen to twenty minutes a game and only had two games without a shot on net. This guy was not afraid to shoot and definitely not scared of scoring. He and his line mates could have used some defensive help, considering his plus minus was negative at the time but that’s besides the fact. Thirteen games, 12 points, and a PPG of .92 later, and you’ve lost your star player for a while.
Fast forward to February 2nd. Connor McDavid is said to be active in the lineup for Edmonton as they take on the Columbus Bluejackets. About half way through the game, McDavid split the defense on a fast break and put one past the goalie in one of the best goals of his season.
He also had two assists that night. Now we are talking about a guy who has just been out of play for three straight months due to injury and he comes back and does this. That right there is outright talent that cannot be beat. Now you may say he should be doing that because he was the first overall pick and I would agree with you. But this wasn’t the only time he put on a show. Clearly he hasn’t stopped. Just last week he put up 5 points against Toronto. In his last five games he has 8 points, combining three goals with 5 assists. And, he has brought his PPG up to an astounding 1.19.
And to take a look at some other contenders, there is still a close battle. Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres has 39 points in 58 games giving him a PPG of .67 as well as 17 goals and 22 assists thus far in the season. Who is said to be a likely winner as well is Artemi Panarin from Chicago. Due to Patrick Kane’s 26 game point streak, his stats rose through the roof. He has 57 points through 59 games, .97 PPG, with 22 goals and 35 assists. Lastly, a personal favorite other than McDavid, Dylan Larkin in Detroit has 38 points in 56 games, .68 PPG, with 18 goals and 20 assists.
As I have laid all the statistics on the table, Mcdavid is not out of the race what so ever. Yes he might only have a fraction of the points than the other rookies but you have to think about if he never left the game. His PPG most likely would have still been around 1 which would have given him numbers alike Panarin or even better as he would adjust to the game play and find more opprotunities each game to contribute to his team. All I’m saying is don’t count him out of this one, you will be surprised if you think otherwise.
Cover Photo via ESPN