The Calder Memorial Trophy Finalists were revealed yesterday afternoon. Carolina Hurricanes rookie forward Andrei Svechnikov was not among the list of players being considered for Most Outstanding Rookie.
The time has come for the league to begin consideration for the coveted Calder Memorial Trophy. The Calder Memorial Trophy, not to be confused with the AHL’s Calder Cup, is given to the rookie considered most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL. Going into the season a certain Carolina Hurricanes rookie seemed to be on pace for at the least, a nomination.
The finalists were announced early on Sunday, and many of us were surprised that Andrei Svechnikov‘s name was not among them. Instead, the finalists were revealed to be Jordan Binnington, a phenomenal rookie goaltender playing for the St. Louis Blues. Binnington is a huge reason why the Blues are in the position they’ve found themselves in during this postseason.
The next finalist, and likely to be the favorite to be awarded the trophy, is Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson. Our favorite hockey commentator, Don Cherry, has even gone so far as to say that Pettersson ‘reminds him of Gretzky’. Blasphemy if you ask me, but I digress.
The third finalist was revealed to be Rasmus Dahlin, the young defenseman from the Buffalo Sabres. Dahlin is a phenomenal blueliner, and will no doubt be a superstar one day, but he and Pettersson did not provide their respective teams with enough contribution to pull them into the playoffs. Rookies rarely do, but this begs the question: Why is Andrei Svechnikov not a Calder Memorial Trophy Finalist?
Comparing a rookie goalie to a rookie forward is similar to comparing apples to oranges, so for brevity’s sake, we will leave a Svechnikov/Binnington comparison out of this one. Instead, let’s start with the most obvious comparison. Elias Pettersson vs. Andrei Svechnikov.
Elias Pettersson absolutely flew out of the gates this season, scoring 39 points before the end of 2018. Pettersson would go on to contribute 66 total points in 71 games played, having missed a few games due to injury. Comparing this to Svechnikov’s 37 points in 82 games played, Petterson is a clear winner.
This is no small feat, and I personally believe Petterson is rightfully being considered for the Calder Trophy, despite slowing down significantly during the latter half of the season.
Our next task is to compare Rasmus Dahlin to Andrei Svechnikov. Rasmus Dahlin was selected 1st overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, whereas Svechnikov was drafted 2nd overall. This is about where the comparisons end. Dahlin turned in a few more points than Svechnikov this season, registering a 44 point season in 82 games played. This may be a bit misleading, as 35 of Dahlin’s points were assists.
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This is not a difficult feat to achieve for a puck-moving defenseman who plays on the same line with Rasmus Ristolainen, and who shared the ice with Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, and various other offensive powerhouses currently drawing into the Sabres’ lineup.
Long story short, Andrei Svechnikov is a massive reason why the Hurricanes were able to make the playoffs this year. Svechnikov was only the third rookie in Hurricanes history to record 20 goals in a single season, and only one of 20 NHLer’s in league history to score 20 goals as an 18-year old rookie. Svechnikov also found immediate success in the playoffs this year, despite missing more than a few games due to a concussion sustained in a fight with Alex Ovechkin.
I fully believe Andrei Svechnikov should’ve been considered for consideration for the Calder Memorial Trophy over Rasmus Dahlin specifically. Based on game-changing contribution alone, Svechnikov is unmatched.
The only other player on this list that is currently in the playoffs is a goalie, and frankly deserves to be there. Regardless of being snubbed for Calder Trophy consideration, we still have a budding superstar on our hands, Caniacs. I am beyond excited to see Svechnikov continue to develop, and even more excited to see him back on the ice this postseason after he recovers fully.
Question for CC Readers: Do you think Svechnikov should’ve been considered for the Calder Memorial Trophy? If not, what other rookies do you think deserve consideration?