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NHL Awards 2012: Arctic Ice Hockey Casts Calder Trophy Ballot

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The Calder Trophy is always one of the harder ones for me because you're usually dealing with players that are either very sheltered or haven't provided full regular seasons. This year was very unusual in that regard, though, as we had a number of players provide full seasons playing some pretty big minutes (Gabriel Landeskog, Jake Gardiner, Adam Henrique, Matt Read). As such, it was hard to identify the best of this group, as there were steady, impressive performances to go with electric, shortened performances.

My ballot with explanation after the jump.

My picks...

1st Place - Adam Henrique

2nd Place - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

3rd Place - Carl Hagelin

I went for the impressive with my first place, and electric with the latter two...and I'll be the first to admit that Gabriel Landeskog gets screwed in this analysis. Henrique was leaned on unusually hard for a first-year forward, getting tough zone starts (47.4%) and more 4v5 minutes (1.77 per 60) than any of Nugent-Hopkins, Hagelin, or Landeskog. He delivered in those minutes, with nearly as many shorthanded points (7) as powerplay points (8), and he seemed to always be there when nobody else came to play. Nugent-Hopkins gets his spot for simply being everything he was expected to be, a dynamic scorer and set-up man who, had he played the full season, would've finished well in the lead among rookie scorers (24 G, 45 A, 69 PTS). Yes, he got cushy time, but he did what you want a guy to do with them. Finally, in a spot virtually interchangeable with Gabriel Landeskog, I went with Carl Hagelin. Hagelin was a shot in the dark, a rookie given a spot because everybody, including the Rangers, knew that Henrik Lundqvist had carried the team through the first quarter of the season. Cue the remarkable transformation...Hagelin and the defensive efforts of Brandon Dubinsky were a huge part of the improvement of the Rangers (Hagelin's 10.8 Corsi Rel was second to John Mitchell, and his 5v5 TOI of 14.06 was 4th among Rangers forwards). Add to that a projected total (to 82 games) of 19 goals and 32 assists for 51 points (almost all at evens), and you have a guy whose "proficiency" (per the Calder Trophy verbiage) was pretty remarkable.