In an announcement that should surprise no one, Patrik Laine is a top three vote getter for the Calder Award, awarded to the NHL’s most outstanding rookie every season. He will be joined at the NHL awards by the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski.
This is an unsurprising nomination as Laine recorded 36 goals and 64 points in 73 games this season. Meanwhile, Matthews recorded 40 goals and 69 points in 82 games this season while Werenski had 11 goals and 47 points in 78 games as a defenceman. This is a truly elite field for the NHL and it is also a field devoid of controversy unlike in previous years.
Notable past award winners include: Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nathan MacKinnon, and Aaron Ekblad. Interestingly enough, Tyler Myers was the first defenceman to win the award in seven years when he won it in 2010. Ekblad won it five years later in 2015.
If Laine wins it will be the first major award win for an award that was voted on for any Winnipeg Jet or Atlanta Thrasher since Dany Heatley won the Calder in 2002. Ilya Kovalchuk won the Rocket Richard in a three way tie for the goal scoring lead with Rick Nash and Jarome Iginla in 2004.