Prospect Ramblings: A look back at Calder finalists & finding 2017 candidates (Jul 27)

Paul Zwambag

2016-07-28

photo courtesy: nhl.com

Taking a look at the previous six Calder winners and finalists and coming up with a new list for the 2017 season…

 

Predicting the Calder candidates in the summer of the upcoming year is extremely difficult, but with a little bit of research, we can try to play the numbers and see if we can't come up with a few trends that go into the top-5 finalists of the Calder trophy each year. First off we need to have a look at the voting charts, found at hockey-reference.com. Below are the top 5 vote-getters every year for the Calder Memorial Trophy. Below each graph a short paragraph on where guys played before there rookie seasons and how old each player was.

 

2011 CALDER TROPHY VOTES

Place

Player

Age

Tm

Pos

Votes

Vote%

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

1

Jeff Skinner

18

CAR

RW

1055

83.07

71

39

12

4

0

2

Logan Couture

21

SJS

C

908

71.50

41

46

29

10

1

3

Michael Grabner

23

NYI

RW

497

39.13

6

19

37

35

14

4

Corey Crawford

26

CHI

G

336

26.46

6

9

22

28

19

5

John Carlson

21

WSH

D

188

14.80

3

3

16

12

21

Jeff Skinner was drafted the previous year, began his rookie season at 18 years old. Logan Couture played two-thirds of his first pro season in the AHL, then moved to the NHL his second season. Michael Grabner's fourth pro year was his rookie season, his first three were played in the AHL. Corey Crawford was a full-time starter (57gp) during his fourth pro season, which was also his rookie year. John Carlson played two-thirds of his first pro season in the AHL (22gp in NHL). Carlson's rookie season was his second pro year. 

*

2012 CALDER TROPHY VOTES

Place

Player

Age

Tm

Pos

Votes

Vote%

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

1

Gabriel Landeskog

19

COL

LW

1383

92.82

116

29

4

0

0

2

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

18

EDM

C

1001

67.18

26

83

22

16

2

3

Adam Henrique

21

NJD

C

620

41.61

3

19

59

50

12

4

Matt Read

25

PHI

RW

546

36.64

3

17

45

51

19

5

Carl Hagelin

23

NYR

LW

88

5.91

0

0

5

9

36

Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were drafted in 2011 and played their first NHL season in 2011-12. Adam Henrique's first profesional year was spent in the AHL and then moved to the NHL in his second full season. Matt Read completed his four years in the NCAA, moving to the AHL at the end of his graduation year. His first full pro year was in the NHL. Carl Hagelin played four full seasons in the NCAA moving over to the AHL at the end of his school year and played five AHL playoff games. He split his first pro year in the AHL and NHL, playing 17 games in the 'A' and 64 games in the NHL.

*

2013 CALDER TROPHY VOTES

Place

Player

Age

Tm

Pos

Votes

Vote%

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

1

Jonathan Huberdeau

19

FLA

C

1141

63.74

54

55

26

26

8

2

Brendan Gallagher

20

MTL

RW

1048

58.55

54

44

23

24

13

3

Brandon Saad

20

CHI

LW

730

40.78

30

24

26

34

30

4

Jonas Brodin

19

MIN

D

621

34.69

24

21

32

20

14

5

Nail Yakupov

19

EDM

RW

521

29.11

11

19

29

35

28

2013 is a little different, seeing as it was the lockout year. But still we will look at where the top-5 played previous pro years or who jumped right into the NHL. Jonathan Huberdeau's first pro season was in the NHL, two years after he was drafted. Brendan Gallagher played his first pro year splitting time in the AHL and NHL, (44gp in NHL, 36 gp in AHL), but with the lockout, it is considered a full season in the NHL. Brandon Saad played 46 NHL games (full lockout season) and 31 AHL games his first pro year. Jonas Brodin played two years in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), then played his full rookie season in 2012-13. Nail Yakupov jumped right to the NHL after he was drafted the previous June. 

*

2014 CALDER TROPHY VOTES

Place

Player

Age

Tm

Pos

Votes

Vote%

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

1

Nathan MacKinnon

18

COL

C

1347

98.32

130

6

1

0

0

2

Ondrej Palat

22

TBL

LW

791

57.74

5

78

29

15

5

3

Tyler Johnson

23

TBL

C

352

25.69

0

13

29

30

26

4

Torey Krug

22

BOS

D

287

20.95

1

9

23

25

24

5

Olli Maatta

19

PIT

D

225

16.42

0

11

18

16

10

Nathan MacKinnon played his drafted year. Ondrej Palat played his first pro season in the AHL and split his second season with 61 AHL games and 14 NHL games. His third pro season was his rookie season. Tyler Johnson played his first pro season in the AHL, his second season split between the AHL (62gp) and NHL (14gp). The reason for the short splits for Palat and Johnson their second pro years is due to the shortened 2012-13 lockout season. Torey Krug spent three years in the NCAA, he left college early to play a full season in the AHL, his second pro year was in the NHL. Olli Maatta played two years in the OHL, his first pro season was in the NHL a year after he was drafted in the first round.

*

2015 CALDER TROPHY VOTES

Place

Player

Age

Tm

Pos

Votes

Vote%

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

1

Aaron Ekblad

18

FLA

D

1147

73.06

71

39

24

12

8

2

Mark Stone

22

OTT

RW

1078

68.66

47

49

46

11

2

3

John Gaudreau

21

CGY

LW

1026

65.35

33

57

48

19

0

4

Filip Forsberg

20

NSH

C

594

37.83

6

9

37

91

13

5

John Klingberg

22

DAL

D

127

8.09

0

2

1

15

63

Aaron Ekblad continues the trend that he won the Calder straight out of his drafted year. Mark Stone played a full season in the AHL, his second pro season was split 37 AHL games to 19 NHL games. Stone's third pro season was his rookie season. Johnny Gaudreau played three years in the NCAA, he left college early to go straight to the NHL. He played his first full season three years after he was drafted. John Klingberg played four seasons in the SHL, his first pro year was in the NHL.

*

2016 CALDER TROPHY VOTES

Place

Player

Age

Tm

Pos

Votes

Vote%

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

1

Artemi Panarin

24

CHI

LW

1258

83.87

88

41

16

3

2

2

Shayne Gostisbehere

22

PHI

D

955

63.67

33

53

42

12

8

3

Connor McDavid

19

EDM

C

858

57.20

25

45

48

15

8

4

Jack Eichel

19

BUF

C

449

29.93

2

9

25

72

25

5

Dylan Larkin

19

DET

C

170

11.33

1

0

8

23

51

Artemi Panarin bucked the trend, moving from the KHL, where he spent four full seasons in the KHL. Panarin was undrafted and older than all the other winner's we have looked at. Shayne Gostisbehere left the NCAA after his third season, his first pro year was riddled with injuries, so his rookie season was, kind of, his first pro year. He only played seven games between AHL and NHL the year before his rookie season. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel played their draft years. Dylan Larkin played one year in NCAA and left to move straight into the NHL his first pro season.

 

***

 

So with all this information and graphs, we can see some trends in what players are more likely to be Calder Trophy candidates. A good chance of a player coming out of his draft to play in the NHL has a good chance, also players who are in their second pro seasons after a year in the AHL. Let's go over a list of young players who could make the top-5 in their rookie seasons and where they are in their pro careers.

STATUS

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

TOTAL

%

Drafted Year

1

2

1

1

1

2

8

27%

AHL -> NHL

4

1

1

2

1

 

9

30%

CHL -> NHL

 

 

2

1

 

 

3

10%

OVERSEAS

 

 

1

 

1

1

3

10%

NCAA Grad

 

2

 

 

 

 

2

7%

NCAA Early Exit

 

 

 

1

2

2

5

17%

 

Draft Year

Auston Matthews (TOR)

Patrik Laine (WPG)

Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM)

Three names that could easily compete for the top NHL rookie all year. All three of these guys are NHL-ready and are going to be involved in the offense of their teams. Matthews could be playing with James van Riemsdyk or Nylander or even Mitch Marner. Laine has the chance to be on the top line of the Jets coming into his first pro year. Laine could play alongside Mark Scheifele or Bryan Little, if he finds early chemistry, lookout! Puljujarvi has the chance to play with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, or even Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, all depends on who he gets comfortable with the quickest.

AHL to NHL jumps

Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ)

Matt Murray (PIT)

William Nylander (TOR)

Mikko Rantanen (COL)

Bjorkstrand has the chance to make the jump from the AHL to NHL and be a star player right away. Murray good supplant Marc-Andre Fleury out of training camp, he has gained a ton of experience after leading the Penguins to the Stanley Cup. Murray has an outside chance of being the rookie of the year as a goaltender, the last goalie to be named the Calder winner, Steve Mason in 2009. Nylander and Rantanen could make an immediate impact with their teams who have struggled to show any offense.

CHL to NHL leaps

Christian Dvorak (ARI)

Dylan Strome (ARI)

Ivan Provorov (PHI)

One of the few defensemen who could make the jump straight into the NHL without any AHL experience, Provorov is NHL-ready. Let's hope he proves it early in the season so the Flyer's keep him around. Dvorak and Strome could give the Coyotes two more rookies this year. Arizona isn't afraid to play their rookies in big roles, see example: Max Domi and Anthony Duclair last year.

NCAA Graduate

Jimmy Vesey (BUF) – UFA

Depending on where Vesey lands in the next few weeks, he could become a legitimate contender for the Calder Trophy. Hopefully his decision is made to go to a team who he can immediately fit into the top-six, if not he may have to be taken off this list.

NCAA Early Departure

Nick Schmaltz (CHI)

Kyle Connor (WPG)

Zach Werenski (CBJ)

A couple of longer shot players, but we have seen early NCAA departure players in the top-5 charts, so Schmaltz, Connor and Werenski have a pretty decent chance to be on that top-5 list at the end of the year. I wouldn't bet on them winning though.

Overseas Stars

Pavel Buchnevich (NYR)

Sebastian Aho (CAR)

Two overseas players could make the jump to North American hockey and make an impact quickly. Aho is only going to be 20 years old, but he has been playing among men in the Liiga 2-3 years now. He shouldn't have any trouble with the bigger bodied NHL players. Buchnevich is 21 years old coming over from the KHL, he has played two seasons scoring over a half point per game. If he can stay consistent he could be a darkhorse player to make the top-5 list at the end of the year.

 

***

 

Hopefully this refreshed your memory of the past six Calder winners and who was voted second through to fifth. I was quite surprised with the amount of guys who had played their previous year in the AHL. 30% of the players in those top-5 charts has AHL experience the previous year. That is the highest percent of players from one to five. 27% of the players were 19 years old in their draft year. So the trend is a newly drafted player wins the Calder, but in the top-5, a player from the AHL is likely on that list as well.

 

Just to complete this entire ramblings. My top-5 Calder nominations favourites, just for fun, is:

Patrik Laine (the trend continues)

Auston Matthews

Oliver Bjorkstrand

Christian Dvorak

Ivan Provorov

***

Feel free to leave comments, questions or concerns below, have fun playing the game of Fantasy Hockey.

Paul Zwambag
@zwambag

 

 

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