The 2016-17 season is a little over a week away, so today we’ll be sharing our Calder Trophy predictions, with a twist. This time we’re each going to pitch our nomination and let you decide. Last year’s Calder Trophy was won by the Chicago Blackhawks’ Artemi Panarin, edging out fellow rookies Connor McDavid and Shayne Gostisbehere.
If you feel like you don’t get enough Leafs gushing and love from when I talk about them on the podcast then you might want to skip this section and move on to the next pick. Everyone knows that I am going to pick a Toronto Maple Leaf but the question is which one? Does the guy that won the CHL MVP who put up 116 points in 57 games last year also win the NHL rookie MVP ? Or you could go with this guy:
Auston Matthews is insane pic.twitter.com/W5FqTh4sDp
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) September 21, 2016
Finally there is William Nylander who just barely has rookie status still and might be a more sure lock on the Leafs roster at this point of training camp than the other two. I was all ready to jump on the Mitch Marner train and was convinced he was going to be the best of the three this season but it all changed when I saw Auston Mathews play in the World Cup of Hockey. Watching him against NHLers was enough proof for me. This kid is for real and even though any of these three could win the Calder Matthews will be the one the emerges as the top rookie in the NHL this year.
Just in case you thought I only have eyes for the Toronto Maple Leafs (which is probably true) here is a brief look at a non-Leaf. If Dylan Strome can make the Coyotes roster watch out for him near the top of the Calder running. This kid is good and will be around other good young talent on the Coyotes which could see him as the Calder winner.
Winner: Auston Mathews
My pick for the Calder was a quality player in Europe last year, putting up 17G and 16A in 46 games in a league filled with men while many of the other prospects played against players their own age. No, not Auston Matthews. Clocking in at 6’4″, Patrik Laine has the size and skills to smoothly make the transition to the NHL. Laine might not have the razzle dazzle of Matthews but he also won’t have to worry about adjusting to the increased physicality of the big leagues. A perfect example of it happened in the World Cup of Hockey where he laid this hit on Dylan Larkin.
Laine hit on Larkin pic.twitter.com/jJyyjgg39k
— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 19, 2016
Laine will also be surrounded by better players than Matthews or Nylander with the Jets, Dubois with the Bluejackets, or Puljujarvi with the Oilers. The Jets have quality forwards and defensemen for him to be able to feed off of. No prospect this year has the talent of McDavid or (currently) the luck of playing with the likes of Patrick Kane, so don’t expect the same rookie production as last year, but Laine can put up 25 goals and 50 points, bringing home the Calder.
Winner: Patrik Laine
Predicting then next Calder Trophy winner is definitely a bit of a challenge, there are a lot of talented rookies who’ll be vying for the title. Auston Matthews and William Nylander both look like contenders, and as the Leafs continue to rebuild, the two rookies have a good chance of making the playoffs at least once before retirement. I don’t see Mitch Marner winning over Matthews.
Dylan Strome is already an accomplished goal scorer who will quickly become a key part of the Coyotes’ roster. All three are good candidates for the Calder. Mike Matheson is also in with a shout, he may not be favourite but the Florida Panthers’ skaters have lifted two of the last four trophies.
I’m counting out Jimmy Vesey. Sure he looked good at Harvard, but I think the transition to the NHL will be too big a jump to make Vesey a finalist. So who is my prediction?
Like watching Pavel Datsyuk.
Ivan Provorov is my wildcard bet for the Calder Trophy. He’s guaranteed plenty of ice time with the Philadelphia Flyers, and although the team may not be serious contenders for any silverware this season, Provorov has a great chance to quickly grow and develop into a top pair blueliner. The CHL Defenseman of the Year winner scored 21 goals last year and assisted on 52 more with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Flyers fans have something to look forward to with Provorov, who should easily find himself on the team’s starting roster, maybe alongside Shayne Gostisbehere or Michael del Zotto.
Winner: Ivan Provorov
Gwen De Young
I’m going out on a limb here with my Calder Trophy winner by picking Matt Murray. Now I understand he is hurt from the World Cup of Hockey Tournament, which I was against from the start for players get hurt as in this situation, yet, I still think that Murray has a good shot to win the Calder Trophy.
Murray became the main Penguins goaltender through the playoffs after replacing Jeff Zatkoff in game 3 of the first round and there was no looking back. During the playoffs he went 15-6 with a 2.08 goals against and a .923 save percentage. The Penguins went on to the win the Stanley Cup and the young 21-year-old goaltender went on to be only the 6th rookie in National Hockey League to play in the finals.
I don’t fully know the extent to which his thumb injury will hurt him, but I still think with the Pittsburgh Penguins in front of him when he does return I think Murray will put up great numbers for a rookie goaltender. If Murray were to win the Calder this season he would be the first goalie to win since Steve Mason did it all the way back in 2008 and come on the goalies need some love in the Calder Trophy.
Winner: Matt Murray