Young, Exciting, and for some certain Fasided writers from Cardiac Cane who will remain nameless, dreamy! That sums up the nominees for the Calder Memorial Trophy. The award is “given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League”-NHL.com
There were a large number of legitimate candidates for this award this year, includong some who were left off the ballot like Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, PK Subban, Cam Fowler, Derek Stepan, Tyler Ennis and Kevin Shattenkirk. But in the end, the Professional Hockey Writers Association came up with a very deserving list of three finalists.
The nominees are:
Logan Couture, SAN JOSE SHARKS – The former Ottawa 67’s captain had a very impactful first full season. He was barely eligible having played the maximum number of games last season and still be able to keep his rookie status. His full-time addition to the Sharks gave them increased depth and allowed their top-6 to become one of the deepest units in the league. His 32 goals and 24 assists were impressive, as was his +18 rating, which shows how the 22 year old has matured since being drafted 9th overall in 2007.
Michael Grabner, NEW YORK ISLANDERS – The first round pick of Vancouver (14th overall) back in 2006, he spent almost 3 full seasons toiling in the minors for AHL Manitoba, seeing 20 games of action with Vancouver last season. In a tumultuous 2010 off season, was traded to Florida along with Steve Bernier and the 25th overall pick last summer for Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich. Just before the season started, however, Grabner was claimed by the New York Islanders off waivers. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for him as he ended up leading all rookies, and also his team with 34 goals. He was the fastest skater at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
Jeff Skinner, CAROLINA HURRICANES – The 18-year old (now 19) was one of 6 players drafted last year to see time in the NHL this past season. He led all rookies with 63 points, and was selected as an injury replacement to play in the actual All-Star game in his home rink in Raleigh. He was 2nd in rookie goals and assists.
Jeff Skinner of the Canes made a huge impact as an 18-year old. A very difficult thing to do. This was a unanimous selection by SenShot writers, getting all three first place votes. If the playoffs were taken into account, the award might have went to Couture after his performance, but that is not how it goes. Skinner was consistent throughout the season, and is still learning the game at both ends of the ice. Skinner has a bright future in Carolina and will be a big part of the Canes getting back to the playoffs this season.
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