5
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / USA TODAY Sports

Matthews, Werenski, Laine Nominated for Calder Trophy

Well, this isn’t much of a surprise. Auston Matthews has been nominated for the Calder Trophy, the National Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year, along with 2016 second overall pick Patrik Laine, and Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Zach Werenski.

Matthews had himself an incredible rookie season, better than anybody realistically could have expected, and is more than likely going to win the award. He scored 40 goals and 29 assists, breaking multiple Maple Leafs rookie scoring records, and played a major role in helping the team to the playoffs.

Laine also had a very strong rookie campaign, netting 36 goals and 28 assists, but was clearly wasn’t as strong as Matthews based on even strength production and underlying numbers. Werenski, like Matthews, played a big role on a team who had a surprisingly good season. The puck moving blue liner put up 47 points for the Blue Jackets, good for sixth on team scoring, while logging a shade under 21 minutes of ice time per game.

Many figured William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Nikita Zaitsev could have received Calder votes, but the big three of Matthews, Laine, and Werenski were pretty clearly the league’s best rookies this season. We’ll find out on June 21 at the NHL’s annual awards show in Las Vegas whether or not Matthews will take home the hardware.

      • Harte of a Lion

        Matthews and Laine are both incredibly talented rookies however centre is the most demanding and important position for a team and Matthews has established himself as a bonafide #1 NHL centre. He played hard minutes on both sides of the puck while scoring 40 goals on a line with 2 rookies. Imagine his production if he was being fed the puck by Mark Scheifele? 50 goals +? He also scored the most even strength goals by any player in the league this season, 31, and the most goals by a rookie since Ovechkin. It is possible that over their careers, Laine will score more goals than Matthews however if I were to choose a player to build my team around, it would be Matthews the centre rather than Laine the winger. If Phil Kessel proves one thing to the league, you cannot build a team around a superstar winger. It’s a good thing the Jets have their own superstar centre in Mark Scheifele.
        Go Leafs!

  • lukewarmwater

    Let us not forget that Nylander was the rookie of the month twice and was dominant after the all-star game. However by just having one leaf in the final means that Matthews will likely win which he deserves.
    During the season being a typical arm chair coach I wondered why Matthews didn’t get more power play time as he often came out with the second unit. During some of those close games I would have liked to have seen the twin towers of J.V.R. and Matthews around the net late in the game. Yes I get it regarding the four line situation. But have you noticed how Matthews now in the playoffs is getting more power play time.
    As Harte astutely states Matthews would have had quite likely 5 or 6 more goals with an experienced winger or if he had more power play time. Which means he likely would have won the Rocket Richard award which is indeed mind blowing for a rookie. Congratulations Auston.
    I guess this is the best spot to pontificate on tonights game as it is only about 4 and a half hours till the puck is dropped. My heart says the leafs win, my gut says Holtby who has taken over from Price as the best goalie in the game will out dual Andersen who has had a fine season for the leafs.
    Home crowd enthusiasm and the fact that L.A. and Chicago have been knocked out, leads me to think that the little man Bettman would love one more Ovie versus Syd series. Keep an eye on any controversial calls tonight and see what way they go.
    To me the Capitals are the Toronto Raptors of the playoffs but I think that experience in the nets and the physical pounding is beginning to take it’s toll on the rookie laden leaf roster, especially Rielly in game four who was pounded upon with no call from the refs. The Caps might get by in this series but they once again proven they will unlikely represent the East in the Stanley cup final. As I say my heart hopes for a 3 to 2 lead for the buds coming home. Go leafs Go. Btw. with the rapid increase in interest in the leafs there are new blogs developing with up to the date material after the game, hours before the game etc. Competition is always a good thing.