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.
— NHL (@NHL) April 20, 2017
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.