Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Calder race, one day later

No doubt Dion Phaneuf impressed a lot of people last night. With only two other games on the schedule, the GWG and 2A is an attention grabber, and it's probably correct to say that he's now performed himself into everybody's Rookie of the Year discussions.

Chatter on the radio post-game last night supposed how he could actually win the Calder, the conclusion being essentially enough GMs in the league saying, "yeah, Crosby's great, but I'd still rather have the kid in Calgary".

I guess that could happen, but I'm pretty skeptical. Crosby's on pace for over 100 points, and Ovechkin's on pace for over 50 goals (no one since Selanne in 92/93 has done either, as far as I can recall). Even if Phaneuf finishes with 20G and 60 points, which would be spectacular, I don't think the numbers will be good enough to overcome Crosby and/or Ovechkin (or say, Lundqvist with 30-some wins and a 2.00 GAA for a 1st-place Rangers team).

Barret Jackman won the Calder as an all-around defenseman in 2003, but the numbers put up by his competition were anemic--Crosby and Ovechkin will have surpassed them by the Olympic break. Here's a detailed look at the Calder race in 2003 (written by the publisher of ZetterbergFan.com - no points for guessing who he thought deserved the trophy).

Plus, Jackman played with Chopper since Pronger missed almost the entire season, and that defense pair was key to a 99-point Blues season. With the way the Calgary defense is looking right now, Phaneuf is not going to get that kind of top billing or ice time (talk about rolling your lines - ice time on D in Calgary's win last night ranged from a high of 21:21 (Regehr) to a low of 17:56 (Ference)).

Since it's hard to imagine both Crosby and Ovechkin slumping to such a degree that their final numbers are rather pedestrian (say, 30G and 75pts), I'd say the only way Phaneuf wins the Calder is if he keeps doing what he's doing (no guarantee over 82 games), and one or both of the other guys is out for 12+ games with an injury.

All that said--I'd rather have the kid in Calgary.


While not a Flames fan at all, I agree that this definitely isn't a good year to be a rookie not named Ovechkin or Crosby. However, I think Phaneuf not winning the Calder this year will be balanced in the near future by a Norris trophy, and I predict he will win a Norris before either Crosby or Ovechkin win a Hart or Maurice Richard Trophy.

there's also the playoff factor, i'm sure when the awards come down, and Phaneuf finishes in third or fourth, his answer to the obvious question will be "I'm not disapointed in not winning the Calder, at least my team got to play in the playoffs."

That's an interesting Zetterberg article- I especially liked his assists criteria- Nash and Zetterberg, both forwards, both get +1 for having 20-ish assists. Jackman gets -1 for having 16.

Honestly, right now, Phaneuf would be second on my list of Calder candidates, like so:
1) Ovechkin
2) Phaneuf
3) Labarbera
4) Lundqvist
5) Crosby
6) Richards
7) Steen

It's one hell of a rookie class, that's for sure, even when you consider that it's a "double cohort." Jonathan W's list is pretty credible--but it didn't have room for this Vorobiev kid in Chicago, Svatos in Denver, or Mike Richards, who is like the Flyers' #2 centre. The Sens' Andrej Meszaros is already plus-14 (!!!) and isn't getting a sniff. Labarbera and Lundqvist have a bunch of rookie netminders breathing down their neck--Nolan Schaefer and Cam Ward are a combined 10-2-1, and this Ray Emery guy in Ottawa now has 6 wins in his first 6 NHL games.

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