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Calder Considerations Not Named Matthews or Laine

With the Calder trophy coming down to a two-man race between Patrick Laine and Austin Matthews it’s easy to forget about some of the other Rookies in the NHL this year that could have had a chance at winning the ROY. Without Liane and Matthews, the Calder race could have been just as exciting if not more so, only with more players involved. So here is a look at the other rookies who are having Calder worthy seasons.

Matthew Tkachuk

[the_ad id=”534″]Matthew plays the game much like his dad, Keith Tkachuk did in the nineties, in your face and rough. Tkachuk has amassed 105 penalty minutes and isn’t afraid to mix it up while also, making great offensive plays and helping spark Calgary’s offense this year. In 71 games Matt has scored 13 goals and 46 points with a plus 12 rating and 65 hits. Some may see that as average but the kid is only nineteen and had a bit of a slow start to his season while he adjusted.  He leads all rookies in PIM and is fourth in assists. Odds are he wouldn’t have won even without the dynamic duo but he is putting up a very impressive rookie campaign.

Zack Werenski

Werenski is another 19 years old having a huge rookie season, and should probably get some votes when the time comes to vote on who should win the Calder. Zack is 6’2 218 lbs, he scored 11 goals, 47 points with 183 shots, 85 blocks and a plus 20 rating, which not only makes him the top rookie defensemen but also one of the top Dmen in the league. His 47 points put him fifth in rookie scoring and tenth in overall scoring for defensemen. In his first year in the NHL, he already has established himself as a solid quarterback on the power play, and defender in his own end, and he averages almost twenty minutes a game which is a big reason why Columbus is having such a successful season.

Sebastian Aho

If it wasn’t for Laine or Matthews Aho would lead all rookies in goal scoring this year with 23 goals, he is tied with Werenski for fifth in rookie scoring with 47 points and is second in shots with 197. There is no doubt that his play is a big reason why Carolina is pushing for a playoff spot and has gone 7-0-3 in its last ten games. Sabastian is another nineteen year old who was drafted in the second round 35th overall in 2015. Although like Tkachuk probably would have been a long shot to win even without the two superstars, he still may surprise a few people and steal some votes.

Mitch Marner

[the_ad id=”693″]What can be said about Mitch Marner? Well, he is one of maybe two rookies that may have a slim chance of winning the ROY this year. The twenty-year-old has 17 goals 58 points, which ties him with teammate William Nylander ( I’ll get to him later) for third in rookie scoring. The big thing about Marner is his natural leadership and puck sense at both ends of the ice, he is a great set up man and can play well in every zone. When it comes to looking at Marner it’s not just the goals and points you need to look at but also his play and maturity in the game. Mitch is another piece in the Toronto puzzle that has put this franchise back on the map and tentatively in the playoffs. His play on and off the puck is very impressive and for a guy to have 58 points while predominantly as a winger (he is naturally a center) on the 2nd and 3rd line makes his scoring abilities even more impressive.

William Nylander

William is current rookie of the month, who averaged a point per game in March to win the honor and also set a franchise record for the Leafs by scoring a point in 12 straight games. Nylander like Tkachuk is the son of a former NHL star (Micheal Nylander) and is the third player in the Toronto trifecta (with Mathews and Marner) that has helped ignite this team in a rebuild, to become the playoff hopefuls they are now. Nylander is currently tied with Marner for third in scoring with 58 points which are only five points back of the lead, and his 21 goals sit fourth behind Aho, and lately he has been a nice compliment to Austin playing wing on the top line. Although Nylander had some struggles earlier on, he has found his groove and hasn’t looked back. Look to see him get some Calder votes and maybe battle for that coveted third spot.

Matt Murray

Last but not least on this list of “I wish laine and Matthews didn’t play this year”‘ rookies is Pittsburgh stalwart, Matt Murray. After supplanting himself as the number one goalie and helping lead Pittsburgh to win the Stanley Cup, Murray seems to be destined to become another star player on the Penguins roster.  It will be hard to compare him to other rookie goalies simply due to the fact, that there are no other rookie goalies in a starting position or even close to having played some games that Murray has played. He has won 29 of his 46 games and sits tied for fifth in save percentage at .922 to along with four shutouts and a 2.41 GAA. If anyone on this list could pull off a miracle and steal the Calder from the dynamic duo it will be Matt Murray.

The 2016-17 NHL season had a deeper crop of great rookie talent, which was overshadowed in some cases by the fan and media made the rivalry between superstars Austin Mathews and Patrick Laine. It’s quite obvious that one of these two superstars will win the Calder this year, I’m betting that they share the award, but my gut tells me Matthews wins because of the fact he plays in the hockey hub of Toronto and Laine doesn’t get the same exposed in Winnipeg. However just think of the exciting Calder race it could have been without them two!

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