We're here to hand out some more hardware. Last time we presented Corey Crawford with the award for the biggest goalie breakout. Today we'll be giving some rookie forwards and d-men the credit they so rightly deserve.
Our Calder Trophy is presentened to the biggest breakout rookie of the year. What defines a 'rookie'? We're about as clear as the NHL is here. We're looking for a player with a small number of NHL games coming into this season and who broke out in a big way. If they played a couple more games than what the NHL calls a rookie... well who cares?
And the nominees are....
Jeff Skinner - 63 points in 82 games played
Nobody was expecting him to make the NHL, let alone contribute 63 points... so calling his season a breakout is an understatement. He also picked up decent numbers in PIM's and shots so there wasn't much to complain about for the owners smart enough to snap him off the waiver wire early on.
Logan Couture - 56 points in 79 games played
He played 25 games last year so he didn't really come out of nowhere but most were expecting him to toil away on the third line in SJ. We thought differently, as he was one of our big breakout tabs this past season. His 56 point season is one of our prouder acheivements... our boy Couture did us proud.
Kevin Shattenkirk - 43 points in 72 games played
He didn't make his debut until Nov 4th but made up for lost time with 18 points in a 15 game span in late November/early December. He trailed off a bit but finished strong with 11 points in his last 10 games. He actually played better with the Blues after he was dealt (.65 vs .57 ppg) so lots of hope for another big year next season.
Alex Pietrangelo - 43 points in 79 games played
Another STL d-man makes the cut as Pietrangelo broke out in a big way in his first full season in the show. Many forget he was a 4th overall pick back in 2008 but he played so well this season he made former 1st overall pick Erik Johnson expendable. We're loving A-Pie's game, we just wish he would shoot the puck a bit more.
P.K. Subban - 38 points in 77 games played
Even though Subban didn't 't get a lot of love in ROY talk he definitely deserves to be mentioned for the fantasy Calder. He picked up the fewest points on this list but his 124 PIMs were more than double any of this rookie bretheran. Want more? How about 197 shots? That's the eighth best total in the league from the blueline. Pretty damn impressive.
I'm really struggling with this one. 63 points from a 18-year-old rookie is impressive but I think I would rather have had Subban on my squad. It would have been much harder to find a player like P.K. floating around on the wire than Skinner.
So the FHS Calder goes to...
Tough one and this post doesn't even mention guys like Michael Grabner, Brad Marchand, Tyler Ennis, Cam Fowler, John Carlson and others. A great fantasy year from the rookies.
Like always, feel free to add to the discussion with a comment or at the very least a vote in our poll.