Friday, June 30, 2017

Maple Leafs Calder Trophy Domination

As expected, Auston Matthews easily was voted the 2016/17 Calder Trophy winner as Rookie of the Year with 99.46% of the vote (how a supposedly "informed" voter could leave a 40-goal scoring rookie off their ballot is beyond me). What was additionally gratifying for Leaf fans is that Mitch Marner and William Nylander finished 5th and 6th place in the Calder voting. This is the first time in the post-expansion era that a team has placed 3 rookies in the top 6 of Calder voting.

There have many occasions that a team has had two players even in the top three of voting, but never three players in the top six in the modern era. As recently as 2013/14, Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson placed 2nd and 3rd and in back to back years 2007 and 2008 Pittsburgh and Chicago placed two players in the top three. Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal were 1st and 3rd in '07 and the next year Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were also 1st and 3rd.

In 2001/02 the Atlanta Thrashers Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk were top two in Calder voting, something that hadn't happened since 1975/76 when the Islanders Bryan Trottier and Chico Resch did it. Other instances of two players in the top three were; 98/99 Colorado's Chris Drury 1st and Milan Hejduk 3rd, 1988/89 Rangers Brian Leech 1st and Tony Granato 3rd, 1986/87 LA Kings Luc Robitaille 1st and Jimmy Carson 3rd.
1984/85 had an interesting Calder vote as two teams had two players each in the top four. Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux won the Calder while teammate Warren Young was 4th and Montreal's Chris Chelios and Steve Penney were 2nd and 3rd. In addition, the Canadiens also had Mike McPhee in 10th place and Tom Kurvers in 11th. Four in the top-11, not bad.

We have to go back to the original-six era to have a team with three rookies in the top six, in fact in 1963/64 the Canadiens placed 1,2,3 in Calder voting with Jacques Laperriere, John Ferguson and Terry Harper.  In 61/62 there was another example of three in the top six when Boston's Cliff Pennington, Pat Stapleton and Wayne Connelly were 2nd, 3rd, 4th. The fourth time this happened was in 1960/61 when Detroit's Howie Glover, Gerry Odrowski and Allan Johnson  were 3rd, 4th 5th.
As a Maple Leaf fan, I hope the rookie success of this season follows the lead of those early 60's Canadiens and not so much that of Boston or Detroit.








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