Blackhawks for the Calder Memorial Trophy: Rookie of the Year
Another award for which the front-runner is clear now, but may have been a bit more fuzzy had a certain No. 1 overall pick not been injured. Chicago’s Artemi Panarin is the leader in this race with only a handful of games left, but it’s not wrapped up yet in many people’s eyes.
- Front-runner: Artemi Panarin
- Contenders: Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin
- In the mix: Shayne Gostisbehere, John Gibson, Max Domi
While Panarin leads all rookies in scoring with 62 points (13 ahead of Buffalo’s Eichel), leads rookies in goals with 25 (Eichel is again second with 22), and is a top-three rookie in points per game (0.89), powerplay points (18) and ice time per game for forwards (18:33), people still are saying McDavid has a shot at being the anointed winner of the Calder Trophy. What is working in McDavid’s favor is the fact that in 37 games he has tallied 39 points, all the while playing for the bottom-feeding Edmonton Oilers. Yes, McDavid has been the only bright spot for Edmonton and, had he not missed a major chunk of the season with injury, probably would be the leader for the Calder. But take into consideration where Edmonton is now, and where they would’ve been going anyways with a healthy McDavid. More than likely, right where they are.
If Panarin was not with the Blackhawks this season, or had missed the same amount of time with a fictional injury, the Blackhawks’ offense and, more importantly Kane, would have slowed down dramatically. Without Panarin playing at the level he has all season, the Blackhawks are not in the position they are today and are not looked at as Stanley Cup contenders.
What more impact could a rookie have?