Unlike an article a few days ago on Blackhawk Up, I believe Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik should at least be in the conversation for the Calder Trophy.
Two days ago, one of our contributors, Seth Stauffer, wrote an article detailing why Dominik Kubalik shouldn’t win the Calder Trophy. I am here today to explain why the Chicago Blackhawks‘ rookie deserves the trophy.
Dominik Kubalik has had an amazing season, scoring 30 goals in 68 games, leading all other rookies. All together, Kubalik has 46 points, with his 16 assists on the season. The one thing that would have helped Kubalik be a top favorite for the Calder Trophy is if he could have added more assists.
Either way, I still believe Kubalik deserves a shot for the trophy. The favorite to win the award has to still be Quinn Hughes. Hughes has had a fantastic season eight goals with 45 assists, which adds up to 53 points. That’s seven more points than Kubalik, with his Canaucks being placed higher in the standings as well.
Cale Makar will most likely be the runner up. Makar has 12 goals and 38 assists for 50 points this season. He’s played outstanding, along with Hughes, proving that both defensemen can also be a force on offense.
Kubalik comes in as a +5000 chance of winning the award according to sports betting dime. They’ve been consistent this season keeping track of the top rookies. This website has Makar as the (-130) favorite and Hughes as the runner up (+100).
Of the three rookies, Kubalik has added the most to his respective team. Kubalik has helped establish a scoring presence while on the ice with Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach. Both Toews and Dach have played better when Kubalik is on the ice with them.
Another benefit of Kubalik according to James Mirtle is the “weak team” he plays on. The success Kubalik has had with such a weak team speaks volumes to the player he can become in the future. Kubalik has been a top reason why the Blackhawks have gone on a few of those big win streaks since the start of 2020. The people who neglect to give him credit obviously haven’t watched him play.
Finally, I’m sick of hearing the “he’s too old” or the “he’s played pro-hockey somewhere else” complaint. Just like Artemi Panarin in 2016, Kubalik is technically an NHL rookie.
With that argument of playing pro-hockey somewhere else, Quinn Hughes should be taken out of the discussion with that poor logic, as he played in five games with the Canucks last season. I know the rule is nine or more games in one season counts as a player’s rookie season, but the NHL is the premier hockey league.
Honestly, Kubalik has been a top player for the Blackhawks this season and I’m stoked to see what he will do in the future. As a free agent this offseason, I’m hoping for the team to get him signed at a fair price for the future. I’m not an agent or a general manager, so I won’t speculate on what’s a fair deal and what isn’t.
Just know, he deserves to be in the running with Hughes and Makar.