Blackhawks: Does Dominik Kubalik Have A Real Shot At The Calder?
By Justin Klawans
Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik is a finalist for the Calder Trophy this year. Does he have a real shot at winning?
The Chicago Blackhawks seemed to find a hidden gem this year in Dominik Kubalik. The winger came seemingly out of nowhere to take the league by surprise, and as a result of a year of great production, was nominated for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s rookie of the year.
Joining Kubalik in the finalist’s circle are two more flashy players, Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche and Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks. All three of these players had great seasons, and no matter who wins, they’ve likely cemented their spot as top-line players.
So, is Kubalik going to win? The short answer is no, probably not. Now, this isn’t to say that the 25-year-old, who is entering restricted free agency this offseason, didn’t have a good season, because he did. He just didn’t have as good of a season as the other guys.
Kubalik led the NHL rookie pack this year in goals, lighting the lamp 30 times. He also put up 16 assists for a total of 46 points, not a shabby rookie season by any campaign. He has great puck movement and a nice shot, and put up a notable five-point game in the playoffs:
Those are great numbers for a rookie season, and hopefully, the Blackhawks will be able to tender a qualifying offer to keep Kubalik in the Windy City, as he’s turned into a great asset. Despite this, there is still not a huge chance for him to be named rookie of the year given the seasons that Makar and Hughes had.
Cale Makar, a lanky 21-year-old defenseman, showed a ton of offensive prowess for a D-man. He scored 12 goals and 28 assists for a 50 point season. Per the NHL records, only seventeen defensemen have scored 50 plus points in a season. Makar is primed to have a great career with Colorado.
Meanwhile, defenseman Quinn Hughes, 20, also had a very impressive season, actually scoring more points than Makar due to an impressive stat of 45 assists. He only had 8 goals, but this was still good enough for 53 points. The young Vancouver D-man should be able to bolster the Canucks’ back end for years to come.
Both of these defensemen had very impressive offensive totals, especially given their young age and the fact that they were in their first year of NHL play. I would like to think that Kubalik has a chance to nab the Calder, but I just don’t see that happening after the seasons that Hughes and Makar had.
I’d bet on Makar to win due to his offensive goal totals, with Hughes coming in second and Kubalik sadly last. Normally, the winner would be announced at the NHL Awards after the playoffs, which has been postponed this year. Dominik Kubalik had a great season and has become a shining star for the Hawks, but in my opinion, fell just below the mark.