Why Connor McDavid Should Win Rookie of the Year

Connor McDavid:  2016 NHL Rookie of the Year?

The NHL awards are slated to take place in Las Vegas this Wednesday, June 22, 2016.  One of the interesting debates with hockey fans is who should win the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.  The three finalists for the award are:

  1. Artemi Panarin forward from the Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Connor McDavid center for the Edmonton Oilers
  3. Shayne Gostisbehere defensemen for the Philadelphia Flyers

Connor McDavid, 19, was fourth among rookies with 48 points despite playing 45 games because of injury; he missed three months with a fractured left clavicle sustained Nov. 3. His 1.07 points-per-game average was third among all players to skate in at least 40 games behind only Patrick Kane and Jamie Benn. The first pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid, had 12 multipoint games, including a five-point game (two goals, three assists) Feb. 11 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. At age 19 years, 29 days at the time of the game, he was the ninth-youngest player ever with a five-point game.  He was named rookie of the month in the three full months that he played.

No Oilers player has won the Calder; he’s their first finalist since center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2012.

Connor McDavid Rookie Season

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association voted on the award, which will be presented during the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 22.

7 Reasons Why Connor McDavid Should Win the Calder Trophy

Here are seven reasons as to why Connor McDavid should win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year for 2016.

  1. He is a dominant player – even to my surprise Connor McDavid lived up to the hype.  As a rookie there were nights where he dominated the ice and made some amazing plays that you would just not expect from an 18 year old kid. He had various line-mates throughout the year and was able to post more than a point per game average.
  2. The NHL & Media Needs to Show Edmonton some Love Respect– the Oilers have been the whipping boys of the League for the better part of a decade.  The Oilers have not received (perhaps nor have they deserved) a lot of respect in recent years.  Connor McDavid gives the Oilers credibility. However expect Oilers fans to continue to take it on the chin.  Does anyone else think that it is a crying shame that with all of the hall of famers and great players have had, that they have never had a Calder trophy winner?  The Oilers deserve more respect.  You cannot tell me that had Connor played in 20 or more games than what he did that he would not have dominated the rookie scoring lead?  There are too many examples to list that illustrate that the Oilers do not get much respect around the League.  Here is one to chew on from a few years back:  In 2013, Taylor Hall has an exceptional year and should be named to the NHL’s all-star team, but nope Alexander Ovechkin became the only player in history to be named to both all-star teams in the same season (as a left and right winger respectively) because of a voting error.  Seriously????  For the record, Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers was third in the voting among left-wingers.
  3. It’s time for the Media and award voters to stop ignoring the West – even with the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the Stanley Cup, there are some great things happening in the Western Conference.  See: return to glory of Chicago Blackhawks, strong performance of California based teams, and the play of Brent Burns, Connor McDavid, Jamie Benn just to name a few.
  4. Connor McDavid simply deserves to win the Calder – the kid had a ton of pressure on him coming into his rookie season.  He played with a young team that didn’t win a lot of games, a team stuck in a perpetual rebuild, a team with no NHL superstars save maybe Taylor Hall and potentially Ryan Nugent Hopkins.  Had McDavid not been double-teamed and ran into the boards during a November game against the Philadelphia Flyers, he could have pushed to be the leading scorer in the entire League.
  5. Artemi Panarin is technically not as rookie – he played a couple of professional seasons over in the KHL in Russia.  The argument is simple:  If Gretzky was ineligible to win the Calder for having played in the WHA, why should Panarin be eligible after playing in the KHL?
  6. Canadian based teams could use some support – no Canadian teams in the playoffs.  Not once did we hear the Canadian national anthem in the playoffs.  That is just not right.  You want to market the game?  The NHL has accomodated parity and sun-belt teams for a little too long.  Let’s see some Canadian teams (or players from Canadian teams) win something, whether it is a Stanley Cup, Hart trophy or Calder trophy.
  7. Connor McDavid will dominate the NHL – barring serious injury, there is no reason to think that Connor McDavid will not dominate the NHL for years to come.  If so isn’t it just a little embarrassing to the NHL and award voters the at McDavid a Calder finalist was unable to win the rookie of the year?  Connor will win NHL awards, of that there is no doubt.  He should be a serious candidate to win the rookie of the year.  In my opinion and with all due respect to the other finalists, in 20 years from now, who will be more remembered for their rookie seasons?  Most likely McDavid.

Gostisbehere, 23, scored 17 goals, the most by a rookie defenseman since Dion Phaneuf had 20 in 2005-06. He led rookie defensemen this season in goals, assists (29), points (46), power-play goals (eight) and power-play points (22) in 64 games. He also scored four overtime goals, setting a League rookie record and tying for the most ever in a season by a defenseman. Gostisbehere also had a 15-game point streak, a League record for a rookie defenseman and a Flyers record for rookies.

No Flyers player has won the Calder; he’s their first finalist since forward Mikael Renberg in 1994.

Artemi Panarin, 24, signed with the Blackhawks on May 1, 2015 after seven seasons in Russia, and led rookies and was tied for ninth in the League with 77 points. He also led rookies in goals (30), assists (47), power-play points (24) and game-winning goals (seven). He became the fourth Blackhawks rookie with 30 goals and first since Eric Daze in 1995-96. He also had a hat trick Feb. 17 against the New York Rangers, the first Blackhawks rookie with one since Tyler Arnason during the 2002-03 season.

He is looking to become the Blackhawks’ first Calder Trophy winner since Patrick Kane in 2008.

The NHL Awards take place on Wednesday, June 22.