It’s the halfway point in the season and we’re creating a hypothetical mid-season Calder Trophy here at DailyFaceoff.com. We’ve created the shortlist of nominees who could all be judged to be the most proficient in his first year of competition. Normally, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association chooses who wins but we’d like you to choose! The poll can be found at the end. We’re going to run through mid-season versions of all of the prominent NHL trophies and awards so stay tuned!
John Tavares (16 goals, 13 assists, -7)
Tavares has lived up to the hype, and are making the people who suggested the Islanders selected Victor Hedman look crazy. He is leading all rookies with 29 points, and the minus rating can be overlooked because the Islanders are a shaky defensive team. Only 2 other forwards on the team have more than 22 points, so he has almost single-handedly pulled the Islanders out of the basement in the East.
Jimmy Howard (16-9-2, 2.14 GAA, .928 SV%, 1 SO)
It has appeared the Howard has wrestled the staring job away from Chris Osgood in Detroit, although his strong play has not moved Detroit into a playoff position as of yet. He is a bit of a late bloomer at 25 years of age, and would be the oldest player to win the trophy since Evgeni Nabokov in 2000-01. It will be interesting to see if the Wings try to go back to Osgood down the stretch, or if Howard is there go to guy for the rest of the season and beyond.
Niclas Bergfors (13 goals, 14 assists, -3)
After four years of seasoning in the AHL, Bergfors finally played his way on to the big club, and has been rewarded with significant playing time on the first line with Parise and Zajac. He is ranked 3rd in rookie scoring with 27 points, and a 55 point campaign should be in the cards.
Tyler Myers (6 goals, 20 assists, +9)
The 2008 first round pick jumped straight from the WHL to the NHL, and has rewarded the Sabres with 26 points in 44 games, as well as a +9 rating. He is playing over 23 minutes per game, leading the team, and I am assuming is on his way to becoming the best player born in Texas to ever play in the NHL.
Matt Duchene (13 goals, 16 assists, -10)
Like Tavares, Duchene made the leap right to the NHL and has been a big part of the Avs resurgence. He has anchored the second line behind Paul Stastny, and has played almost 17 minutes per game, 5th among Avalanche forwards.