Calder Trophy Race: Year of the Rookies


With both Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid stepping into the NHL this season, hockey fans new they were in for an intense and interesting battle for the Calder Trophy. However, the Calder Trophy race has heated up beyond just the top two picks from the 2015 draft, as many different rookies are turning heads around the league.

Entering into the season McDavid was arguably the odds in favorite to win the Calder. After a slow start he found his stride with 5 goals and 12 points in just 13 games. However, after a freak injury, the door is wide open.

Max Domi

One of the biggest head turners this season is the son of Tie Domi, Max. Unlike his father, Max, has an uncanny ability to score goals and produce. He’s been one of the Coyotes best players and has 8 goals and 16 points in 18 games. Domi doesn’t shy away from puck battles and is making his team better every night.

With a lack of expectations for the Coyotes, Domi has been given every opportunity to succeed with top minutes on the powerplay.

Oscar Lindberg 

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Sitting in 3rd place with 12 points in the rookie scoring race is New York Rangers 24 year-old, Oscar Lindberg. After cracking the roster this season, Lindberg fins himself 2nd in scoring on the Rangers and tied for 3rd with points. The kid has been dominate and has helped pick up scoring slack for the Rangers.

Artemi Panarin

While Max Domi is turning heads in the East, the Chicago Blackhawks have found themselves a gem of a rookie who is dominating the West. Panarin is leading the rookie scoring race with 6 goals and 18 points. He sits second in scoring on the Blackhawks roster behind only Patrick Kane who has been insane.

After playing mainly in the KHL for the last seven seasons, Panarin is showing the Blackhawks that his two-year deal this off season was the right one for a team losing a bunch of fire power. The Russian Patrick Kane is a rookie turning heads and while he might not be the odds on favorite for the Calder, people should be paying attention.

Jack Eichel

Despite a slow start on the scoreboard with just 4 points in 12 games, Eichel has been a major force on the ice for the Sabres. He ranks 9th in shots taken and has scored some dazzling goals with the Sabres. He’s been working hard and now has 5 points in his last 3 games.

His point production isn’t where people expected, but if you’ve watched him play in blue and gold you can immediately see the impact he’s had on the roster and the renewed offensive talent.

Dylan Larkin

After hurting his knee and ending his hopes at cracking the Red Wings roster last season, Dylan Larkin is back in a big way. He leads all rookies with a +/- rating of 12 and has 12 points in 18 games. He’s torn it up both in the NCAA and the AHL and should continue his scoring habit in the NHL when surrounded with the right talent.

Mike Condon 

Oct 30, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon (39) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Canadiens won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When Carey Price went down with injury, Habs fans collectively held their breaths. Price had been the backbone of the Canadiens and was a major reason the team found themselves in first place. However, they haven’t had to sweat much without Price as Mike Condon has shown he might be a solid starter in the NHL one day.

Stepping between the pipes Condon has posted a 7-1-2 record with a rookie leading 2.14 goals against average and .918 save percentage. He’s faltered over the last couple of games, but Condon has held down the fort well for the Price-less Habs.