25 Worst award snubs in NHL history: 13. Wayne Gretzky Calder Trophy 1980
This one will have a lot of people scratching their heads. How did Wayne Gretzky not get the Calder Trophy? There is no way that another rookie was better than Gretzky, right? Well, Gretzky was technically the best rookie, but he wasn’t eligible for the Calder Trophy because of a technicality.
Gretzky had 137 points in 1980, his first season in the NHL. Yet, Ray Bourque was named the winner of the award (not a bad replacement, to be honest). Since Gretzky played for one year in the World Hockey Association, he was considered a professional player not eligible as a rookie.
He was eligible for the Hart Trophy. Wayne Gretzky won the league MVP in his first year in the NHL. It was clear he was something special right off the bat. He just always seemed like he had an advantage over the rest of the league at all times. Of course, he joined a stacked Edmonton Oilers team, but it helped he is the greatest player in the history of the league.
So the league MVP was a first-year player, but he didn’t win the Rookie of the Year. What a strange turn of events. Rookies have only rarely won the MVP in any sports. Ichiro Suzuki did it in baseball. Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld did it in the NBA. Jim Brown did it in the NFL. We were robbed of it happening in the NHL. There has been no player to win the Calder and Hart Trophies in the same year, and it was a robbery.