25 Worst award snubs in NHL history: 6. Mike Modano Calder Trophy 1990
Mike Modano was one of the biggest stars in the league in the 90s. It helped that he was one of the best American players we’ve had in a very long time. He was the star of a non-traditional hockey market that became a perennial powerhouse and eventual Stanley Cup winner. He was everything a Gary Bettman dream is made of. Before all that, he failed to win the Rookie of the Year despite being very deserving of the award.
Modano was the first-overall pick in the 1989 NHL Draft. The number-one pick won the Calder Trophy surprisingly few times. Modano came close, however. As a 19-year-old, Modano scored 75 points for the Minnesota North Stars. It was a stacked rookie class, but Modano seemed to have a leg up. He beat out Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind’amour, and Mark Recchi in the voting, but he ended up second in the voting with Russian sniper Sergei Makarov winning the Calder.
Listen, Marakov was a very good player in his time, but he was literally 31 years old in 1990. The Kirill Kaprizov debate was huge last season, but he ended up winning the Calder Trophy. However, 31 years old is beyond fair to call a hockey player a rookie. This is the Hideki Matsui of arguments. Modano was a teenager, and he still had just as good of a season.
Modano had more goals than Marakov. He only had 11 fewer points. Modano deserved the award. It’s not like Kaprizov, who was head and shoulders above every other rookie last season. Here, Modano was right on the cusp of Marakov despite being a decade younger.