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|Written by Russ Miller|
|Thursday, 13 May 2010 11:09|
With the announcement of the three finalists for the NHL Rookie of the Year, some (well yours truly at least) thought there may have been one deserving candidate left off the ballot. Certainly Tyler Myers, Matt Duchene and Jimmy Howard are all worthy candidates, but there is one player whom a strong case could be made for.
Should we compare Jimmy Howard to Tuukka Rask? Of course we should! Had Rask started as many games as Howard did, he would have recorded 34 wins. Rask led the entire NHL in goals-against-average and save percentage, no easy feat on a 14th place team overall.
No doubt that Howard was the go to guy on the Red Wings with Chris Osgood turning in consistently horrendous performances. One argument is that Detroit really turned it around when Johan Franzen came back from knee surgery in early February. Howard's record before Franzen returned was 20-13-6 and 17-3-4 after. Detroit began playing like the Red Wings of old and it may not have mattered who was in net when this happened.
Both Rask and Howard outperformed their (much) more experienced crease colleagues. The two rookies posted significantly better numbers than last season's Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas and three time Stanley Cup winner Chris Osgood:
Detroit finished seventh overall in NHL standings and boasted a defence that consisted of six time Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom (four Stanley Cups, one Conn Smythe, 12 All-Star games), Brian Rafalski (three Stanley Cups, two Olympic Silvers, three NHL All-Star appearances), Niklas Kronwall (one Stanley Cup, one Olympic Gold) and Brad Stuart (one Stanley Cup).
Boston was 14th overall in NHL standings. Their defence includes Zdeno Chara (one Norris, six All-Star appearances), Dennis Wideman, Matt Hunwick and Johnny Boychuk. Not exactly a Hall-of-Fame collection.
One argument against Rask was that he didn't play enough games. Taking a look back at previous Calder winning goaltenders, two stand out who played a similar number of games:
Tom Barrasso was a rarity in the NHL, an 18-year-old rookie goaltender. It was very unlikely that any player at the tender age of 18 would play in the NHL, let alone a goaltender. He was lucky to play for a team that finished fourth overall in the league. That certainly helped his Calder aspirations.
Other worthy rookie candidates from that year included Steve Yzerman who recorded 39 goals and 87 points in 80 games, Calgary's Hakan Loob, who scored 30 goals and 55 points in 77 games and Hartford's Sylvain Turgeon, who logged 40 goals and 72 points in 76 games in his first NHL season.
Martin Brodeur's Devils were a second place team in the league the year he broke in as a rookie. Other worthy Calder considerations were the Flyers Mikael Renberg who recorded 38 goals and 82 points in 83 games (pre-Legion of Doom), Edmonton's Jason Arnott who had 68 points in 78 games and Hartford's Chris Pronger who logged a ton of ice time and had a 30 point, 113 penalty minute rookie season.
Here are the 2010 Calder candidate’s numbers:
My money is on Tyler Myers to bring home the bacon. The bottom line is that it would be pretty hard to exclude any of the three finalists to include Rask. It’s difficult to ignore Howard’s 37 wins and it’s not like his corollary numbers are bad. The depth of the rookie class since the lockout has been outstanding.
I thought the Flyers were done like dinner and now they have fought back to force a game seven showdown tomorrow. This has been one of my favourite second round series to watch, it’s been fast-paced and hard-hitting. Both teams have had to deal with their share of injuries and players making comebacks. We should be in for a dandy on Friday.
It should come as no surprise that Mike Richards leads the Flyers with 16 playoff points. Chris Pronger is doing what was anticipated when he was acquired, playing strong defense and has 11 points in 11 games.
Super sophomore Claude Giroux has ten points and Matt Carle surprisingly has recorded seven points in 11 contests this playoff season. Ville Leino has five points in seven games in limited ice time. He played just over 11 minutes in last night’s game.
Daniel Briere has been a human highlight reel in these playoffs. Unfortunately that cuts both ways. He's the second leading point scorer for Philadelphia this post season with 13 points, but has taken some untimely penalties in four of the six games.
Dennis Wideman went from 50 points last season to 30 points this year in regular season scoring. Last year Wideman had seven points in 11 playoff games. This year, he has 11 points in 12 playoff contests. Just something to keep in mind for next year’s playoffs!
I thought Miroslav Satan only signed on with the Bruins to get ready for the Olympics. Apparently I was wrong; the evil one has ten points in 12 post-season games.
Ancient winger Mark Recchi has nine points in 12 playoff games. Judging by his post season play, Recchi is not yet ready for pasture and apparently the 42-year-old wants to play again next season.
|Last Updated on Friday, 14 May 2010 11:28|