The NHL has announced the three finalists for the Calder Trophy, rookie of the year, today.
|2008 - Steve Mason||61||3664||33||20||7||7||140||2.29||1658||1518||.916||10|
Steve Mason is one of the major reasons that the Blue Jackets are a playoff team this season. Many people wanted Pekka Rinne the same press that Mason got for the Calder but the key for this pick is exactly how good the Blue Jackets were with him in net. Four other goaltenders played for the Blue Jackets this season and other than Daniel Lacosta's two games, no one had a better GAA or SV% than Mason. Mason lead the league in shutouts and second in the league in GAA. No rookie goaltender was better.
|2008 - Bobby Ryan||31||26||57||13||33|
Bobby Ryan lead all rookie skaters in the NHL in points and goals. He also helped lead the Anaheim Ducks to the playoffs this season. While Mason was essential in the Blue Jackets success, Ryan was only an important piece. Surrounding him with great talent in Anaheim only enhanced his talent this season and made this year a successful rookie campaign .
|2008 - Kris Versteeg||22||31||53||15||55|
Versteeg lead all rookies in assists and was second in points. Like Ryan, the talent that surrounded Versteeg with Toews and Kane also helped his rookie campaign and the fact that the Blackhawks made the playoffs for the first time in a few years also helps the cause.
Along with a look at the NHL Calder nominees, we are going to take a look at our choice for the Sabres Calder winner.
|2008 - Chris Butler||2||4||6||11||18|
My choice for the Sabres Calder winner has to be Chris Butler. Butler's first game with the Sabres was December 19th against the LA Kings. His play was so inspired from then on that he stuck with the team for the rest of the season. While he didn't light the scoresheet up, two goals and four assists, his defensive awareness was what kept him on the team. Butler was a +11 in 47 games, second only to Tim Connolly.
Chris Butler was an obvious choice for the rookie of the year. He was originally called up on an emergency basis and made it impossible for the Sabres to send him down.
He was not only the Sabres best rookie but he could be considered as one the teams best defensemen. His outstanding play made it impossible for veterans like Numminen and Paetsch to get any ice time.
The most impressive thing about Butler is how calm he is under pressure. Most rookies will panic under pressure but Butler always seemed to make the smart play.
I expect great things out of Butler in the future.