Gallagher Among Off-The-Mark Calder Finalists

Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto

Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher was nominated as one of the three Calder Trophy finalists for NHL Rookie of the Year this morning.

It's not uncommon for NHL Awards voters to get things wrong. In the 2003-2004 season, Martin Brodeur won his second Vezina Trophy. That year, he posted a .917 save percentage in 75 games. The same year, Roberto Luongo had a .931 save percentage in 72 games. Yeah, doesn't get much worse than that. Some day, Roberto Luongo probably won't make the Hall of Fame on account of his lack of individual hardware, and his inability to win a Stanley Cup. For just the opposite reason, Brodeur will likely go down as the "greatest goalie of all time."

This is all just a round-about way of conveying how flawed the voting for individual awards is in the NHL. When one considers that the Vezina is voted for by NHL General Managers, and the Calder by the main stream media, you can understand why the voting might not reflect reality.

Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens, Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers, and Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks are your 2013 Calder Trophy Finalists for Rookie of the Year. None of these are poor choices on their own. Saad was been impressive at both ends of the ice all season, Huberdeau was a scoring machine with a terrible team, and Gallagher was a spark-plug with a knack for going to the dirty areas and cashing in goals.

But there were better choices. EOTP conducted its own voting for this award just before the conclusion of the regular season, and Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin earned five of nine first-place votes. Brodin was somewhat of an unknown at the time, playing way out west, but has since become the choice of even many main stream media members, as evidenced by tweets of outrage from all corners this morning. Playing top minutes against extremely tough competition with Ryan Suter, Brodin put up impressive possession numbers, and played in all situations. Based on a limited sample of data with other partners, it is conceivable that Brodin was in fact the possession driver on the pairing, and not the widely renowned Suter. Jonas Brodin should have been a finalist.

Out in Dallas, Brenden Dillon put up equally impressive possession numbers playing with the less renowned Stephane Robidas and Alex Goligoski. Dillon was slightly less relied upon on special teams, but was still a crucial top d-man for the Stars. Considering none of the forward candidates played top-line minutes - Saad played some, but they were with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews - Dillon deserved a nomination,

Good for Gallagher though. He's a great story, someone that Habs fans have been watching since his smile first emerged in the 5th round of the NHL draft, and hopefully his string of strong play will continue. The winner will be announced at the league's usual end-of-season Awards Ceremony.


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