Adam Henrique didn't win the SB Nation voting for the Calder, or even my ballot. But here's a cool picture of him (and Peter Harrold, left) anyway. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A few weeks ago, the various hockey writers on SB Nation got together and voted for each of the major NHL player awards for the 2011-12 NHL regular season. Every day, the results have been revealed over at the SB Nation NHL hub. I was one of the voters and in the interest of clarity and something other than fretting about the Eastern Conference Finals, I would like to explain my ballots for each choice. On Tuesday, I revealed my selections for the Vezina and the Norris Trophies. Today, I will do the same for the Lady Byng and Calder Trophies after the jump.
On Wednesday, the SB Nation writers named Florida defenseman Brian Campbell the winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for the most gentlemanly player. I have no issue at all with the winner. To be a defensemen who play as much as he does on the team he's on and take only a few penalties is an impressive feat. I can agree with that. However, I didn't vote for him. I selected Matt Moulson of the Islanders third and Jordan Eberle of the Oilers second. Both were top scorers who took five or fewer penalties. As feature players on terrible teams, they could have gotten lazy and illegally impeded someone to make a play or just get real frustrated in a game or two and rack up some PIMs. They kept their cool and they did their jobs incredibly well. Moulson had two fewer minors, but Eberle put up more points. My first place choice went to Patrik Elias, who you all should know. Before anyone claims I'm just being a homer, I want you to consider his season. Yes, he had 18 PIM. He also had some of the toughest competition at evens among all forwards in the league, he came out ahead overall at evens, he played in all situations, and finished in the top ten in scoring. Elias was more productive in a tougher role than Eberle and Moulson, and I think makes up for three more penalties taken. I wasn't the only one to name Elias first; but he didn't garner support like Eberle (third among all writers), Moulson (second among all writers), and Campbell.
Today, the SB Nation writers selected Colorado winger Gabriel Landeskog their winner of the Calder Trophy for the league's most outstanding rookie. The writers collectively went Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Henrique, and Landeskog. That's how my ballot went, so I think it's correct. Nugent-Hopkins was productive, Henrique was just as productive and filled in a big gap at center on the team, and Landeskog played like he was already a very good NHL veteran at age 18-19. He led the Avalanche forwards in Corsi Rel QoC and on-ice Corsi rate, which means he faced the toughest competition at evens and he was the best at driving the play forward. On top of that, he was three point shy of leading his team in scoring in 2011-12. No disrespect intended to Henrique or Nugent-Hopkins, but Landeskog was clearly the most impressive rookie in the regular season. And to think, he's only going to get better.
As we wait for Game 6 to begin, feel free to discuss who you think should win the Lady Byng and/or the Calder Trophies in the comments. Do you agree with my ballots for these two? If not, what did I get wrong? What should have I considered? Do you agree with what the bloggers voted? Do you think this is how the vote will be revealed later on? Please leave your answers and other comments about these two player awards in the comments. Thank you for reading.