If there was a doubt at the start of the week as to who was the frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, all doubt has been removed.
Gabriel Landeskog will win the NHL Rookie of the Year and there should be absolutely no doubt about it.
The Calder Trophy is awarded to the player that is "most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL."
Well if you're looking for proficiency then there is no other choice than Landeskog.
Gabriel Landeskog has played in all 74 games for the Colorado Avalanche this season and whatever line he has played on has been the team's top line since the start of the year.
Landeskog sees ice time in every situation possible. Whether the Avalanche are on the power play, penalty kill, up by one goal in the last minute of the game or down by one goal in the last minute of the game.
Ice time is one thing, but what about how he has produced? I mean after all, the Calder Trophy is often awarded to the leading scorer amongst rookies.
Landeskog leads all rookies in points (47) and goals (21), and is third in assists (26).
These are good numbers, but if all you look at for this award is the scoring numbers then you're not going to get the full picture of how well he has played.
Landeskog is second amongst rookies in plus/minus (+20) which means that he is responsible and reliable in his own end.
His lead amongst rookies in takeaways (55) is further proof of his ability in his own zone. The fact that he leads all rookies in both these important offensive and defensive categories proves that he is the most well-rounded rookie in the league in terms of offense and defense.
Then don't fail to notice how Landeskog is second amongst rookies in hits (199) and leads all rookies in shots on goal (243).
The rookie in second place in shots on goal is Craig Smith with 165. That is a cavernous difference.
Landeskog is also tied for first amongst rookies in game winning goals after his winner against the Rangers with five.
As if all of these numbers weren't enough, throw in the fact that Landeskog is the only rookie in the NHL to be leading his team in goals.
Perhaps the only reason that anybody could come up with that Landeskog should not win the Calder Trophy is that he can't possibly be a rookie because he plays with the intelligence and intensity of a seasoned veteran.
When all is said and done, there is only one choice that makes any sense for the Calder Trophy.
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