According to NHL.com, the three finalists for the Calder Trophy—the NHL’s Rookie of the Year award—have been released. In a shocking turn of events, Minnesota Wild rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin is not among them. The list, released this morning, includes winger Brendan Gallagher (Canadiens), center Jonathan Huberdeau (Panthers) and winger Brandon Saad (Blackhawks).
While the trio notched 28, 31 and 27 points, respectively, there is arguable no other rookie that made as much of an impact in the NHL this season than Brodin. Not only did his per game average of 23:12 lead all rookies in ice time by nearly two minutes more than the next guy, his nine assists led all Wild rookies. In three playoff games, Brodin’s average of 28:54 is fifth best in the 2013 NHL postseason; his defensive partner, Ryan Suter, is first with a 32:42 average.
This is clearly a mistake made on the part of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Brodin was basically a lock to be a Calder finalist. From nearly game one of his NHL career, Brodin has played on Minnesota’s top defensive pairing, shutting down the very best the Western Conference has to offer. This kid has been outstanding and was the second-leading skater in ice time on Minnesota’s roster. At age 19, Brodin is the youngest defenseman skating in the NHL, but his play never showed it.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher knew what kind of quality he was getting with the 10th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft—World Class. There is no question he should be up for this trophy—even a Calder favorite. However, goal scorers are sexy from a casual fan’s perspective, and sex sells. Minnesota’s Swedish Sensation may not be a goal scorer, but he sure knows how to shut them down quickly and effectively. There’s no shame in settling for that.