Owen Power, Mason McTavish, Matty Beniers, Kent Johnson, Jack Quinn. These are the names that continue to get mentioned when discussing potential Calder Trophy candidates, and rightfully so. All of these players are incredible young talents and are expected to make significant impacts with their respective clubs in their rookie seasons. One player who is failing to get much discussion in this regard, however, is Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson.
If you forgot that Thompson is still considered a rookie in 2022-23, you aren’t alone. Due to injuries last season, he had a brief run as the starting goaltender for the Golden Knights, though he only ended up appearing in 19 games. This means that he has indeed kept his status as a rookie, and given the situation he finds himself in, has an outstanding shot at not only contending for the Calder Trophy but also winning it.
Lehner Injury Opens the Door for Thompson
If it weren’t for injuries, there is a chance that Thompson would be American Hockey League-bound to begin the 2022-23 season. That said, it is the Golden Knights we are talking about; injuries are always an issue. That is the case once again, as Robin Lehner is expected to miss the entire season, while Laurent Brossoit’s timetable for a return remains unknown. This seemingly set the stage for Thompson to begin the season as the starting netminder, and that appears to be just the case.
Speaking with reporters in recent days, Bruce Cassidy let it be known that Thompson is ahead of both Adin Hill and Michael Hutchinson on the depth chart at this point. Barring a shocker, he will be their number one goaltender to begin the season and could continue to be so for the entirety of the 2022-23 campaign if he plays like he did a season prior.
Having a starting role in itself should help Thompson gain some traction for the Calder as the season progresses. It is very rare for a goaltender to jump into a starting role in his rookie year, and many times when it does happen, it can lead to disaster. That said, the games he was able to get into last season should help him in a major way, making him a good bet to be solid at the very least in 2022-23.
Golden Knights Are a Strong Team
Also boding well for Thompson in regards to a potential Calder Trophy-winning season is the fact that he isn’t just a starting goalie for any team, but a very good one in the Golden Knights. It seems that after missing the playoffs in 2021-22, many have written off this team, seemingly forgetting how much skill they still have on their roster.
While losing Lehner is a major blow in their Stanley Cup quest, they still have more than enough talent to get into the postseason. With players like Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault and others up front, along with guys like Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore on the back end, this is a star-studded team who should rack up plenty of wins in 2022-23. Those wins will only help bolster Thompson’s Calder chances.
Again, it was a small sample size in 2021-22, but Thompson performed admirably during his stint with the Golden Knights. In his 19 appearances, he recorded a 2.68 goals-against average paired with a .914 save percentage and a 10-5-3 record. If he is able to record a similar stat line over 50-plus starts, it is hard to imagine anyone else coming close to him in the Calder race.
While I personally believe Thompson should be brought up in the Calder conversation far more than he is, you can bet he isn’t even slightly worried about the lack of recognition. What he is far more concerned about is taking this starting role and running with it, as it could very well set him up to be regarded as a number one for years to come. Not bad for an undrafted goaltender who was viewed as a marginal prospect at best just a few short years ago.
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Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.