The NHL announced Monday that Shayne Gostisbehere, Connor McDavid and Artemi Panarin are the league’s 2016 Calder finalists, honoring the league’s best rookie.
Gostisbehere led all rookie defensemen in goals (17), assists (29), points (46), power play goals (8) and game-winning goals (5). He set a rookie record with four overtime goals, which also tied the most in a single season by any defenseman. The Ghost Bear earned himself a reputation for being a clutch player because of that. His 17 goals are the most by a rookie defenseman since Dion Phaneuf scored 20 back in the 2005-06 season.
He posted a -1.58% score-adjusted CF%Rel.
McDavid finished the season with the league’s best even-strength points per 60 minutes (P/60) at 2.75. In all situations, he was second only to Patrick Kane, posting a 3.41 P/60. The 19-year-old totaled better than a point per game with 48 points (16-32-58) in 45 games. Those 48 points ranked fourth among all rookies despite his limited ice time.
Additionally, his 4.67% score-adjusted CF%Rel is notable.
The biggest obstacle to him winning the Calder is having his season trimmed by injury. 45 games is seen by many as simply being too few games played to win rookie of the year, particularly in a year where another rookie posted 77 points.
That rookie was Panarin, who put up incredible numbers, scoring 30 goals and 47 assists. His 77 regular season points tied for ninth overall in the NHL. He also had seven points (2-5-7) in seven postseason contests.
Artemi Panarin: I'll be upset if I won't get the Calder #Blackhawks
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) May 2, 2016
Playing on a line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane, he had great offensive numbers and a positive possession mark, with a 1.28% score-adjusted CF%Rel.
Many count his being 24 against him, but that’s not how the award works. Despite having many more years of professional experience compared to the other two Calder finalists, Panarin is a rookie and had a fantastic rookie campaign in the NHL.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.