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A Closer Look at the Calder Trophy Finalists

Quinn Hughes, Dominik Kubalik and Cale Makar are named finalists for the Calder Trophy just two days after the NHL announced the Ted Lindsay Award finalists. Here is a closer look at each of the Calder Trophy finalists.

Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks

Hughes is one of two defenseman to be a finalist for the Calder Trophy. The Canucks defenseman led all rookies in assists (45) and points (58) in 68 games. He also led all rookies in power-play points (25) and came in second in average ice time per game (21:53). Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear came in first averaging 21:58 ice time per game. Hughes broke rookie records for both assists and power-play points. He was just three points shy from tying Dale Tallon, who recorded 56 points during the 1970-71 season, for the most in a season by a Vancouver rookie defenseman.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes is one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes is one of two defenseman named as finalists for the Calder Trophy. Image courtesy: Jared Silber

“It means a lot. I think it’s a great honor, especially this year because there’s a lot of guys who could’ve been in the top three or so,” Hughes said. “As far as the season, we had a really good team. I was fortunate to be put in good spots and I think you have those bounces and good years. It’s not over yet but it’s been good for me so far.” Talk about making an imprint on the league while being 20-years-old!

The No. 7 seed Vancouver Canucks are set to play the No. 10 seed Minnesota Wild during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. They’ll play in a best-of-five series to determine who goes on to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

Makar is the other defenseman that was named a finalist for the Calder. The Avalanche defenseman led all rookie defenseman in goals (12), power-play goals (four) and even-strength goals (eight). Makar also came in second behind Hughes in assists (38), points (50) and power-play points (19). The rookie defenseman also scored four game-winning goals, had a plus-12 rating and averaged 21:01 in ice time per game in 57 games. Only Hughes and Bear have averaged more ice time per game.

“I’m very honored and humbled to just be on this stage with these guys,” Makar said. “It was really nice coming into [this season] being able to know guys and have a comfortable relationship. That edge of the game was taken off for me. That was the main thing coming into the playoffs was just being able to get accustomed to systems, being around the team and in Denver in general.”

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar has proven to be why he should win the Calder Trophy this season. Image courtesy: NHL

The Colorado Avalanche are one of four round-robin teams in the Western Conference. They’ll compete against the Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars to determine seeding heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks

Kubalik is the lonesome forward out of the three finalists. The Blackhawks forward led all rookies in goals (30) and came in third in points (46) in 68 games. He also ranked first among rookies in even-strength points(38), even-strength goals (26) and shots on goal (157). “I just couldn’t believe it,” Kubalik said. “Coming from Europe, obviously you have some goals but you don’t think I could be a finalist or something like that.” The 24-year-old is the fifth player to score at least 30 goals in Blackhawks history and would be the 10th Blackhawks player to win the Calder.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik
Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik is an up and coming player in the NHL especially playing with the likes of Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane. Image courtesy: NHL

The No. 12 seed Chicago Blackhawks will compete against No. 5 seed Edmonton Oilers during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in a best-of-five series. The winner determines who advances to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The award is given to the top rookie in the NHL and voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The Calder Trophy winner will be announced during the conference finals.

Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson won the Calder Trophy last year.

The 2020 NHL Awards was scheduled to happen on June 25 in Las Vegas but was postponed on March 25 as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

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