In a surprise to…absolutely no one, the Avalanche’s Cale Makar was announced as a finalist for the Calder Trophy today. The other two finalists are Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes and Chicago’s Dominik Kubalik.
I’ve done some previous covert soliciting of some people who have votes for this, and Makar was by far the most popular choice. I think he’s going to win the Calder. But I also know that Hughes has his supporters, too. If Makar wins the Calder, he’d become the fourth Av to have done it, joining Chris Drury, Gabe Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon (Peter Forsberg won it in 1994-95, but with Quebec).
Here is the official NHL release on this:
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy after the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be revealed during the Conference Finals, with the exact date, format and time to be determined.
Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks
Hughes posted 8-45—53 in 68 games to become the third defenseman in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to top all rookies in scoring (outright or tied), joining Brian Leetch (1988-89 w/ NYR) and Bobby Orr (1966-67 w/ BOS). His 53 points were the most by any rookie blueliner since 1991-92, when Nicklas Lidstrom compiled 11-49—60 in 80 appearances (w/ DET), and three shy of Dale Tallon’s single-season franchise record for a rookie defenseman, set in 10 more games in 1970-71 (14-42—56 in 78 GP). Hughes also led all 2019-20 rookies in assists (45), power-play assists (22) and power-play points (25), while ranking among the top five in average time on ice (2nd; 21:53), total time on ice (2nd; 1,488:09) and shots on goal (5th; 126). The 20-year-old Orlando, Fla., native is looking to become the second straight Canucks player to claim the Calder Trophy, following Elias Pettersson in 2018-19. The last team to boast consecutive Calder Trophy winners was the Boston Bruins, in 1966-67 (Orr) and 1967-68 (Derek Sanderson).
Dominik Kubalik, LW, Chicago Blackhawks
Kubalik led all rookies with 30 goals in 68 games (30-16—46), making him the fifth rookie in Blackhawks history to reach the 30-goal milestone after Steve Larmer (43 in 1982-83), Darryl Sutter (40 in 1980-81), Eric Daze (30 in 1995‑96) and Artemi Panarin (30 in 2015-16). The 24-year-old Plzen, Czech Republic, native became the first Czech-born player in NHL history to pace rookies in goals as well as the third to reach the 30‑goal plateau, joining Petr Klima (32 in 1985-86) and Petr Prucha (30 in 2005-06). Kubalik, who topped all 2019-20 rookies and ranked seventh in the entire NHL with a 19.1 shooting percentage, also placed among the top 10 freshmen in shots on goal (1st; 157), points (3rd; 46), power-play goals (t-6th; 4), game-winning goals (t‑6th; 3), assists (t-9th; 16) and power-play points (t-10th; 8). He is vying to become the first Czech-born player to earn the Calder Trophy as well as the 10th Blackhawks player to capture the award, following recent winners Panarin (2015-16) and Patrick Kane (2007-08).
Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche
Makar, who burst onto the scene in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs by scoring the winning goal in his League debut, continued to make waves in his first full NHL season, topping rookies with 0.88 points per game (12-38—50 in 57 GP). Only three other rookie blueliners in NHL history have averaged as many points per game in a single season (minimum: 50 GP): Leetch (1.04 in 1988-89 w/ NYR), Larry Murphy (0.95 in 1980-81 w/ LAK) and Al MacInnis (0.88 in 1983-84 w/ CGY). Makar also finished among the 2019-20 rookie leaders in game-winning goals (t-1st; 4), assists (2nd; 38), points (2nd; 50), power-play assists (2nd; 15), power-play points (2nd; 19), average time on ice (3rd; 21:01), goals (6th; 12), power-play goals (t-6th; 4), plus/minus (7th; +12), shots on goal (8th; 121) and shooting percentage (8th; 9.9%). The 21-year-old Calgary native is seeking to become the sixth player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to capture the Calder Trophy and fourth since the franchise relocated to Colorado, following Nathan MacKinnon (2013-14), Gabriel Landeskog (2011-12) and Chris Drury (1998-99).
Makar will be doing a video Zoom call later in the day, with the other Calder finalists.