It’s not rare for a young player to enter the league at age 19 or 20 and grab hold of the NHL’s attention. Two of the nominees for this year’s Calder Trophy, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and forward Elias Pettersson did just that. Dahlin was a defensive boon for the Sabres in an overall disappointing season, with 44 points and 35 assists. Pettersson outpaced Pavel Bure’s 60 point rookie season by six points, with 28 goals and 38 assists. He led all rookies in goals, assists, and points.
But those two young men are enjoying the off-season right now. Jordan Binnington, the third Calder nominee, didn’t make his first start until January 7th, when the St. Louis Blues were flirting with the basement of the NHL. He went 24-5-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and five shutouts in 32 games played.
There are a multitude of reasons that the St. Louis Blues are playing postseason hockey, and their Calder Trophy nominated goaltender is certainly near the top of that list of reasons. At 25, he’s the old man of the bunch, but it could be argued that he made the largest impact on his team out of the three nominees.
If Binnington wins, he will join Barret Jackman as the only Blues to win rookie of the year. A goaltender hasn’t won the award since Steve Mason was awarded the Calder in 2009.