Michael Grabner's crazy eyes may tip the scales in his favor.
The 2011 NHL Awards will be held tonight at 4 PM PST on Versus.is the only player nominated for an award this season. He will be competing against forward and forward for the 2011 Calder Trophy, which recognizes the NHL's rookie of the year.
According to NHL.com, here is the criteria and voting process:
The Calder Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season and each individual voter ranks their top five candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL Awards ceremony after the playoffs.
As I've said before, I think Skinner is the front runner here due to the fact that he is the only "pure" rookie on the docket and was eighteen years of age during the entirety of the regular season. With the PHWA voting on the candidates, there stands to be some individuals who took games played into account-- the fact that Couture played 25 regular season games in 2009-2010, as well as the fact that he participated in a Sharks playoff run to the Western Conference Finals that same year, isn't doing him any favors unfortunately.
Here are some relevant statistics from all three finalists:
Statistics of Calder Trophy Nominees
|Player ||GP ||G ||A ||PTS ||+/- ||PPG ||SH TOI ||PP TOI||TOI||Qual Comp|
6th on team
||7th on team
6th on team
As we can see here, all three of these player's had excellent seasons-- Grabner's goal scoring lead is sure to swing a few votes, Skinner's age, "purity", and points lead is bound to attract a few eyes, and Couture's overall importance to his team in every facet of the game is also something that should have gained him a few votes when the PWHA voted on the award at the end of the regular season.
Whether or not Couture wins the Calder tonight doesn't change how important he was to San Jose throughout the year. He was the de facto Team MVP during the first half of the year, played a huge role on special teams, led all forwards in plus/minus, and was an essential part of a second line that could have been the top unit on many NHL clubs across the League.
He's a franchise player in every sense of the word, and a huge part of the leadership group in San Jose's locker room.
We can't wait to see what he does next season.
In celebration of tonight's NHL Awards we are holding a sale on all of our Couture For Calder shirts in the FTF Online Store. Enjoy.