Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche is a nominee for the 2010 Calder Trophy, awarded every season to the NHL Rookie of the Year. The other nominees are Detroit’s Jimmy Howard and Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. The next three articles will be taking a closer look at these nominees, and who should win the prestigious award.
We’ll start by looking at Jimmy Howard.
Photo Courtesy: Yardbarker.com
Why He Should Win: Put up excellent stats for a rookie goaltender, comparable to Steve Mason’s rookie year, when he won the Calder Trophy last year. He was pretty consistent, and was a top ten goalie in wins (37), save % (.924), and goals against average (2.26). Many Red Wings fans believe he is the sole reason the Red Wings continued their incredible playoff appearance streak.
Why He Shouldn’t Win: I have a hard time buying into the Howard Hype. The 2008 Red Wings were the greatest team put together since the lock out (and this is an Avalanche fan saying this. Dead rivalry or not, I hate these guys.) You’re telling me that two years later, it’s a rookie goaltender that is the only reason these guys made it into the playoffs. The Red Wings make Chris Osgood look good. Chris Osgood! The worst goalie EVER to be considered a potential HOF candidate.
“But oh! The Red Wings were devastated by injuries this year!!” Oh really? Sure, we know they took a beating when they lost Johan F#%^in’ Franzen, but let’s take a closer look. The best players on the Red Wings team are undoubtably Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Niklas Lidstrom. Not only are Datsyuk and Zetterberg their most potent offensive weapons, they’re also the greatest defensive forwards in the world right now. We all know how good Lidstrom is, yet some say he had a down year this year. But for this future Hall of Famer, a “down” year is the difference between being a Norris Trophy winner and a top ten defenseman.
Between those three guys, the cumulative amount of games missed was ten. That’s the devastating injury problem that Detroit was dealing with. Sure, Howard had a great season. But when he’s got the greatest active defenseman in the world, and the two greatest defensive forwards playing in front of him for all but ten games, I’d say his job was a little bit easier than what Howard fans would want you to believe.
Also, the man is 26 years old. He’s barely eligible to win the award as it is. Duchene was the only rookie nominated the season after he was drafted, and this was only Myers’ second year since being drafted. Howard was drafted back in 2003! When he was Duchene’s age, Patrick Roy was still playing for the Avalanche. And by the time Duchene is Howard’s age, he’ll already have SEVEN NHL seasons under his belt.
Conclusion: None of these factors kept Jimmy Howard from being nominated for the Calder trophy, but they should keep him from winning it. He places 3rd if I have a vote.