To no one's surprise, Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner was among the three finalists the NHL announced today for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the league's rookie of the year.
The San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture and the New York Islanders' Michael Grabner, both forwards, are the other finalists. The NHL awards ceremony is June 22 in Las Vegas.
Skinner, at 18 the youngest player in the NHL and the youngest All-Star in major pro sports history, led all rookies with 63 points and was a big reason the Hurricanes came within a win of making the playoffs, although his 31 goals trail Grabner (34) and Couture (32). He played in all 82 games for the Hurricanes, and his plus-minus of plus-3 was tied for second among Carolina forwards.
The other finalists may be good news for Skinner, as he fares well in head-to-head comparisons with the other forwards. If Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban or Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson had been among the finalists, or any of the other goalies or defensemen, it might have indicated that some voters looked beyond the scoring stats and at team impact -- but that's just conjecture.
No Hartford or Carolina player has ever won the Calder Trophy. Carolina's most recent major trophy winner was Rod Brind'Amour, who won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward in 2006 and 2007. (Goalie coach Tom Barrasso won the Calder with the Buffalo Sabres in 1984.)