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NHL Rookie of the Year - 2012 Finalists By The Charts


The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded each year to the player regarded to have had the best performance among rookies during the year. Named after Frank Calder, the first President of the NHL (1917-1943), is voted on by Professional Hockey Writers Association.

To be eligible for the award, a player can't have played more than 25 games in any single preceding year or more than six games in any two preceding seasons or older than 26 before Sept. 15 of the eligible season.

Past winners include Terry Sawchuk, Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Pavel Bure, Teemu Selanne, Martin Brodeur, Peter Forsberg, Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin among others.

For the 2011-2012 season, three finalists were named to be voted on and include Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique and left wing Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche.

The winner of the award is announced at the NHL Awards ceremony, which is being held in Las Vegas on June 20.

We breakdown the 2012 performance of the finalists by the charts:


The three finalists ended in a virtual tie in terms of points with Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins finishing with 52 points, while Henrique sat one back with 51 points. As you can see through the charts, by the flat lines of both Henrique and Nugent-Hopkins missed games during the season, which obviously stalled their point production - Nugent-Hopkins played 62 games, Henrique 74 games and Landeskog played all 82.

Had Nugent-Hopkins remained healthy he would easily have been the points leader among rookies on the season as he was projected to produce 69 points on the season. While it's arguable how much weight should be given to rate of production over total production, it's clear that Nugent-Hopkins was the leading point producer.

Advantage: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Power Play Points

On the powerplay, we saw a clear leader among the three rookies with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leading the way with 23 points, followed by Landeskog with 12 PPP and Henrique with 8 points. 

While it's clear that Nugent-Hopkins produced a lot more on the powerplay, it does beg the question of the how much time each rookie received on the powerplay - Nugent-Hopkins had 186 min, Landeskog with 176 min and Henrique with 121 minutes of PP. It's unsuprising that Nugent-Hopkins led in powerplay but it's somewhat surprising that Landeskog had only 10 minutes less based on the overall PP point production.

It's clear that Nugent-Hopkins is a weapon on the powerplay and the best of the three rookies, which shouldn't be much of a surprise as he is a clear playmaker and puck distributor. It's likely that he will be a mainstay on the Oilers powerplay and should likely produce significant points on the PP.

Advantage: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Short Handed Points

If a shorthanded situation comes up and you had a choice of Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Adam Henrique your team would be best suited to throw out the Devil's rookie Center who produced an impressive 7 shorthanded points (4G, 3A) on the season.

In fact, if you had a choice out of any NHLer, you might still go with Henrique, who in fact was tied for first in the NHL in shorthanded points with his teammate Zach Parise.

Advantage: Adam Henrique

Game Winning Goals

Not the greatest measure of clutch, as Game Winning Goals doesn't differentiate between goals scored to win the game in the final moments and the winning goal scored in a 7-1 drubbing, but among the three Calder finalists it was Landeskog who led the way with 5 game winners, followed by Henrique with 3 GWG and Nugent-Hopkins with 2.

While an imperfect measure, it does lend to the feeling that Landeskog is a gamer who when the game is there for the taking is a guy you want in that situation.

Advantage: Gabriel Landeskog

Plus Minus

If the Calder Trophy were awarded based solely on Plus-minus, there wouldn't even be a need to debate it this year as Gabriel Landeskog showed pure dominance with a plus-minus of +20 made more impressive by the fact the Avs had a team plus-minus of -2 for a team-player differential of +22. Henrique +8 and a team-player differential of +7 while Nugent-Hopkins finished the season with a -2 and a team-player differential of +6.

Advantage: Gabriel Landeskog



Going into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Gabriel Landeskog was labeled as a physical specimen who was the most NHL-ready player in the draft. And he came as billed. Landeskog showed his physicality against men generating over 200 hits on the season and was able to remain healthy playing all 82 games. His 219 hits on the season ranked him as 19th most hits on the season - impressive for a 19 year old who also put up 52 points.

Advantage: Gabriel Landeskog

Penalty Minutes

It's not surprising, based on the number of hits, that Gabriel Landeskog is leading in Penalty Minutes. He is clearly a power forward that injects himself into the action and produces not only offensively but physically.

While PIMs is considered more of a positive stat for fantasy hockey than on the ice as it does put the team at a disadvantage, it's a clear indicator in the type of player Landeskog is compared to Nugent-Hopkins and Henrique.

Advantage: Gabriel Landeskog

Shots on Goal

Wayne Gretzky once said "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Well, clearly, Gabriel Landeskog has taken that to heart leading all rookies with 270 shots, which was almost 100 more than the next closest rookie ( Colin Greening - 184 shots) - in fact he was 15th among all NHLers. 

Looking a bit deeper into shots, we see that Nugent-Hopkins led the way in terms of shooting percentage with 13.4%, Henrique followed with 12.4% and Landeskog had 8.1%. Coaches for both the Oilers and Devils will likely look to get Nugent-Hopkins and Henrique to fire some more shots on goal.

Advantage: Gabriel Landeskog

Giveaways and Takeaways

When it comes to rookies, giveaways are part of the learning curve as they are now playing against the best talent in the world who are a lot bigger and stronger than anything they've seen before. 

Looking at the number of giveaways, we see the three finalsts being fairly close in number with this metric - Landeskog had 35, Nugent-Hopkins 32 and Henrique with 25. These numbers don't even put the rookie finalists into the top 100 in giveaways - which was led this year by Ilya Kovalchuk with 120 giveaways.

But to give us some indication of the finalsts contribution, let's compare this to their takeaways:

On this front, we do start to see some seperation among the rookies, mainly when it comes to Landeskog and Henrique. In terms of takeaways, Landeskog led with 58, followed by Henrique with 49 and Nugent-Hopkins with 34.

Landeskog's 58 puts him at 27th best in the NHL, which illustrates his ability to stay strong on the puck and push other players off the puck. But when looking at the rate of takeaways to giveaways we see that Henrique led the way with +24, with Landeskog next with +23 followed by Nugent-Hopkins at +2.

With Henrique leading the way, abliet slightly, points to his strong aiblity as a smart two-way player who is fitting in nicely with the Devils system and will likely be a mainstay in their lineup for years to come.

Advantage: Adam Henrique

And The Winner Is...

This year's Calder Cup clearly comes down to two players - Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. They both dominated statistically and were major contributors to their teams efforts, which ignited their fan bases.

If Nugent-Hopkins had remained healthy and produced at the rate he did during the games he played, his pure offensive production would've brought him the hardware. However, that wasn't the case, so we have to look at the overall performance of the players.

And it's likely that Gabriel Landeskog will be taking home the Calder Trophy this year. He produced offensively, was physically dominating, remained healty and was a defensive asset to his team.

Calder Winner: Gabriel Landeskog

As usual, let us know what you think in the comments below!

Other NHL Awards Articles:

Editor's Update (06/20/2012):
 Gabriel Landeskog won the 2011-2012 Calder Memorial Trophy.


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