By Ian Oland
Cale Makar won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie on Monday. The Avalanche defenseman was a top-two selection on all 170 ballots, garnering 116 first-place votes and 54 for second. Makar scored 12 goals and had 50 points in 57 games. Quinn Hughes was runner up while Dominik Kubalik finished third.
Of interest to Capitals fans, Ilya Samsonov finished twelfth in total voting.
The Capitals’ backup goaltender was one of 13 rookies to receive consideration, garnering two fifth-place votes.
Samsonov also finished third among goaltenders for the All-Rookie Team.
The 23-year-old Russian was spectacular during his rookie season in the NHL, posting a 16-6-2 record, a 2.55 goals against average, and a 91.3 save percentage. During a stretch in the winter, Samsonov actually got more starts than Braden Holtby, including back-to-back starts for the first time in his NHL career in mid-January.
“I think he’s earned it,” Capitals head coach Todd Reirden said at the time. “Now it’s a chance to for him, again, to take another step. Continue to give him different challenges, one after another here, without overwhelming him. I think this is the right move, the fair move, and a move that is deserved.”
Samsonov’s season was highlighted by an eleven-game winning streak. He also became the first goalie in NHL history to win each of his first nine career road games in one season and became the fastest goaltender in franchise history to win 10 games overall. He was also the third rookie in NHL history to win 11-straight decisions.
Ilya Samsonov became the third rookie goaltender in NHL history to earn a win in 11-plus consecutive decisions, joining Ross Brooks (14-0-0 in 1973-74) and George Hainsworth (11-0-0 in 1926-27). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/920Nssoyi8
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 1, 2020
Samsonov’s record by the end of January was a staggering 16-2-0.
Ilya Samsonov improved to 16-2-0 this season and joined rare company with his 16th win through his first 20 career games. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/oQu8NTtoYv
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 1, 2020
After his sensational season, Sammy is expected to be the Capitals starter next year as Braden Holtby is unlikely to return.
More from the NHL about the Calder Trophy:
Avalanche’s Cale Makar Wins Calder Memorial Trophy
EDMONTON (Sept. 21, 2020) – Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is the 2019-20 recipient of the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition,” as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Makar was a top-two selection on all 170 ballots, garnering 116 first-place votes and 54 for second, in totaling 1,538 points. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes also was named on all ballots, including 53 first-place votes, for 1,337 points. Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik finished third with 554 points.
Makar, who burst onto the scene in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs by scoring the winning goal in his League debut, continued to make waves in his first full NHL season, topping rookies with 0.88 points per game (12-38—50 in 57 GP). Only three other rookie blueliners in NHL history have averaged as many points per game in a single season (minimum: 50 GP): Brian Leetch (1.04 in 1988-89 w/ NYR), Larry Murphy (0.95 in 1980-81 w/ LAK) and Al MacInnis (0.88 in 1983-84 w/ CGY). Makar also finished among the 2019-20 rookie leaders in game-winning goals (t-1st; 4), assists (2nd; 38), points (2nd; 50), power-play assists (2nd; 15), power-play points (2nd; 19), average time on ice (3rd; 21:01), goals (6th; 12), power-play goals (t-6th; 4), plus/minus (7th; +12), shots on goal (8th; 121) and shooting percentage (8th; 9.9%).
The 21-year-old Calgary native is the sixth player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to capture the Calder Trophy and fourth since the franchise relocated to Colorado, following Nathan MacKinnon (2013-14), Gabriel Landeskog (2011-12) and Chris Drury (1998-99).
More from the NHL about the All-Rookie Team:
NHL Announces 2019-20 All-Rookie Team
EDMONTON (Sept. 21, 2020) – The National Hockey League announced today the 2019-20 NHL All-Rookie Team, including the three players voted as finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League’s top rookie: defensemen Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche as well as forward Dominik Kubalik of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Also named to the 2019-20 NHL All-Rookie Team are goaltender Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets and forwards Victor Olofsson of the Buffalo Sabres and Nick Suzuki of the Montreal Canadiens.
Voting was conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association after the conclusion of the regular season. Following is a summary of each NHL All-Rookie Team member’s outstanding campaign:
Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets
Merzlikins, a third-round pick (76th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, led rookies and ranked among the top five goaltenders in the entire NHL in shutouts (t-2nd; 5), goals-against average (5th; 2.35) and save percentage (5th; .923) in 33 contests. He went 13-9-8 overall, highlighted by an eight-game winning streak from Jan. 11 – Feb. 7 during which he recorded all five of his shutouts (1.00 GAA, .967 SV%). In doing so, Merzlikins became the sixth NHL goaltender (rookie or veteran) to earn five shutouts in a span of eight or fewer appearances since 1929-30 (when forward passing was permitted inside all three zones) – a feat last achieved by Brian Boucher, who blanked five straight opponents from Dec. 31, 2003 – Jan. 9, 2004 (w/ PHX). The 26-year-old Riga, Latvia, native is Columbus’ first All-Rookie Team representative since teammate Zach Werenski in 2016-17 and the second Blue Jackets goaltender to make the list, following Steve Mason in 2008-09.
DEFENSEMEN (in alphabetical order)
Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks
Hughes, the seventh overall choice in the 2018 NHL Draft, posted 8-45—53 in 68 games to become the third defenseman in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to top all rookies in scoring (outright or tied), joining Bobby Orr (1966-67 w/ BOS) and Brian Leetch (1988-89 w/ NYR). His 53 points were the most by any rookie blueliner since 1991-92, when Nicklas Lidstrom compiled 11-49—60 in 80 appearances (w/ DET), and three shy of Dale Tallon’s single-season franchise record for a rookie defenseman, set in 10 more games in 1970-71 (14-42—56 in 78 GP). Hughes also led all 2019-20 rookies in assists (45), power-play assists (22) and power-play points (25), while ranking among the top five in average time on ice (2nd; 21:53), total time on ice (2nd; 1,488:09) and shots on goal (5th; 126). The 20-year-old Orlando, Fla., native is Vancouver’s third All-Rookie Team selection in as many seasons, following teammates Brock Boeser in 2017-18 and Elias Pettersson in 2018-19, and the first Canucks defenseman to receive the honor since Mattias Ohlund in 1997-98.
Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
Makar, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, made waves in his first full NHL season, topping rookies with 0.88 points per game (12-38—50 in 57 GP). Only three other rookie blueliners in NHL history have averaged as many points per game in a single season (minimum: 50 GP): Leetch (1.04 in 1988-89 w/ NYR), Larry Murphy (0.95 in 1980-81 w/ LAK) and Al MacInnis (0.88 in 1983-84 w/ CGY). The 21-year-old Calgary native also finished among the 2019-20 rookie leaders in game-winning goals (t-1st; 4), assists (2nd; 38), points (2nd; 50), power-play assists (2nd; 15), power-play points (2nd; 19), average time on ice (3rd; 21:01), goals (6th; 12), power-play goals (t-6th; 4), plus/minus (7th; +12), shots on goal (8th; 121) and shooting percentage (8th; 9.9%). Makar – a unanimous selection – is Colorado’s first All-Rookie Team representative since teammate Nathan MacKinnon in 2013-14 and the third Avalanche/Nordiques defenseman to make the list, following Bruce Bell in 1984-85 and John-Michael Liles in 2003-04.
FORWARDS (in alphabetical order)
Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks
Kubalik, a seventh-round pick (191st overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2013 NHL Draft, led all rookies with 30 goals in 68 games (30-16—46), making him the fifth rookie in Blackhawks history to reach the 30-goal milestone after Steve Larmer (43 in 1982-83), Darryl Sutter (40 in 1980-81), Eric Daze (30 in 1995‑96) and Artemi Panarin (30 in 2015-16). The 25-year-old Plzen, Czech Republic, native became the first Czech-born player in NHL history to pace rookies in goals as well as the third to reach the 30‑goal plateau, joining Petr Klima (32 in 1985-86) and Petr Prucha (30 in 2005-06). Kubalik, who topped all 2019-20 rookies and ranked seventh in the entire NHL with a 19.1 shooting percentage, also placed among the top 10 freshmen in shots on goal (1st; 157), points (3rd; 46), power-play goals (t‑6th; 4), game-winning goals (t‑6th; 3), assists (t-9th; 16) and power-play points (t-10th; 8). He is Chicago’s fourth All-Rookie Team honoree in the past decade, joining Corey Crawford (2010-11), Brandon Saad (2012-13) and Panarin (2015-16).
Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres
Olofsson, who entered the season with two goals in six games (both on the man-advantage), became the first player in NHL history to score each of his first eight career goals via the power play (March 28 – Oct. 16, 2019: 8-4—12 in 13 GP). He ultimately topped rookies and shared 11th place in the entire NHL with 11 power-play goals in 2019-20 (54 GP) – the most by a Sabres rookie since 2005-06 (Thomas Vanek: 11 in 81 GP). Olofsson, a seventh-round selection (181st overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, also placed among the top five rookies in game-winning goals (t-1st; 4), goals (t-2nd; 20), power-play points (3rd; 17), shooting percentage (3rd; 15.7%), points (4th; 42), shots on goal (4th; 127) and assists (5th; 22). The 25-year-old Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native – who scored his first even-strength goal during the 2019 NHL Global Series in Stockholm (Nov. 9 at TBL) – is Buffalo’s second All-Rookie Team selection in as many seasons, following Rasmus Dahlin in 2018-19, and the first Sabres forward to make the list since Jack Eichel in 2015-16.
Nick Suzuki, Montreal Canadiens
Suzuki, the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft (by the Vegas Golden Knights), led rookie forwards in total time on ice (1,135:16) and even-strength time on ice (960:02) in 71 appearances. He finished sixth among all rookies with 41 points – the most by a Canadiens freshman since 2003-04, when Michael Ryder collected 63 in 81 contests. Suzuki also ranked among the top five rookies in shots on goal (2nd; 138), power-play goals (3rd; 6), assists (4th; 28), power-play points (4th; 14), goals (5th; 13) and power-play assists (5th; 8). The 21-year-old London, Ont., native is Montreal’s first All-Rookie Team honoree since teammate Brendan Gallagher in 2012-13 and the seventh Canadiens forward to make the list since it was introduced in 1982-83. The others: Mats Naslund (1982-83), Kjell Dahlin (1985-86), Gilbert Dionne (1991-92), Oleg Petrov (1993-94), Ryder (2003-04) and Gallagher (2012-13).
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