Vitek Vanecek’s breakout rookie season earned him votes in end-of-the-year voting for the Calder Trophy. Vanecek placed sixth, receiving three third-place votes, eight fourth-place votes, and 10 fifth-place votes for 49 total points. Vanecek finished third among rookie goaltenders, placing behind the Hurricanes’ Alex Nedeljkovic (third) and the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin (fifth).
The Capitals goaltender finished the season seventh overall in the NHL in wins and compiled a 21-10-4 record, a 2.69 goals against average, and a .908 save percentage. Vanecek got a bulk of the starts (36 of 56) after the presumptive starter Ilya Samsonov contracted coronavirus early in the season and backup Henrik Lundqvist had open-heart surgery in January due to a heart condition.
Vanecek was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month in January and opened the postseason as the team’s starter before getting hurt in Game One of the Capitals’ first round matchup against the Boston Bruins. Vanecek took advantage of the opportunity after spending the previous five seasons with the AHL Hershey Bears and ECHL South Caroline Stingrays,
Calder Trophy voting
|1.||Kirill Kaprizov, MIN||997||(99-1-0-0-0)|
|2.||Jason Robertson, DAL||689||(1-94-3-2-0)|
|3.||Alex Nedeljkovic, CAR||386||(0-4-62-14-6)|
|4.||Josh Norris, OTT||183||(0-0-13-29-31)|
|5.||Igor Shesterkin, NYR||165||(0-0-13-29-13)|
|6.||Vitek Vanecek, WSH||49||(0-0-3-8-10)|
|7.||Ty Smith, NJD||25||(0-0-1-3-11)|
|8.||Nils Hoglander, VAN||24||(0-0-1-4-7)|
|9.||Tim Stützle, OTT||18||(0-0-2-2-2)|
|10.||Yegor Sharangovich, NJD||17||(0-1-0-1-7)|
|11.||Pius Suter, CHI||12||(0-0-1-2-1)|
|12.||K’Andre Miller, NYR||8||(0-0-0-2-2)|
|13.||Kevin Lankinen, CHI||7||(0-0-0-2-1)|
|14.||Eeli Tolvanen, NSH||6||(0-0-1-0-1)|
|t-15.||Kaapo Kahkonen, MIN||4||(0-0-0-1-1)|
|Ilya Sorokin, NYI||4||(0-0-0-1-1)|
|17.||Artem Zub, OTT||3||(0-0-0-0-3)|
|t-18.||Mikey Anderson, LAK||1||(0-0-0-0-1)|
|Brandon Hagel, CHI||1||(0-0-0-0-1)|
|Zach Whitecloud, VGK||1||(0-0-0-0-1)|
Kirill Kaprizov walked away with the award after scoring 27 goals and tallying 51 points — the most among NHL rookies. Kaprizov received 99 of 100 first-place votes. Stars forward Jason Robertson finished a distant second after posting 17 goals and tallying 45 points in 51 games.
Here’s the NHL’s press release announcing Kaprizon’s Calder Trophy win.
Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov Wins Calder Memorial Trophy
NEW YORK (June 29, 2021) – Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov is the 2020-21 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.
Kaprizov was a near-unanimous winner, receiving 99 of 100 first-place votes and one second-choice selection for 997 voting points. He attracted the highest percentage of first-place votes in Calder balloting since 1992-93, when Winnipeg Jets forward Teemu Selanne was the top choice on all 50 ballots after his record-breaking, 76-goal campaign. Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson, named on all 100 ballots, ranked second to Kaprizov with 689 voting points, followed by Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (386 points).
Kaprizov topped all NHL rookies and Wild skaters in goals (27) and points (51), helping Minnesota reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons. Only three other rookies since 1993-94 have led a team in points during the regular season, while also helping them qualify for the postseason: Auston Matthews (2016-17 with Toronto), Filip Forsberg (2014-15 with Nashville) and Trent Hunter (2003-04 with NY Islanders). Kaprizov also led all rookies in shots on goal (157), topped rookie forwards in average ice time (18:18) and ranked second in assists (24). Despite the shortened season he set several rookie franchise records, including goals, assists, points and power-play goals (8).
The 24-year-old Novokuznetsk, Russia, native is the first Calder Trophy finalist and winner in franchise history.
Vancek also finished third overall among goaltenders in All-Rookie team voting after receiving six votes overall. The Hurricanes’ Alex Nedeljkovic was voted the league’s best rookie goalie after receiving 78 of 99 votes.
All-Rookie Team voting
|1.||ALEX NEDELJKOVIC, CAR||78|
|2.||Igor Shesterkin, NYR||15|
|3.||Vitek Vanecek, WSH||6|
|4.||Kevin Lankinen, CHI||1|
|1.||TY SMITH, NJD||91|
|2.||K’ANDRE MILLER, NYR||74|
|3.||Artem Zub, OTT||18|
|4.||Mikey Anderson, LAK||7|
|5.||Zach Whitecloud, LVG||6|
|6.||Alexander Romanov, MTL||3|
|7.||Jakub Zboril, BOS||1|
|1.||KIRILL KAPRIZOV, MIN||100|
|2.||JASON ROBERTSON, DAL||99|
|3.||JOSH NORRIS, OTT||81|
|4.||Nils Hoglander, VAN||7|
|5.||Yegor Sharangovich, NJD||6|
|6.||Tim Stützle, OTT||4|
|t-7.||Pius Suter, CHI||1|
|t-7.||Eeli Tolvanen, NSH||1|
|t-7.||Oliver Wahlstrom, NYI||1|
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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