To the surprise of no one, Elias Pettersson has been nominated for the Calder Trophy.
The 20-year-old rookie phenom has been named a finalist for the coveted award alongside Buffalo Sabres’ blueliner Rasmus Dahlin and St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington.
The Calder Trophy, also known as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year award, is an annual award given “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League (NHL).”
Calder Finalists: Pettersson, Binnington, Dahlin.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) April 27, 2019
Miro Heiskanen of the Dallas Stars was believed to be in the conversation, but ultimately missed out on a nomination. Brady Tkachuk of the Senators also had a great debut season in Ottawa.
Pettersson had a fantastic season for Vancouver, dazzling on a nightly basis and leading all NHL rookies in scoring with 66 points (28 goals) in 71 games. He had the Canucks competing for playoff position as late as February and brought excitement back to the city of Vancouver.
He also scored one of the filthiest goals of the entire 2018-19 NHL season:
Pettersson is believed to be the frontrunner for the award, but Binnington and Dahlin are certainly respectable competitors.
Binnington helped turned the Blues’ season around when he was called up in January and posted a 24-5-1 record with a .927 save percentage in 30 starts.
Dahlin led all rookie defensemen with 44 points (nine goals) in 82 games.
Pettersson has the edge simply due to his domination. He led his team in goals (28), assists (38) and points (66). He also had multiple five-point games and surpassed Pavel Bure’s franchise rookie scoring record. Binnington is 25 years old and likely didn’t play enough to warrant enough first-place votes. While Dahlin was terrific, it’s hard to argue that he had more of an impact on the Sabres than Pettersson had on the Canucks.
The NHL Awards are on Wednesday, June 19 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.