Breaking down Arturs Silovs’ unlikely path to the Calder Trophy in 2023-24
Photo credit:Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
14 days ago
I have great news.
As the resident Silovs truther at this site (I was telling people to remember Silovs’ name way back in 2020!), I felt the need to share with you all that in their list of the top 20 candidates to win the Calder Trophy — awarded to the league’s top rookie — The Athletic listed Silovs as an honourable mention.
Now, this isn’t one of those “hey look, that’s cool” kind of articles. In some way, it is, but what we are going to do today is go over the thought process behind putting Silovs even in the honourable mention section. You have to think someone at a board meeting put their hand up and just threw out Silovs’ name so that if it happens, they can say they told you so.
Did anybody think Jordan Binnington would even be a finalist for the Calder, let alone the rightful winner of the award in plenty of incorrect people’s minds? Maybe one person? Was it the same person who thought to throw Silovs in as an honourable mention on this list?
And whoever that person is, we needed to find out who it was. Naturally, the best place to start was by looking at the authors of the piece, Scott Wheeler and Harman Dayal. Wheeler is well-known for his prospect coverage, while Harman, dubbed “Boy Genius” by the late Jason Botchford, is, well, pretty damn smart.
Harman is so smart that we let him be a regular contributor to Canucks Conversation, and he was our first place to start. Here is our text conversation:
Me: “Did you put Silovs as an honourable mention on the Calder list? I’m writing an article about what a genius that person must be.”Harman: “Hahaha Scott sent me an initial list draft of a top 20 list and honourable mentions as a starting point for our article and Silovs was already on it.”Me: “No wayyy so Scott came up with it!?”Harman: “LOL yeah I was on vacation when he compiled a shortlist of all the names we should consider.”Me: “I’m impressed. You are more than welcome to join the Silovs fan club. We meet on Tuesdays.”
Okay, so we know it was Wheeler who came up with the idea to put Silovs on the list. But could Silovs really be a candidate to win the award in 2023-24? It would be a long shot, but let’s talk about how it could happen anyway.
A wise man once said, “My top three Calder picks this season are the forward everybody likes, a Latvian goalie nobody has ever heard of, and the other player everybody likes, in that order.”
For Silovs to even enter the conversation, he would need to take Thatcher Demko’s role as the Canucks’ starter, because backup goalies don’t win the Calder. Canucks fans would much rather see a healthy Thatcher Demko this season, and they would certainly like to see him return to his former level of play. Silovs taking the starter’s role due to an injury to Demko would be a disaster, and Silovs taking the role because he’s somehow outplayed both Spencer Martin and Thatcher Demko might be an even bigger one.
So, that’s already pretty unlikely, and would be nothing short of a worst-case scenario for the Canucks and their fans.
If Silovs were to pull off the unthinkable and win the Calder, he’d be just the first goalie to win the award since Steve Mason — there’s a name you haven’t heard in years — won the award as a 20-year-old in 2008-09 with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Mason started 61 games that season and won 33 games en route to a .916 save percentage. Silovs was on another level this past spring at the IIHF World Championship, where he backstopped Latvia to a bronze medal and picked up tournament MVP honours. Silovs would be named runner-up to Connor Bedard in IIHF Male Player of the Year voting months later.
So is it possible that Silovs wins the Calder Trophy? Scott Wheeler and I certainly think so. Is it likely? No, not even a little bit.
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