Colorado Avalanche Forward Gabriel Landeskog was awarded the Calder Trophy for the NHL’s Rookie of the Year last night in Las Vegas. The NHL’s annual award show saw Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin take the Hart trophy for MVP and New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist win the Vezina Trophy for top goalie.
Landeskog, the first Avalanche Rookie of the Year since Chris Drury, led Colorado with 52 points. He never looked slow on the ice or seemed to suffer a transition period that claims so many rookies who make the jump directly out of juniors. Landeskog was the Avs’ best player playing on powerplay, penalty kill and even strength. The Avalanche young team will look to Landeskog as they hope to return an elite team in the Western Conference.
Landeskog beat out Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and New Jersey Devils’ Adam Henrique. Nugent-Hopkins was the favorite by some because he was strong through a season shortened by injury. Nugent-Hopkins was the number one pick in last years NHL Draft, with Landeskog going number two. Nugent-Hopkins tied Landeskog with 52 points.
Landeskog carried the team on his back at times this season. He had one overtime goal when he had flu-like symptoms, and another to tie the game with less than a second remaining, both late in the year. The Swedish forward has Avalanche fans likening him back to Peter Forsberg, but Landeskog has two Stanley Cups and a Hart Trophy to go before he should be included in that conversation.