The big 2013 NHL awards will be handed out on Saturday night, prior to Game 2 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Those trophies include the Hart, Vezina, and Calder, with the latter going to the league’s best rookie. Thanks to media spoilers, we already know who will take home that particular award.
Just as recent years have seen, the 2013 season saw several outstanding rookies throughout the season. But when it comes down to it, there’s only one that was consistent enough over the course of the entire year to take home the award. That rookie is Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau.
Huberdeau is/was up against the likes of Brandon Saad and Brendan Gallagher. Whether or not other rookies probably should have been included over one or both of the other two (Jonas Brodin) is irrelevant at this point. Huberdeau deserves to take home the hardware.
Last year’s no. 3 overall pick had to wait a year to make his debut, but he proved to be worth the wait. He wasted no time in establishing himself as an offensive force out on the wing. He finished tied for the lead in points among rookies, while finishing second in goal scoring, behind only Nail Yakupov.
Huberdeau finished the shortened season with 31 points, which means a higher scoring rate than Gabriel Landeskog posted in 2011-2012 when he won the Calder after being selected with the no. 2 overall pick, just in front of Huberdeau. He scored 14 goals on the year, two of which came on the power play.
At a couple points throughout the season, we saw Huberdeau go three or four games without a point. But that’s expected of any rookie. He was a consistent a first year player as there was in 2013 and should absolutely take home the Calder. With a more talented, and healthier, team around him next season, we’ll have to see if he can avoid a sophomore slump and take him game to the next level.