If you follow hockey at all, you’re probably thinking that the rookie of the year trophy has to go to Auston Matthews or Patrick Laine, but hear me out on this one.
Matt Murray wins Calder
As hard as it is to forget the fact that Matt Murray has his name on the Stanley Cup, he still qualifies for this hardware. With the league average for starting goalies currently sitting at 9.7 wins, he already has amassed 20 wins in 30 games started against just 6 regulation losses. Yes, he plays on an incredible, outstanding, defending, 4 time, Stanley Cup Champion Penguins team, but you can’t hold the team that drafts a player against him.
Pittsburgh cannot risk losing their former backstopper in the upcoming expansion draft for nothing, so the inevitable trade of Marc-Andre Fleury this season means even more action for Murray. The Penguins currently have 28 games remaining on their regular season schedule, with only 3 back to backs. This should equate to at least 23 more opportunities for Murray to earn Ws. If he can continue with his current winning percentage, that should land him a minimum of 15 more wins, garnishing him 35 wins by seasons end. For a goalie to win 35 games in today’s parody filled NHL is a tremendous feat, especially for a freshman.
Virtually gifted the Calder trophy before his name was even called 1st overall, Auston Matthews has put up a valiant rookie campaign. From a marketing standpoint, the NHL would love to promote the 19 year old as the adversary to Connor McDavid to create the next wave of debate, much like the Crosby vs Ovechkin argument of the mid and late 2000s. He is an American kid from the deserts of Arizona, playing in the biggest market in Canada–with the highest jersey sales. It makes sense to keep the memorabilia line moving, but statistically he has not done what Murray has been able to accomplish.
For those of you who would like to argue for other candidates like Laine, Marner, Aho, Nylander, Vesey, Werenski, or Tkachuk: you probably voted for Andrew Raycroft in 2004 or Barret Jackman in 2003.