The NHL announced Monday the three finalists for the Calder Trophy, given to the top rookie in the NHL. They are: Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens, Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers and Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Gallagher played in 44 games for the Habs this season, recording 15 goals with 13 assists and a plus-10. He was supposed to be the "other" rookie in Montreal with Alex Galchenyuk around but he was anything but.
Huberdeau was arguably the best player from start to finish on a bad Florida team. He was second on the team in points with 31 in 48 games and was also second with 14 goals. The most impressive part of Huberdeau's game didn't show up in traditional stats, his ability to drive possession for his team.
Lastly, you have Saad, who spent a lot of time on the Blackhawks' top line this season and fit right in. When all was said and done he had 10 goals, 17 assists and was a plus-17 in 16:28 per game. He was a great addition to the scoring lines for the Hawks.
Of course there are a couple of very notable names missing here. There is Nail Yakupov, who led all rookies in scoring with his torrid finish. Heck, he led all Oilers in goals, as well. He might have been hurt by voters making up their minds before the season was over because in the final few weeks of the season he was lights out.
Then there is Jonas Brodin in Minnesota. The defenseman had an excellent case for the top rookie award as he logged a crazy amount of minutes as a rookie, playing 23:13 per game alongside Ryan Suter. I imagine playing with Suter hurt him in the minds of many, even though it shouldn't have. The majority of those minutes were against very tough competition as well.
This year we knew there would be some big omissions, though. There can only be so many finalists and there were some terrific candidates, and the Calder field is stacked. Still, it seems odd that Brodin and Yakupov are missing, I figured they would get enough votes to crack the top three at worst.
The winners of the awards will be announced after the Stanley Cup is awarded.