With the NHL announcing the three finalists for the Calder Trophy that honors the top rookie for the past season, I thought it would be fun to present the Oil on Whyte year end awards for the Edmonton Oilers. Without further delay…..
One could make the argument that Schultz should be in the conversation for the NHL Calder Trophy after putting up 8 goals and 19 assists in 48 games. After discussing how Yakupov was snubbed from the Calder finalists, both he and Schultz provided plenty of spark all season long and certainly lived up the hype that they brought during the summer.
But in the end there can only be one winner and when looking at the plus/minus, the winner is Yakupov after finishing with a minus-4 compared to Schultz’s minus-17. Schultz actually had the lowest rating on the club, meaning he will need to brush up on his defense for next season.
It’s easy to mention Schultz in this category given he led the Oilers blue-liners in points but his minus-17 is cause for concern. We’re talking about the top defenseman who should be held accountable in his own end and it’s hard to make that argument for Schultz.
Meanwhile Smid and Petry had solid seasons from their own respects. Smid was his usual stubborn self, blocking shots and often pairing up against the opposing team’s top players.
Petry’s numbers were impressive, 3 goals and 9 assists in 48 games while posting a respectable plus-1 on the season. He also finished second on the team with 112 hits to Smid’s 151 and had 86 blocked shots to Smid’s 119.
Winner – Ladislav Smid, for the reason’s just mentioned. He’s as steady as they come and despite not putting up a lot of points, he was the best defender on this club.
Given there are only two netminders worth talking about, there’s no point in having them listed as nominees. As a matter of fact, the race for the top goalie isn’t that close either with Devan Dubnyk taking it in a landslide.
He played more than three times as many minutes than Nikolai Khabibulin while putting up almost identical numbers in GAA 2.57 to 2.54 (Khaby) and a .920 save percentage to Khaby’s .923%. Not to mention that Dubnyk started in 37 games to Khabibulin’s 11 while picking up a record of 14-16-6 with two shutouts.
Given it’s Gagner’s contract year it’s not surprising he turned a lot of heads this year with his 14 goals and 38 points in 48 games. Eberle also had a solid season, scoring 16 times en route to 37 points, good enough for third on the team.
But this award belongs to Taylor Hall this year. Not only did he lead the team in points with 50 in 45 games (good for 9th in league scoring) but his 34 assists alone would rank him third on the team in scoring. He was a solid plus-5 and had 4 powerplay goals and 4 game winning goals, the most on the team.
He continues to play with reckless abandon which is cause for concern to some. I say it’s what makes him so successful. He plays hard and leads by example. He wants to win and will go a long way in leading this club to the playoffs, which could be next year. Depending on how the off-season goes of course.