Edmonton Oilers and the Calder Trophy


There is no doubt that some extremely talented young rookies have dawned the blue and orange Edmonton Oilers silks throughout the team’s history. Many of these rookies have gone on to win Stanley Cups and have become immortalized in hockey history, the awards list won by members of the Edmonton Oilers is no doubt an expansive one. But there is one NHL award that no Oiler has ever claimed.

The Calder Trophy.

No player from the famed 80s Oilers or the young cluster of high draft picks currently on the team have won the award for the NHL’s top rookie. There are big names on that list, former Oilers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, and current Oiler stars Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. It’s been a history of ineligibility, injury, and snubs.

Wayne Gretzky was denied eligibility to win the Calder in his rookie season because of his 80 games in the WHA with the Racers and the Oilers, even though he had 137 points, 72 more than Calder-winner Ray Bourque’s 65 points.

In the 2011-12 season Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was tied in points with the Av’s Gabriel Landeskog, both with 52, yet Nugent-Hopkins had played 20 less games than Landeskog while out with a shoulder injury.  That’s almost a quarter of the season. The Avalanche center won by a thin margin because of his perceived higher value to his team, leading the Avs with his 22 goals.

The following year after the Oilers drafted Nail Yakupov 1st overall, he led all rookies with 17 goals and was tied with Panthers Jonathan Huberdeau for the rookie-scoring lead, with 31 points during the 48-game lockout season.  This time around, Yakupov was snubbed and wasn’t even a Calder finalist, a decision that was unpopular around Edmonton.

After selecting the phenom Connor McDavid at the 2015 NHL Draft, I thought finally this Calder trophy drought would be broken with McDavid as the unanimous favourite to win but unfortunately his recent injury will likely restrict the number of games he’ll play, thus preventing a Calder season.

Being a finalist or winning the trophy does not ensure career success as many players have proved but it’s interesting how many high profile players have gone through the Oilers organization that haven’t been able to capture the award, as close as some have been. Could Anders Nilsson continue on his current hot streak enter the conversation? Could McDavid come back and make a surge to the top of the rookie scoring race? Or is the race limited to Artemi Panarin, Max Domi or Dylan Larkin? Tell us who you think will win any why in the comments section below!