I’m preparing a ‘camp hopefuls’ set of blogs for the next week or so, and was surprised to find one of the Oilers prominent prospect is not considered a rookie.
The NHL’s definition of a rookie goes as follows:
- To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played any more than 25 games previously in any single season, nor have played in more than six games in two separate preceding seasons in any major professional league. The latter fact was perhaps most prominent when in 1979–80, first-year phenom Wayne Gretzky was not eligible to win the Calder Trophy despite scoring 137 points (the previous rookie record at the time being 95), because he had played a full season in the World Hockey Association in 1978-79. In 1990, 31-year-old Sergei Makarov of the Calgary Flames became the oldest player to win the Calder. After that season, the rules for awarding the Calder were amended so that players are eligible only if they were 26 years old or younger by Sept. 15 of their rookie season.
Only the NHL folks, only the NHL. Based on those criteria, here’s a quick look at eligible and ineligible players among Oiler prospects:
- Nail Yakupov: Eligible, and should be considered a strong candidate for the Calder.
- Justin Schultz: Eligible, and also a strong candidate for the ROY.
- Colten Teubert: Eligible, he played 24 games last season. Had he played one more game, Teubert would be ineligible.
- Teemu Hartikainen: Ineligible, he played 17 games last year and then 12 games the previous season.
- Chris VandeVelde: Eligible, he played 12 games two years ago and 5 games this past season.
- Alex Plante: Eligibe. He has played in 4, 3 and 3 games in the last three seasons.
I think the NHL could clean up the rule quickly by:
- refraining from demonizing 27-year old rookies. For crying out loud, this is a rare happening and if someone has played that long without making a major hockey league and THEN wins the Calder? The guy deserves a trophy.
- Have 1 run-on sentence to gather all the the eligibles: all first year players are eligible (25 games in any previous NHL season punches your ticket), with the exception being 200 or more games in the KHL, SEL and SM-Liiga. The 200 games establishes a ‘veteran’ status in the three highest leagues.