Coming into this week, I was under the impression that this column would practically write itself. What with the deadline on Monday, I figured there would be a wealth of commentary for me to choose from. As it turns out, the deadline proved to be rather underwhelming and Pierre Gauthier largely stood pat. In addition, none of our board members seemed especially unhappy with the General Manager’s inactivity. On the contrary, some were rather pleased that Gauthier did not mortgage the future to acquire a Penner-like player. So now, with trades well behind us, it seems like a good time to visit a debate that will certainly arise in the coming weeks and months. Will P.K Subban win the Calder Trophy?
Clearly, our board members feel less than optimistic about the youngster’s chances and believe that the yearly award will go to either Logan Couture or Jeff Skinner. Hab29RETIRED succintly points out that Subban simply “doesn’t have the numbers” to compete for the Calder Trophy. The Chicoutimi Cucumber adds that “he was benched for five games earlier this season; and he’s a notorious bigmouth who has been proclaimed to lack ‘respect for the code’ by the usual legion of ignorant morons. Even if his numbers were great, the selection committee would take the less controversial choices”. The above two comments certainly offer valid points. Subban does not lead rookies in any major category and, considering the media coverage and commentary this season, it is clear that not all are enamoured with the young Torontonian.
But, let’s play devils advocate for a moment. While it is true that, statistically, Subban does not dominate any one area, the fact remains that he ranks around the top-5 in many important categories, including ice-time, points for a defecemen, blocked sots and hits. Unlike most of his peers, Subban has produced these numbers while essentially becoming the go-to guy on a depleted blueline in one of the toughest hockey markets in the world. The likes of Skinner or Couture, who has 8 game-winning goals, have certainly been most impressive, but they have been able to accomplish their feats under the much dimer spotlights of Carolina and San Jose. It is doubtful that any of the potential rookie of the year candidates would have accomplished half as much under the exceedingly bright lights of the Bell Centre. Meanwhile, P.K Subban, with Montreal and the general hockey media seemingly dissecting his every move, has largely maintained his composure and helped lead a battered blueline to a relatively comfortable playoff position. Those external factors may not be has easily quantifiable as goals or penalties, but they merit equal consideration nonetheless.
At the end of the day, it is hard to imagine Subban even being a finalist for the trophy though. To answer the initial question, he probably won’t win the Calder Trophy. But there is an argument to be made that he should.
That wraps up this this edition of ATB. Until next week, see you on the boards.
Louis Moustakas can be reached for comments, questions, cross-checks and, of course, fan-mail at [email protected]