If the Calder Memorial Trophy was voted on by NHL head coaches, it would seem that Johnny Gaudreau would be the likely winner.
On Monday veteran TSN broadcaster Bob McKenzie unveiled the results of an informal poll that he conducted among 20 NHL head coaches. More of those coaches chose Johnny Gaudreau as the NHL’s best and impactful rookie than any other player.
Here’s all the Johnny Hockey goodness from McKenzie’s coaches poll:
Top three balloting was close but Johnny Hockey led the way (eight first-place votes) to runner-up Ekblad (7) and Forsberg (5).
One coach, echoing sentiments of others, said this of Gaudreau: “He’s had the biggest impact on team success. He sets the tone for their identity: resilience, speed, skill.”
“He’s their catalyst,” said another.
So now it would seem that the oddsmakers and two-thirds of the NHL’s coaches are aligned, and both groups are on #TeamGaudreau.
Gaudreau recently surrendered his rookie scoring lead to Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg, they’re actually tied with 61 points though Forsberg has more goals, but he’s played one fewer game on the year. How the balance of this season plays out, not only with respect to point totals but also whether or not Gaudreau can help lead the Flames to a postseason berth, could determine which talented young winger is ultimately given the Calder Memorial Trophy in Las Vegas this June.
Whoever wins, what’s clear is that Gaudreau’s stellar rookie performance has earned the attention and the respect of the hockey men that are responsible for game planning against him. Surely that matters more than any hardware.
Read the complete results of McKenzie’s informal coaches poll here.