Johnny Gaudreau is the rookie of the year according to poll of NHL head coaches

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.

  • KiLLKiND

    I think it should either be Johnny’s or Ekblad’s. I haven’t seen too much of Ekblad this year but that roster looks really weak and he played big minutes every night that had them in contention for a playoff spot. Gaudreau has played top line minutes for the 2nd half of the season and has looked gret doing it when he gets the puck moving he looks impossible to stop and I think we should see his point totals start to climb year after year if he keeps trending up like this. In the end I think Gaudreau wins it as points look better than being a low scoring defencemen on a non playoff team but we can Bennett win it next yar and make everyone look stupid tanking for McDavid.

  • Greg

    As per Bob’s article – Gio still getting some love for the Norris as well. Not enough to win it, but pretty clear from the comments he was the runaway winner until the injury. Bad break for him.

  • mk

    PHWA members are not as smart as coaches. They see the game at ice level and they know what it takes for their team to nullify Johnny’s impact in a game against the Flames.

    The ballots for NHL awards have to be in before season end and Flames may have not qualified by time some writers have submitted. Having said that, Colorado and Florida have been eliminated….

  • mk

    Now that Florida is out, Ekblad has less clout for the award IMO. Whether the Flames make the playoffs has a big say on Gaudreau’s chances, doesn’t it?

    I think its Forsberg’s at the moment, but Gaudreau is damn close. A strong finish to the season could get him in.

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      I disagree a lot with that. Forsberg had a great start then hit the wall when most rookies do. Gaudreau started out not great, but he was still putting up points, and he became even more dominant at the point most rookies hit that wall. Add that to Gaudreau’s size in comparison and his season is loads more impressive.

  • RKD

    I think Gaudreau should win! Go Johnny hockey go! His impact on the Flames has probably been greater than Ekblad’s or Forsberg’s impact on their respective teams.