If the Edmonton Oilers were going to have someone win the Calder Trophy, it would have been with a player like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall. For a number of reasons — some beyond their control — that didn’t happen. And, according to The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell, any chance the Oilers might have a Calder candidate for next season is likely a long shot.
The Oilers are said to have some pretty good pieces coming through the pipeline, especially on defense. Mitchell takes a look at possible Calder candidates and examines if any of those players can put together a strong enough season to warrant consideration. The unfortunate news seems to be no, mostly because of the amount of games they’ll play and how head coach Dave Tippett will use them.
Early Rookie Projections for Oilers
Mitchell did some early predictions and outlined which rookies will get a shot and projected how often they might play. He focused in on blueliners Evan Bouchard, William Lagesson and Philip Broberg, along with forwards Tyler Benson and Ryan McLeod.
Quickly ruling out McLeod and Benson, the focus shifted to the blue line. At best, Mitchell figures Evan Bouchard might get 30 games, William Lagesson 50 games and Philip Broberg 12 games. For Broberg, 12 games is not enough to count him towards the voting, so he’s out.
That leaves Bouchard and Lagesson. When you consider Bouchard’s best chance would have been on the Oilers power play, that the team signed Tyson Barrie this offseason means Bouchard is going to be hard pressed to find the ice time needed to post big numbers. So too, he’s not projected to make the roster out of camp. It’s hard to imagine if Bouchard gets called up during the season, likely to fill in for an injured player, that 30 games would be enough to warrant consideration.
The question then becomes, could Lagesson be in the conversation?
Lagesson Will Have Stiff Competition
When you consider Alex Lafreniere will be the early Calder favorite and a couple other players are expected to make an impact in a deep NHL draft year, Lagesson will have his work cut out for him.
There’s certainly a chance Lagesson makes the Oilers roster as the 7th defenseman, but he’ll have to move up from that spot to get enough ice time to make an impact. Mitchell doesn’t seem him as that type of player, noting he’s more likely to be deployed in a shutdown role. He adds, “those player types don’t get the Calder Trophy without a substantial dose of offence as part of their resume.”
In total, Mitchell assumes the Oilers hopes of a rookie being in the Calder conversation will continue to have to wait. He writes:
After so many strong roster rookies in the last decade (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid) it’s incredible the organization remains shut out of the Calder Trophy.
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