Evaluating the performance of hockey players can be a difficult proposition when comparing positions. The responsibilities of forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders are quite different, and comparing players across categories can be a chore. And that makes voting for major awards a difficult proposition for voters.
Yes, we are still early in the season – too early to narrow the field of candidates in any single award category – but there is one Capital who is certainly shining brightly among his peers when it comes to his chances of winning one award.
John Carlson came into the season on many observers’ short lists of Calder Trophy candidates as the top rookie in the class of 2011. He has not disappointed. If you look at his performance compared to his peer group – rookie defensemen – he ranks at or near the top of his class in a whole host of statistical categories:
What is more, Carlson has the only game winning goal among rookie defensemen (in a 5-3 win over Boston on November 5th), and he is second among rookie defensemen in penalty killing ice time (2:20/game).
Carlson is not without his rookie moments. He leads all rookie defensemen in giveaways, and he is second in penalty minutes. But in a solid rookie defenseman class that includes the likes of P.K. Subban, Cam Fowler, Keaton Ellerby, and others, Carlson is staking his claim as a “Real Calder Candidate.”