And by the skin of his teeth, Sharks rookie sensation Logan Couture gets edged for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Shark fans across the board are already expressing their disappointment as Logan Couture will be leaving Las Vegas empty handed. We shouldn’t be sad however, despite not bringing home the hardware as the only San Jose Shark to even be nominated for an award this season, Logan and his fans can still be proud of the awesome season the 22 year old center had .
And what a season it was! In 79 regular season games, Logan finished 6th in scoring with San Jose netting 32 goals and 24 assists. His playoff tour wasn’t shabby either, skating in all 18 games and finishing 4th amongst the Sharks in playoff points with 7 goals and 7 assists.
An excellent scoring season wasn’t all this youthful talent earned in the 2010-2011 campaign. In December 2010, Logan earned the league’s Rookie of the Month and was named to the 2011 NHL All-Stars Skills Competition.
Amongst league rookies, he was 1st in shots (253), game-winning goals and power play goals (10), 2nd goals and points (32-24=56), and 5th in plus/minus (+18). His 22 road goals were 4th in the League and second-most in Sharks franchise history. He’s only the 23rd rookie to ever reach 20+ road goals.
Logan had some stiff competition however in the Calder race, as Michael Grabner from the New York Islanders and Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes were named finalists.
Grabner had a fantastic season in Long Island. In 76 games Grabner notched 34 goals and 18 assists, falling behind Couture in assists, but besting the Shark by only 2 goals. The Islanders rookie represented his organization in the NHL All Star Skills competition, helping Team Staal earn the victory of the weekend’s festivities by winning the Fastest Skater competition with the two fastest times of 14.061 in his first heat and 14.238 in the finals.
Though, Carolina’s Jeff Skinner was the man to beat for the Calder, as Carolina’s rookie walked away with the award. Skinner was the only Calder Finalist to be a pure rookie, and played all 82 games for Carolina, finishing 2nd in scoring amongst the Hurricanes with 31 goals and 31 assists. Skinner participated in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game as Sidney Crosby’s replacement, when Crosby had to drop out due to his concussion, making Skinner the first 18 year old NHL All-Star since Steve Yzerman in 1984.
I was hoping that Couture’s playoff performance would help tip the voting scales of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, but I suppose Skinner’s overall performance and All-Star appearance as an 18 year old All-Star had more of an impact.
However, congratulations to Logan Couture! Earning a nomination with such amazing competition is a feat in itself. And with the Sharks poised to make another strong run at the Stanley Cup, hopefully Couture has himself another break through season and finds his way at the top of the scoring race of the NHL!