About the Calder Memorial Trophy in the NHL

Calder Memorial Trophy – NHL Rookie Of The Year Award

Trophies are an important part of the NHL as they give honor to a player for achieving a certain height of success or record. Of the different trophies in the NHL, today we want to talk about one particular trophy that can only be won once by an NHL player – the Calder Memorial Trophy

The Calder Trophy is a prestigious trophy in the NHL that recognizes the best new player in the NHL. This means that it is given to the best new talent in the league who has had the highest contribution to his team. 

Before we go further into what the Calder Trophy is, let us do a quick background check on the award and what it means in the NHL.

History Of The Calder Trophy

History of the Calder Trophy

The Rookie of the Year award was given to the NHL’s top rookie before the Calder Trophy officially replaced it as the league’s top rookie honor. The NHL’s 1932–33 season saw the inaugural year of the Rookie of the Year award.

The Calder Trophy, however, became the official moniker for the prize given to the finest new talent during an NHL season during the 1936–1937 campaign. The inaugural trophy winner also received the Calder trophy during that same season.

The award bears Frank Calder’s name, who served as the NHL’s founding president. From the time the league was founded in 1917 until his death in 1943, Frank Calder served as its president. The trophy was formerly known as the Calder Trophy before Frank Calder passed away; however, following his passing, the name of the trophy was changed to the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Since then the custom persisted and is still practiced in the league today.

About The Calder Memorial Trophy

About the Calder Memorial trophy

As mentioned earlier, the Calder Memorial trophy is given to the NHL player that has the best regular season in his rookie year in the league. The term rookie year means an NHL player’s first year of playing in the league’s regular season.

For a player to be selected as the winner of the Calder trophy, he must have been a valuable instrument to his team’s success or performance in the regular season. Just like the Hart Memorial trophy given to the most valuable player of the regular season, the Calder trophy winner is decided by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association (PHWA).

A poll is conducted by the members of the PHWA and the winner of the poll is announced later on during the NHL award ceremony after the playoffs. However, before her poll winner is announced, the association releases the three finalists, which is the list of the top three players with the highest points in the poll. 

One good thing about the Calder trophy is that it can be awarded to any player on a team, irrespective of the position they play on the ice. This means unlike the Art Memorial trophy, which favors forwards and is impossible for goalies to win, any player can be awarded the Calder trophy

The structure of the Calder trophy is simply that of a trophy mounted on a two-stepped wooden base. On the surface of the two-stepped wooden face are silver tags that contain the names of past winners of the cup. 

Calder Trophy Winners 

Winners of the Calder Trophy

The Rookie of the Year award has been given out 90 times overall from the NHL’s founding up to this point. The 90th award was presented at the 2022–23 NHL awards event, which took place on June 27.

Due to the rule only a rookie player in his first year can win the trophy, 90 different players have been awarded with it. The rookies that won these trophies during their debut seasons included many of the finest players in NHL history.

Let’s look at the NHL team with the most players who have won the Calder trophy during their franchise before moving on to the inside of the trophy for various years.

NHL Team With The Most Rookies Of The Year 

The NHL team with the most Calder Trophy wins by an NHL franchise

Since its introduction, the Rookie of the Year award has been won by 30 different NHL teams. Some of these franchises no longer exist in the NHL, while others have disbanded over time.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the most Calder Trophy winners among the 30 teams that have had players win the award. So far they have produced ten winners over the years.

Austin Matthews, Brit Selby, Dave Keon, Gaye Stewart, and many others have all won the trophy for the Maple Leafs.

The Chicago Blackhawks are the second-ranked NHL franchise only to the Toronto Maple Leafs, with nine winners. The table below lists all of the NHL teams that have won the Rookie of the Year award, as well as how many trophies they have won.

NoTeamsNo. Of Calder Trophy Winners 
1Detroit Red Wings 6
2Seattle Krakens1
3Colorado Avalanche 4
4Montreal Canadiens 6
5Toronto Maple Leafs 10
6Buffalo Sabres 3
7Boston Bruins 8
8Chicago Blackhawks9
9Vancouver Canucks 2
10Minnesota Wild1
11New York Islanders 5
12New York Rangers 8
13New York Americans1
14Pittsburgh Penguins 2
15Florida Panthers 2
16Washington Capitals 1
17Carolina Hurricanes 1
18Calgary Flames 3
19Montreal Maroons1
20Minnesota North Stars 2
21Atlanta Flames 2
22Quebec Nordiques 2
23Winnipeg Jets 2
24Ottawa Senators1
25New Jersey Devils 2
26San Jose Sharks 1
27Atlanta Thrashers 1
28St Louis Blues 1
29Columbus Blue Jackets1
30Los Angeles Kings1
Total 90

Which Age Of Players Has Won The Most Calder Trophies?

The age of a player when he wins the Calder trophy is determined by the age at which he plays his first NHL season. Most NHL players are acquired through the NHL draft, which is open to players as young as 18 years old.

Knowing how the NHL draft works, however, not every player picked gets to play the same year they are drafted.

According to data gathered over the years, the age group with the most Calder trophies falls between the ages of 19 and 22. Yet, the age distribution with the most Rookie of the Year award winners is age 20, with 18 winners.

The graph below depicts the age distribution of the participants.

Related Post: The Hart Memorial Trophy

The Calder Memorial trophy age distribution chart

Calder Trophy Winners By Year

Calder Trophy Winners By Year

2019-20 Rookie Of The Year

For the 2019–20 campaign, Cale Makar, Quinn Hughes, and Dominik Kubalik are the Calder trophy contenders. After scoring 50 goals with 38 assists and 12 goals in 57 games throughout the regular season, Makar emerged as the top rookie.

Finalist Teams 
Cale MakarColorado Avalanche
Quinn HughesVancouver Canucks
Dominik KubalikChicago Blackhawks

2020-21 Rookie Of The Year

Kirill Kaprizov has a total of 27 goals and 24 assists in 55 games during his first season with the Minnesota Wild. Due to his score performance, he beat out Jason Robertson and Alex Nedeljkovic, the other two finalists. 

Finalist Teams 
Kirill KaprizovMinnesota Wild 
Alex NedeljkovicDetriot Red Wings
Jason RobertsonDallas Stars 

2021-22 Rookie Of The Year

The Red Wings’ Moritz Seider earned the Rookie of the Year title for the 2021–22 campaign over Trevour Zegras and Micheal Bunting, who were the other two contenders. The Red Wings’ sixth-round selection, who collected 50 points overall with 43 assists and 7 goals, won the championship

Finalist Teams 
Moritz SeiderDetroit Red Wings 
Michael BuntingToronto Maple Leafs
Trevor ZegrasAnaheim Ducks 

2022-23 Rookie of The Year 

The Calder trophy for the just completed 2022–2023 NHL regular seasons goes to Matty Beniers. With 24 goals and 33 assists for 57 points, the new rookie of the Seattle Krakens had a strong debut season. He also earned the highest rookie plus-minus point for the season of ’23.

Stuart Skinner and Owen Power are the other losers.

Finalist Teams 
Matty BeniersSeattle Krakens
Stuart SkinnerEdmonton Oilers 
Owen PowerBuffalo Sabres

NHL Players To Never Win The Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie Of The Year)

During their first NHL season, not every gifted player took home the Calder Memorial trophy. Although some of them had fantastic ratings, there was always someone who had a better rating, received more recognition, or simply didn’t fit the requirements.

Some of the players who never who the award include: 

  1. Wayne Gretzky:
    Wayne Gretzky, the “Great One”, won every NHL award for which he qualified, with the exception of the Calder Memorial Trophy, which did not include him in his rookie season. He was ineligible to win since he had previously played for the WHA, a major league, which prevented him from doing so
  2. Sidney Crosby:
    Sidney Crosby, sometimes known as “Sid the Kid”, had one of the best rookie campaigns ever, tallying 102 points in his first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But, this is still insufficient for the future star to win Rookie of the Year and cement his position in sports history. Alexander Ovechkin won the Calder Award for that season even though he came in second.
  3. Connor McDavid:
    McDavid had great skill throughout his debut season and earned a spot among the Calder Trophy finalist nominees. He ultimately lost out to Artemi Panarin, who won the prize, and first runner-up Shayne Gostisbehere for the position.

Facts About The Calder Memorial Trophy

Here are some fun facts and information about the Calder Trophy and about its winners.

  • The first winner of the Rookie of the Year award is Carl Voss of the Detriot Red Wings
  • The center position has the most winners of the Calder trophy. Thirty players who are winners of the Calder trophy play the center position. 
  • The youngest age of the winners of the Calder Memorial Trophy is Nathan MacKinnon (age 18)
  • The oldest winner of the trophy is Sergei Makarov at age 31 years 
  • The Maple Leafs have produced the most number of Calder trophy winners, with 10 winners so far
  • Only 24 of the 32 NHL teams have produced players who have won the Rookie of the Year award
  • As of the end of the 2022-23 NHL season, 17 out of the 90 players to have won the Rookie of the Year award are still playing in the NHL
  • Thirty-five of the 90 winners of the Calder Memorial Trophy have been inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame


Finally, we have come to the end of this topic on the Calder Memorial trophy. The trophy is quite important in the NHL as it acts as a light for showing casing the potential a player has right from his first season in the league. 

Thanks for reading.

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