The NHL Calder Trophy is a prestigious accolade that shines a spotlight on the league’s most promising rookies, and each year, a new hockey prodigy emerges to claim this coveted prize.
In this article, we will journey through time, revisiting some of the past Calder Trophy winners, and showcasing their remarkable journeys from rookies to stars. Join us as we celebrate these exceptional players who have left an indelible mark on the National Hockey League.
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Calder Memorial Trophy Winners
Matty Beniers – 2023: A Rising Star from Massachusetts
The year 2023 witnessed the emergence of Matty Beniers, a young sensation hailing from Hingham, Massachusetts. This talented center won the Calder Trophy after an outstanding debut season with the Seattle Kraken.
Born on November 5, 2002, Beniers showcased his skills in college hockey while representing the University of Michigan. His contributions played a pivotal role in his team’s journey to the 2021 NCAA Frozen Four. Moreover, Beniers demonstrated his prowess on the international stage, securing a gold medal for the United States at the 2021 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
Wearing the number 10 jersey, Matty Beniers made an immediate impact in the NHL, amassing an impressive record of 12 goals and 18 assists in his rookie season as of March 2023.
Moritz Seider – 2022: A German Dynamo in Detroit
In 2022, Moritz Seider, a native of Zell, Germany, won the Calder Trophy while playing for the Detroit Red Wings. Born on April 6, 2001, Seider made history by becoming the first German player to receive the NHL Rookie of the Year award.
Seider’s rookie season was nothing short of spectacular, leading all rookie defensemen in assists (43) and points (50) while notching 7 goals during the 2021-22 season. His outstanding performance extended beyond the NHL as he represented the German national team at the 2021 World Championship, leaving an indelible mark as one of the tournament’s standout players.
Kirill Kaprizov – 2021: A Russian Sensation
In 2021, Kirill Kaprizov, a highly talented player from Russia, captured the hearts of hockey enthusiasts with his extraordinary skills. As a left winger for the Minnesota Wild, Kirill made an immediate impact by achieving a historic feat – becoming the first player ever to score three points, including an overtime goal, in his debut NHL game.
Throughout his rookie season, Kaprizov consistently exceeded expectations, leading the league in goals, assists, and points. He shattered records set by legendary players like Marian Gaborik, cementing his status as a formidable force in the NHL.
Kirill’s remarkable abilities extended beyond the NHL, as he proudly represented Russia in various international competitions, winning medals at prestigious events such as the Winter Olympics and the World Championship.
Cale Makar – 2020: A Defensive Dynamo in Colorado
The year 2020 witnessed the rise of Cale Makar, an exceptional defenseman playing for the Colorado Avalanche. Born on October 30, 1998, in Calgary, Makar showcased his potential while playing for the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Makar’s list of accolades includes the NCAA First All-Star accolade during the 2018-2019 season and several remarkable achievements at the NHL level. Supporters and organizations have high hopes for him, viewing him as a gifted and promising young player with a bright future ahead.
His notable recognitions include the 2020-21 NHL Second All-Star Team, the 2020-21 NHL Best Defenseman Award, and a 2021 IIHF World Championship gold medal with Team Canada.
Elias Pettersson – 2019: Sweden’s Shining Star
Elias Pettersson, a gifted professional hockey player from Sweden, proudly represents the Vancouver Canucks. Born on November 12, 1998, Pettersson had an outstanding debut season by leading all rookies in goals, assists, and points, earning him the Calder Trophy in 2019.
Pettersson’s international contributions include winning a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championship while representing Sweden. Additionally, he secured a thrilling overtime goal against Germany in 2017, securing a silver medal in the World Junior Championship.
Pettersson’s remarkable performance and achievements exhibit his exceptional skill and establish him as one of the league’s brightest stars.
Mathew Barzal – 2018: The Islanders’ Standout
In 2018, Mathew Barzal won the Calder Trophy with the New York Islanders. His impressive debut season saw him scoring 85 points, the highest among all rookies.
During the 2019-20 season, Barzal’s outstanding performance earned him a spot in the NHL All-Star team. He also set a franchise record for the most points in a single season by a center, collecting 85 points.
Barzal’s international contributions include winning a gold medal at the 2018 World Junior Championship and a silver medal at the 2019 IIHF World Championship while representing Canada.
Auston Matthews – 2017: The Maple Leafs’ Scoring Sensation
Auston Matthews, a skilled professional hockey player from the United States, proudly dons the jersey of the Toronto Maple Leafs. His remarkable rookie season saw him scoring four goals in his first NHL game and ultimately winning the Calder Trophy in 2017.
Matthews has set numerous records for the Maple Leafs, including the most goals (40) scored by a rookie. He has consistently been among the league’s top scorers.
Matthews has also represented the United States in international competitions like the IIHF World Championship and the World Cup of Hockey.
Artemi Panarin – 2016: Russia’s NHL Star
Artemi Panarin, a Russian hockey player, made a phenomenal impact since his debut in the NHL during the 2015-2016 season. Currently playing for the New York Rangers, Panarin became the first Russian player to receive the Calder Trophy in 2016.
Panarin’s remarkable performance included scoring 30 goals and assisting in 47, resulting in a total of 77 points. He has also represented Russia in various international competitions, including the IIHF World Championship, contributing to gold and silver medal wins.
Furthermore, Panarin showcased his abilities in the World Cup of Hockey held in 2016, helping propel Russia to the semifinals.
Aaron Ekblad – 2015: Defensive Excellence in Florida
Aaron Ekblad, hailing from Canada, plays for the Florida Panthers. In 2015, he joined the illustrious list of Calder Trophy winners, becoming only the second defenseman in NHL history to receive this esteemed award.
During that season, Ekblad scored 12 goals, contributed to 27 assists, and accumulated an overall sum of 39 points. His impressive plus-minus rating, a measure of defensive efficiency, stood at a commendable +12.
Ekblad has represented Canada in international competitions, aiding his team in securing a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2015.
Ekblad’s career showcases remarkable achievements, and he continues to exhibit his dominance and influence as an outstanding player on the ice.
Nathan MacKinnon – 2014: A Dynamic Force for Colorado
In 2014, Nathan MacKinnon emerged victorious in the Calder Trophy race, triumphing over fellow candidates Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. MacKinnon, playing for the Colorado Avalanche, had an exceptional first season, scoring 24 goals and assisting in 39, accumulating an impressive 63 points.
Known for his lightning speed, agility, and exceptional skating and playmaking abilities, MacKinnon has continued to be a dynamic force for the Avalanche. His achievements include lifting the Stanley Cup in 2022.
Beyond his domestic success, MacKinnon has represented Canada internationally and contributed to various medal wins, including a gold medal at the IIHF World Championship in 2015.
In conclusion, the Calder Trophy has been a launchpad for many hockey legends, and each year, the league welcomes a new generation of exceptional talent. These players have not only made their mark in the NHL but have also contributed to international glory for their respective countries. As we celebrate the past winners, we eagerly anticipate the future stars who will carry on this rich tradition of excellence in the National Hockey League.