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Mathew Barzal (CBS Sports)

Hockey

Mathew Barzal named finalist for Calder Trophy

In probably the least surprising news of the NHL season, Mathew Barzal was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy.  The Calder Trophy is the award given to the NHL’s top rookie during the regular season.

Barzal is joined by Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes and Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks.  It should be an easy decision, but all three candidates are well deserving.

After being sent down after just two games during the 2016-17 season, Barzal lit up the league with 85 points.  He compiled 22 goals and 63 assists, and was usually the most dynamic player on the ice at any given time.  He is the future of the Islanders with or without John Tavares, and he’s going to turn into a perennial All-Star and maybe a Hall of Famer down the road.

It’s very tough putting those kind of expectations on the 20 year old, but he deserves all the praise he can get.  Garth Snow actually hit it out of the park with this pick, taking Barzal with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 draft.  Barzal has swagger, some serious skating skills, and a knack for the dramatic.  He is a game changing forward and will continue to improve as the years go by.

It’s an incredible honor to win the Calder Trophy, and he will surely do so at the NHL Awards after the Stanley Cup playoffs end.  It’s not the end that Barzal imagined but the Calder will be the icing on the cake of a great season.  Hopefully by next year the Islanders will be able to get back to the Stanley Cup playoffs and Barzal will be going for a trophy a little more prestigious.  Until then, he’ll relish in victory as he wins the Calder Trophy and will continue to be one of the best young players in the league.

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