It stands to reason that Original Six teams would dominate the field when tallying up the number of Calder Trophy finalists since the inception of that award in 1932-33. They had a three-decade or more edge on any of the other teams.
Just to be clear, the first Calder Trophy wasn’t presented until 1936-37, but the NHL did give out a top-rookie award in the four seasons prior to that. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll consider them all Calders. And this ranking of teams shows the dominating powers when it comes to the three top vote-getters, according to the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, each year. Greater weight has been given to a Calder win versus a second- or third-place finish.
The Montreal Canadiens typically dominate their Original Six cousins when it comes to statistical and award comparisons, but they sit a clear sixth here, whereas the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a Stanley Cup drought into its sixth decade, are Calder darlings in this study.
One of the most notable discoveries in this analysis is the fact the 20-year-old Nashville Predators, an organization that takes great pride in developing homegrown talent, have never produced a Calder Trophy finalist, whereas the Calgary Flames, a team now 46, have produced nine Calder finalists, including five winners.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs: From 1937 and Syl Apps, the top player in team history, to 2017 and Auston Matthews, the future No. 1 (?), the Buds have 10 Calders, 10 runners-up and six thirds.
2. Chicago Blackhawks: Goalies Mike Karakas, Tony Esposito and Ed Belfour have been among nine Calder-winning Hawks. Add four second-places and a league-high 10 bronzes.
3. New York Rangers:This is the 30th anniversary season of Brian Leetch’s Calder win in 1989. That’s the most recent of eight N.Y. wins. Six seconds and six third-place finishes.
4. Boston Bruins: Winners Sergei Samsonov and Andrew Raycroft are the B’s most recent Calder finalists. Boston’s eight wins, seven seconds and four thirds close to N.Y.
5. Detroit Red Wings: Carl Voss was NHL’s first Calder winner in 1933. Roger Crozier in 1965 was Wings’ fifth and most recent. A league-high 14 runners-up along with five thirds.
6. MontrealCanadiens: A rare category in which the Habs finish last among Original Six teams. Six Calders, eight seconds (including Brendan Gallagher) and seven thirds.
7. Calgary Flames: They’ve passed the six expansion teams from 1967. Rule-changer Sergei Makarov in 1990 was one of five Calder winners along with two seconds and two thirds.
8. New York Islanders: Another Calder specialist team, the Isles made it five Calders thanks to Mathew Barzal last season. Chico Resch was a runner-up to go along with three thirds.
9. Colorado Avalanche: The best team on a per-year basis, former Nords winners Peter Stastny and Peter Forsberg among five Calders. Paul Stastny was a runner-up and two thirds.
10. Buffalo Sabres: Gilbert Perreault, Tom Barrasso and Tyler Myers three very different Calder winners. Three runners-up in a 16-year stretch as well as a pair of thirds.
11. Dallas Stars: Danny Grant and Bobby Smith won Calders in Minnesota. Two seconds, most recently Mike Modano in 1990, and two thirds, all came before Dallas years.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins: Mario Lemieux and Evgeni Malkin won, Pierre Larouche and Sidney Crosby runners-up. Jordan Staal was lone third-place finisher same year as Malkin.
13. New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur and Scott Gomez nabbed Calder wins. Barry Beck was a runner-up in Colorado. Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique finished third.
14. Florida Panthers: The first of the recent era of expansion teams. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad won Calders while Ed Jovanovski and Kristian Huselius finished third.
15. Arizona Coyotes: Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne were triumphant Jets in Winnipeg. The only local flavor came last season when Clayton Keller placed third.
16. Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin was the first and only Cap to win. Ryan Walter, Jim Carey and Nicklas Backstrom were bridesmaids and Scott Stevens was third.
17. Vancouver Canucks: Pavel Bure was a glorious winner in 1992. Runners-up were Trevor Linden, prior to Bure, then Mattias Ohlund and Brock Boeser afterward.
18. Ottawa Senators: Daniel Alfredsson edged Eric Daze by a hair in 1996. Marian Hossa and Mark Stone were runners-up while Martin Havlat finished third in 2001.
19. San Jose Sharks: Evgeni Nabokov won in convincing fashion in 2001, while first-round picks Brad Stuart and Logan Couture earned second-place results.
20. Winnipeg Jets: Dany Heatley was a bright spot in Atlanta with his Calder win in 2002. That year, Ilya Kovalchuk finished second. Patrik Laine was a Winnipeg runner-up.
21. Los Angeles Kings: The Kings have won Calder gold (Luc Robitaille in 1987), silver (Larry Murphy in 1981) and bronze (Jimmy Carson in ’87, behind Robitaille).
22. St. Louis Blues: In 50-plus years of Calder votes, the Blues have Barret Jackman’s unlikely win in 2003 to show along with third-places for Jim Campbell and Wayne Babych.
23. Columbus Blue Jackets: Steve Mason had a storybook season in net for the Blue Jackets in 2008-09. Columbus also has a pair of third-places in Rick Nash and Zach Werenski.
24. Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner carries the torch as the lone Hartford Whaler/Hurricane to win the Calder. A quarter-century before him, Sylvain Turgeon came in third.
25. Philadelphia Flyers: Surprisingly, no Calder wins for the Flyers, but Bill Barber, Ron Hextall and Shayne Gostibehere were bridesmaids to go along with three thirds.
26. Edmonton Oilers: Jason Arnott and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were Calder runners-up, while Grant Fuhr and Connor McDavid, due to injury, had to settle for third place.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning: Brad Richards and Ondrej Palat were distant but solidly in second place in their rookie seasons. Tyler Johnson was third behind Palat.
28. Anaheim Ducks: Bobby Ryan got a handful of first-place votes but was second to Steve Mason in 2009. Paul Kariya was third behind Peter Forsberg and Jim Carey in 1995.
29. Nashville Predators: It’s a shock no Predator has been a Calder finalist in their 20 seasons. Best showing has been a pair of fourth-places by Pekka Rinne and Filip Forsberg.
30. Minnesota Wild: Same story with the Wild. Jonas Brodin was fourth in Minnesota’s best Calder result. Surprised to see Marian Gaborik just seventh in his rookie year.
31. Vegas Golden Knights The second-year expansion team is still looking for its first Calder vote. They need to be patient as it’s surely not going to come this season, either.