The Calder Trophy may be one of the league’s hardest trophies to capture, but it doesn’t come with a guarantee that its winner will be successful. Just ask Andrew Raycroft or Sergei Samsonov, two players whose careers never lived up to their rookie of the year hype.
What does Andrew Raycroft have that Patrick Roy, Jacques Plante and Dominik Hasek don’t? The same thing Brit Selby does and Rocket Richard, Bobby Hull, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky don’t: a Calder Trophy.
The award for NHL rookie of the year is prestigious, exclusive and possibly the toughest individual bauble to win. Players typically have just one crack at it. But the honoree in any given season doesn’t always prove to be the cream of his freshman crop, not in career distinction.
It’s not always a harbinger of future greatness. Check out these examples:
1947. Winner: Howie Meeker.
He dazzled in Toronto with 27 goals, including five in one game. Eventual best in class: Gordie Howe. Mr. Hockey had just seven of his 801 goals in Year 1.
1948. Winner: Jim McFadden.
The Red Wing was never able to match the 24 goals he had in his freshman year. Eventual best in class: Doug Harvey, the seven-time Norris Trophy winner began his big league journey with eight points in 35 games.
1950. Winner: Jack Gelineau.
A two-year wonder, Gelineau was the prototypical good goalie on a bad team. Eventual best in class: Bert Olmstead. Began his Hall-of-Fame career with a respectable 20 goals.
1955. Winner: Larry Reagan.
His best year was his first, a 14-goal showing for Boston. Eventual best in class: Pierre Pilote. Three Norrises, eight post-season all-star nods, zero Calders.
1966. Winner: Britt Selby.
Rookie stud who became a journeyman. Eventual best in class: Bernie Parent. Two Cups, two Conn Smythes.
1997. Winner: Bryan Berard.
Misfortune had a hand in limiting his career. Eventual best in class: Jarome Iginla.
2004. Winner: Andrew Raycroft.
‘Rayzor’ was viewed as the Bruins’ next great goaltender. Eventual best in class: Patrice Bergeron.
2009. Winner: Steve Mason.
He’s still writing his story, but he’s still striving to live up to the expectations set by his success in Year 1. Eventual best in class: Steven Stamkos. Or Drew Doughty. Or Jonathan Quick. Or Pekka Rinne. Or Claude Giroux.