When the NHL announced the 2019-20 Calder Memorial Trophy finalists on Wednesday, Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov did not make the list, despite an incredible rookie season.
The honor bestowed to the NHL’s rookie of the year will either go to Vancouver Canucks’ Quinn Hughes, Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar or Chicago Blackhawks' Dominik Kubalik. And while those three are all incredibly deserving of the award, Samsonov’s rookie performance couldn’t have left him far out of the running.
Samsonov posted a 16-6-2 record in his rookie season, starting 22 of the 26 games he played. He recorded 689 saves on the year, allowed 2.55 goals per game and charted a .913 save percentage overall.
However, Samsonov’s most impressive feat was his 11-game win streak that lasted from Nov. 30 to Jan. 31. After starting with a 5-2-1 record, he went on to win his next 11 games, posting a .936 save percentage across those matchups. He is just the third rookie ever to do so and one of four goalies to ever win 16 of their first 20 career games.
Despite his impressive run, Samsonov was not selected as a finalist over the other three star rookies. Hughes led all rookie with 53 points (as a defenseman) and became just the third rookie to ever do so. He recorded 21:53 of ice time on average –– the second most of any Canucks player.
Makar missed some time this season, playing just 57 games, but still managed to finish second in points for rookies behind Hughes. He averaged .88 points per game as a defenseman –– a rare achievement for a rookie only accomplished twice before.
Finally, Kubalik led all rookies with 30 goals in 68 games. While he isn’t favored to win the award, he certainly posted an impressive stat line this season.
Each of the finalists’ teams will take part in the 24-team Stanley Cup Qualifiers starting at the end of the month, allowing their star rookies to showcase their talent once more. A winner will be announced during the Conference Finals.
Samsonov’s rough patch toward the end of the regular season where he was winless in his final six games didn’t help his case. But his impressive accomplishments early this year are noteworthy.
Additionally, a goaltender has not won the Calder Trophy since Steve Mason in 2008-09.
Alex Ovechkin was the only Capital to ever win the award in 2005-06. Nicklas Backstrom, Jim Carey, Scott Stevens and Ryan Walter were all runners-up.
Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS: