Kubalik led all NHL rookies with 30 goals and was ranked third with 46 points in 68 games played.
Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Dominik Kubalik was named one of three finalists for the 2019-20 Calder Trophy on Wednesday, which is annually awarded to the NHL’s top rookie. Kubalik joined Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Vancouver Canucks’ defenseman Quinn Hughes as the three nominees for the award.
“It’s an honor. I just couldn’t believe it,” Kubalik said. “Coming from Europe, obviously you have some goals, but you don’t think you could be a finalist for something like that. It’s just great.”
While Kubalik more than likely will not win the award after dominant seasons from both Makar and Hughes, that certainly should not take away from his stellar first NHL campaign. Not only did Kubalik lead all rookies in goals, but his 26 tallies at even strength were the most on the Blackhawks, and also the eighth-most in the entire league. Not to mention that in the last 20 years, only three rookies have scored more than 26 goals at even strength: Auston Matthews (32), Alex Ovechkin (30), and Patrik Laine (27). Not bad company.
Even more incredible is that Kubalik managed to have that productive of a rookie season while averaging just 14:22 time on ice per game. To put that into perspective, only Boston’s David Pastrnak, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, New York’s Mika Zibanejad, and Toronto’s Auston Matthews finished with more goals scored per 60 minutes than Kubalik.
The Blackhawks 24-year-old Czech winger is their first Calder Trophy nominee since Artemi Panarin, who took home the award back in 2016. Only eight other players in franchise history have won the Calder Trophy: Mike Karakas (1936), Cully Dahlstrom (1938), Ed Litzenberger (1955), William Hay (1960), Tony Esposito (1970), Steve Larmer (1983), Ed Belfour (1991), and Patrick Kane (2008).
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