LANDSLIDE FOR LANDESKOG?

Robin Brownlee
March 26 2012 08:45PM

While it's not surprising an overwhelming number of fans of the Edmonton Oilers consider Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the favourite to win the Calder Trophy, most Western Conference coaches think Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog is the top rookie of 2011-2012.

In an informal poll of 11 coaches – Tom Renney of the Oilers and Joe Sacco of Colorado weren't included – done by TSN's Bob McKenzie, nine coaches gave Landeskog the nod while just two went with Nugent-Hopkins. The link to the TSN video is here.

Nugent-Hopkins, who doesn't celebrate his 19th birthday until April 12, leads all rookie scorers with 18-31-49 despite missing 20 of the 76 games the Oilers have played. He's even in plus-minus and has averaged 17:36 of ice time per game.

Landeskog, 19, taken second overall in the 2011 Entry Draft right behind Nugent-Hopkins, is second in rookie scoring with 22-26-48 in 77 games. He's plus-19 and is averaging 18:34 of ice time per game.

DIFFERENT PLAYERS

It could be easily argued that Nugent-Hopkins would be running away with the rookie scoring race if hadn't missed 20 games with shoulder injuries, but the vote – which will be done by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association in all 30 NHL cities – isn't about what-ifs?

Point totals and PPG aside, the prevailing view from behind the bench seems to be that the rugged Landeskog brings more dimensions to the Avalanche than Nugent-Hopkins does to the Oilers. McKenzie puts it this way:

"Some duly noted that if Nugent-Hopkins hadn't lost the 20 games to injuries, perhaps their vote would have been different, but Landeskog's physical presence, his all-around game and the leadership won out over Nugent-Hopkins world-class skill, vision and ability to run one of the top power plays in the NHL."

If the PHWA membership sees it the same way as nine of the 11 coaches TSN polled did when it comes time to vote, the Oilers will have to wait awhile longer before one of their rookies gets his name engraved on the silverware.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 PaperDesigner
March 27 2012, 03:28PM
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So Landeskog is physical. And, the point being...?

The NHL think tank awards far too many style points for being an effective physical player through brute physicality. It's not that that doesn't have value, but if you gave NHL coaches the choice between an effective physical player who won his battles with his strength and aggression versus a slightly better player who was under six feet and won those battles with quickness and guile, they'd take the former every time. When coaches talk about a physical dimension, sometimes I wonder if they realize that there's only two dimensions to the game--offense and defense. If you advance the puck well, regardless of how you do it, you deserve a role. But coaches and GMs don't think that way, which seems to be why Omark is going to get flushed, despite being arguably better than some of the larger bodies that will remain on this roster (and if he isn't better, they certainly haven't given him time to prove it).

Landeskog is having a nice season. Nugent-Hopkins is having a season that would put him in the top twenty five in NHL scoring if he had a full season to work with, and doing it at a position that requires more defensive duties to begin with. Who's more impressive? The player who's already approaching elite level talent in his rookie year.

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#102 Team Hall
March 27 2012, 03:46PM
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That is a bunch of bs if you ask me. Oh, so Landeskog is a well rounded player, so even though his ppg sucks compared to Nuge, he should get it? I seem to recall that Kane won it in his year despite never being called well rounded in his life.

Points are basically all that have mattered in that race in the past 65 years. Why start now with the well rounded talk? Horcoff was pretty well rounded when he came in the league, shouldnt he have won it also?

BS.

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#103 DSF
March 27 2012, 06:02PM
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Team Hall wrote:

That is a bunch of bs if you ask me. Oh, so Landeskog is a well rounded player, so even though his ppg sucks compared to Nuge, he should get it? I seem to recall that Kane won it in his year despite never being called well rounded in his life.

Points are basically all that have mattered in that race in the past 65 years. Why start now with the well rounded talk? Horcoff was pretty well rounded when he came in the league, shouldnt he have won it also?

BS.

Phhhhttt...

"well rounded" Horcoff scored 9 goals and 7 assists in his rookie season.

Kane scored 21 goals and 72 points as a rookie.

Hopkins is only 22 points off the pace.

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#104 Archaeologuy
March 27 2012, 06:14PM
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@DSF

Give Nuge those 21 games back and that Gap is a lot smaller

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#105 DSF
March 27 2012, 06:39PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Give Nuge those 21 games back and that Gap is a lot smaller

Maybe.

The Calder isn't decided on maybe.

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#106 Josep
March 27 2012, 07:07PM
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I was listening to Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault being interviewed and they ask him what he thought of Landeskog he replied he is easily the best rookie he is a man already.

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#107 BlacqueJacque
March 27 2012, 07:26PM
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PaperDesigner wrote:

So Landeskog is physical. And, the point being...?

The NHL think tank awards far too many style points for being an effective physical player through brute physicality. It's not that that doesn't have value, but if you gave NHL coaches the choice between an effective physical player who won his battles with his strength and aggression versus a slightly better player who was under six feet and won those battles with quickness and guile, they'd take the former every time. When coaches talk about a physical dimension, sometimes I wonder if they realize that there's only two dimensions to the game--offense and defense. If you advance the puck well, regardless of how you do it, you deserve a role. But coaches and GMs don't think that way, which seems to be why Omark is going to get flushed, despite being arguably better than some of the larger bodies that will remain on this roster (and if he isn't better, they certainly haven't given him time to prove it).

Landeskog is having a nice season. Nugent-Hopkins is having a season that would put him in the top twenty five in NHL scoring if he had a full season to work with, and doing it at a position that requires more defensive duties to begin with. Who's more impressive? The player who's already approaching elite level talent in his rookie year.

It's not that Landeskog is physical.

It's that he's utterly dominant. He's a rookie leading his team in +/-, and it's not even *close*. He's +20. Ryan Wilson plays D and is +12. The next-best forward to have played as many games as Landeskog is Ryan O'Reilly who is +2. And it just goes downhill from there. Matt Duchene is the worst of the name players, -9. Jan Hejda, former Oilers superstar, is an atrocious, team-worst -15.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.

http://avalanche.nhl.com/club/stats.htm?gameType=2&season=20112012&srt=pm

Cam Neely come again. Not that big - only 6'1 205-210 - but unbelievably strong, quite fast and agile, but above all smart and has great reflexes and heart.

And decades hence, Oilers fans will wonder "What if we'd had Seguin and Landeskog?"

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#108 Archaeologuy
March 27 2012, 07:36PM
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DSF wrote:

Maybe.

The Calder isn't decided on maybe.

That's why I think Landeskog probably wins.

But no, not maybe. Definitely.

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#109 DSF
March 27 2012, 08:08PM
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BlacqueJacque wrote:

It's not that Landeskog is physical.

It's that he's utterly dominant. He's a rookie leading his team in +/-, and it's not even *close*. He's +20. Ryan Wilson plays D and is +12. The next-best forward to have played as many games as Landeskog is Ryan O'Reilly who is +2. And it just goes downhill from there. Matt Duchene is the worst of the name players, -9. Jan Hejda, former Oilers superstar, is an atrocious, team-worst -15.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.

http://avalanche.nhl.com/club/stats.htm?gameType=2&season=20112012&srt=pm

Cam Neely come again. Not that big - only 6'1 205-210 - but unbelievably strong, quite fast and agile, but above all smart and has great reflexes and heart.

And decades hence, Oilers fans will wonder "What if we'd had Seguin and Landeskog?"

This.

And Landeskog has 258 SOG (Hopkins has 140)

If Landeskog works on his shot and can get up to an average 12%, he'll be a 35 goal scorer.

God help us all.

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#110 Oiler Al
March 28 2012, 03:42PM
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Edmonton Media not promoting RNH enough. You listen to the Avs' play by play , feed, and its all Landeskog. Sometimes I think he;s not on the ice and they are stilll raving about it. Dont hear that from the Oilers Sportsnet pxp crew.

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#111 JDC
April 08 2012, 06:11AM
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that's the biggest joke I've ever heard.. If they give the Calder to Landeskog that'd be the biggest mistake the NHL has ever made... 20 less games played, on a MUCH worse team. If he would have been healthy, yes maybe Landeskog would have lead in +/- (like I said MUCH worse team, facing MUCH tough opponents) but he would have had 8-12 points more.. And thats NOT A MAYBE 100% GUARENTEE!! And that shows head over heals who's better. Calder Trophies 90% of the time is awarded for points and points alone, and with how many less GP Hopkins has. It's VERY clear who the rookie of the year is!!!!! And I'm an Oil/Avs fan equally!!!

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#112 JDC
April 08 2012, 06:25AM
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Calder's have NEVER been awarded for +/-, EVER!!!!! Landeskog has the benefit of being on a better team, that's your only arguement? Lol, he wasn't playing Duchene who was playing the other team's first line (Like Hopkins was) Landeskog was facing the other teams second line 75% of the season, that's why his +/- was better, and I'll say it again and again , Calder's aren't awarded for +/-, 90% of the time it's awarded for points DUMMIES! So get over it!!!!

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#113 JDC
April 08 2012, 06:36AM
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You can say Myers won it for his two way play, but that's only 20% true, he won it because he was playing in his own end (10% the reason he won it) (because he's a D-man!!) AND because he was a D-man, near the rookie lead in POINTS!! (90% the reason he won it)!!!!

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#114 JDC
April 08 2012, 12:26PM
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I've said it before n I'll say it again, if Hopkins doesn't win, the award should never be given out for points ever again, it should be given out for +/-, defensive play, and physical readiness. Because those are the only stats that Landeskog has over RNH. The award should never be given out for points anymore.

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