Calder Memorial Trophy

The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded annually “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.” The trophy is named for Frank Calder, who was president of the NHL from 1917 to 1943. The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season and is awarded after the Stanley Cup playoffs. Among players who have won the trophy and gone on to stardom are Terry Sawchuk, Bernie Geoffrion, Frank Mahovlich, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and Martin Brodeur.

Frank Calder

Frank Calder (1877–1943), president of the National Hockey League, circa 1930. Photo scanned from The Storied Province of Quebec, by William Wood et al., The Dominion Publishing Company, Toronto, 1931, volume III, p. 116.

Calder Trophy History

In 1933, Carl Voss was named top rookie in the NHL, becoming the first player to receive that honour. However, there was no trophy for rookies until the 1936–37 season, when NHL president Frank Calder presented one to Syl Apps.

“Syl Apps Voted Season’s Outstanding Rookie”

Syl Apps of Toronto Maple Leafs, ready for his first taste of playoff fire, became officially the best rookie of the National Hockey League season last night with announcement by the Canadian Press that the Paris, Ont., boy headed its annual poll of hockey writers in N.H.L. cities.

Apps, 21-year-old centre and former Olympic pole vaulter, will be the first holder of the Calder trophy, an award offered by President Frank Calder of the N.H.L. for the best newcomer of each season. Selection of the Toronto sensation was almost unanimous.

Outstanding star of Hamilton’s senior amateur team a year ago, Apps was signed by Manager Conny Smythe of the Leafs after the big McMaster University graduate returned from Berlin where he tied for sixth place in the Olympic games pole vault last summer. In his first professional hockey season he was the league’s second highest point-maker.

(The Globe and Mail, 23 March 1937, p. 19)


Between 1937 and 1943, Calder purchased a trophy each year to be given to the top rookie. After his death in February 1943, the award was renamed the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Calder Memorial Trophy

Calder Memorial Trophy on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The trophy is awarded annually to the NHL's top rookie.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Calder Memorial Trophy, a player cannot have previously played more than 25 regular season games in any preceding season in a major professional league. They also cannot have played in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons. These eligibility rules affected the awarding of the trophy for the 1979–80 season, when Wayne Gretzky would have seemed an obvious choice for the Calder Memorial Trophy. In his rookie season with the NHL, he scored 137 points and tied Marcel Dionne as points leader. This far surpassed the previous rookie record of 95 points, which was set by Bryan Trottier in 1975–76. However, Gretzky was not eligible for the award, because he had played a full season in the World Hockey Association in 1978–79. Instead, Ray Bourque received the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1980, even though he had scored only 65 points that season.

Age also affects eligibility. Players must be no more than 26 years old by 15 September of their rookie season to be eligible for the trophy. This rule came into effect in the 1990–91 season. The previous year, Sergei Makarov of the Calgary Flames had won the trophy at 31 years of age. He is the oldest player to win the Calder Memorial Trophy. 

Red Dutton and Gus Bodnar, 1944

NHL president Red Dutton presents Gus Bodnar with the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1944.

Calder Memorial Trophy Winners

Year Player Team
1933 Carl Voss Detroit Red Wings
1934 Russ Blinco Montreal Maroons
1935 David “Sweeney” Schriner New York Americans
1936 Mike Karakas Chicago Blackhawks
1937 Syl Apps Toronto Maple Leafs
1938 Carl “Cully” Dahlstrom Chicago Black Hawks
1939 Frank Brimsek Boston Bruins
1940 James “Kilby” MacDonald New York Rangers
1941 Johnny Quilty Montreal Canadiens
1942 Grant Warwick New York Rangers
1943 Gaye Stewart Toronto Maple Leafs
1944 Gus Bodnar Toronto Maple Leafs
1945 Frank McCool Toronto Maple Leafs
1946 Edgar Laprade New York Rangers
1947 Howie Meeker Toronto Maple Leafs
1948 Jim McFadden Detroit Red Wings
1949 Pentti Lund New York Rangers
1950 Jack Gelineau Boston Bruins
1951 Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings
1952 Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens
1953 Lorne “Gump” Worsley New York Rangers
1954 Camille Henry New York Rangers
1955 Ed Litzenberger Chicago Black Hawks
1956 Glenn Hall Detroit Red Wings
1957 Larry Regan Boston Bruins
1958 Frank Mahovlich Toronto Maple Leafs
1959 Ralph Backstrom Montreal Canadiens
1960 Bill Hay Chicago Black Hawks
1961 Dave Keon Toronto Maple Leafs
1962 Bobby Rousseau Montreal Canadiens
1963 Kent Douglas Toronto Maple Leafs
1964 Jacques Laperriere Montreal Canadiens
1965 Roger Crozier Detroit Red Wings
1966 Brit Selby Toronto Maple Leafs
1967 Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
1968 Derek Sanderson Boston Bruins
1969 Danny Grant Minnesota North Stars
1970 Tony Esposito Chicago Black Hawks
1971 Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres
1972 Ken Dryden Montreal Canadiens
1973 Steve Vickers New York Rangers
1974 Denis Potvin New York Islanders
1975 Eric Vail Atlanta Flames
1976 Bryan Trottier New York Islanders
1977 Willi Plett Atlanta Flames
1978 Mike Bossy New York Islanders
1979 Bobby Smith Minnesota North Stars
1980 Ray Bourque Boston Bruins
1981 Peter Stastny Quebec Nordiques
1982 Dale Hawerchuk Winnipeg Jets
1983 Steve Larmer Chicago Black Hawks
1984 Tom Barrasso Buffalo Sabres
1985 Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins
1986 Gary Suter Calgary Flames
1987 Luc Robitaille Los Angeles Kings
1988 Joe Nieuwendyk Calgary Flames
1989 Brian Leetch New York Rangers
1990 Sergei Makarov Calgary Flames
1991 Ed Belfour Chicago Blackhawks
1992 Pavel Bure Vancouver Canucks
1993 Teemu Selanne Winnipeg Jets
1994 Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils
1995 Peter Forsberg Quebec Nordiques
1996 Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators
1997 Bryan Berard New York Islanders
1998 Sergei Samsonov Boston Bruins
1999 Chris Drury Colorado Avalanche
2000 Scott Gomez New Jersey Devils
2001 Evgeni Nabokov San Jose Sharks
2002 Dany Heatley Atlanta Thrashers
2003 Barret Jackman St. Louis Blues
2004 Andrew Raycroft Boston Bruins
2005 Season cancelled due to lockout
2006 Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
2007 Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
2008 Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
2009 Steve Mason Columbus Blue Jackets
2010 Tyler Myers Buffalo Sabres
2011 Jeff Skinner Carolina Hurricanes
2012 Gabriel Landeskog Colorado Avalanche
2013 Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers
2014 Nathan MacKinnon Colorado Avalanche
2015 Aaron Ekblad Florida Panthers
2016 Artemi Panarin Chicago Blackhawks
2017 Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
2018 Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Howie Meeker

Howie Meeker was presented with the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1947.


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