Conventional wisdom says that Evgeni Malkin will be receiving the Calder trophy as the NHL rookie of the year at the end of the season. I admit he has played an outstanding season. Anze Kopitar is the other name sometimes mentioned. Here are the reasons everyone thinks they deserve it....
(These stats are based on all rookies who have played in 10 games or more this season and scored at least one point. You can see all these stats yourself on my cool google spreadsheet here)
POINTS PER GAME
Here's the real reason i think Malkin and Kopitar don't deserve it...
PLUS / MINUS RATING
I'll give you one guess who i think has earned it more at this point in the season...Alexander Radulov. Besides the above mentioned +/- stat, here are the other stats that support this argument...
POINTS PER MINUTE ON THE ICE
GOALS PER MINUTE ON THE ICE
Alexander Radulov (like Kopitar) is on a competitive team. The Penguins are fun to watch, but they aren't winning games and will not make the playoffs. The Predators meanwhile are fighting for position as one of the top 4 teams in the west and the league.
The only reason for Radulov to not be rookie of the year is that Malkin and Kopitar get far more ice time than Radulov per game (Malkin, 20:11 - Kopitar 20:29 - Radulov 10:19). This is strange reasoning, but i will admit that this stat could be a disadvantage when voting begins, though i'm not sure it should be that way.
To me, the plus/minus stat is huge - Malkin and especially Kopitar are huge liabilities to their teams when on the ice. Radulov meanwhile has a +11 rank. Good for any player. Great for a rookie.
Will Radulov get the award? Only way that will happen is if Malkin gets hurt or just goes cold, which i don't think is going to happen.
But hey, the league owes Pittsburgh the Calder trophy that Sydney Crosby should have gotten in the 05-06 season. (Ovechkin was given the award because the year that should have been his rookie year, 04-05, was canceled due to lockout, giving him an extra year in the minors to develop). That, plus the fact that the NHL wants the Penguins to be as high-profile as possible to make them harder to move given their recent ownership issues.
And after all...we're "just Nashville".