Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Awards Finalist Schedule: Calder Nominees

So there is your schedule of announcing the finalists for each of the 2009 season awards.

Today's is the Calder Trophy for this season's best rookie. It started off as Derrick Brassard's trophy to lose, until he got hurt that is, and Steve Mason willed the Blue Jackets into their first playoff appearance. Bobby Ryan sure made a late season charge, but will it be enough?

Your nominees: Steve Mason, Bobby Ryan, Kris Versteeg

BanginPanger's Pick: Steve Mason

Duhhhhhhhhhh. Here's's bio, because I don't feel like writing it myself.
Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets -- To put it in historical context, Mason's rookie season rivaled or exceeded those of Calder winners Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Tony Esposito, Roger Crozier, Glenn Hall, Terry Sawchuk and Frankie Brimsek. His 10 shutouts led the NHL, the first rookie leader since Esposito had 15 in 1970.

Mason ranked second with a 2.29 save percentage, eighth with 3,664 minutes, ninth with 33 wins, 10th with 61 games and 11th with a .916 save percentage. He led all rookie goalies in every category except save percentage, finishing second to the .917 posted by Nashville's Pekka Rinne, whose fine season included seven shutouts.

Mason started the season with the AHL Syracuse Crunch after knee surgery last April. He was called up after six games and won his first three starts. Mason was 9-5-1 after stopping 48 shots, his season high, in a Dec. 17 win over the San Jose Sharks. His season best four-game winning streak from Dec. 27-Jan. 2 included three shutouts.

Mason got better as the season went along. He had a 2.72 GAA after five games, but had it down to a season-low 1.66 on Jan. 2. While it rose to 2.29 at season's end, his save percentage remained the same since Feb. 21, suggesting he was consistent and playing a little better than his teammates.

Mason won three games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings after the NHL All-Star Game, including a 46-save effort March 7 in an 8-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena that his coach considers the most important in franchise history.

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