Mathew Barzal’s spectacular freshman season culminated this evening when he was the unanimous choice for the Calder Memorial Trophy at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
Barzal became the fifth rookie in New York Islanders history to win the award. He joined an elite list that features Hall of Famers Denis Potvin (1974), Bryan Trottier (1976), Mike Bossy (1978), and longtime d-man Bryan Berard (1997).
“It’s an honor to get this award,” Barzal said. “I want to thank all my teammates this year, all my coaches, our owners, and our passionate New York Islanders fans for everything you did this year for me. I wouldn’t be up here this year if it wasn’t for any of you guys.”
The Isles first-year forward as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) beat out fellow newcomers Brock Boeser and Clayton Keller with 160 of 164 first-place votes.
Barzal totaled an astounding 85 points this season, tops for any rookie NHLer. His 85 points were tops on the Isles and made him the first rookie to have at least 20 goals and 60 helpers since Penguins captain Sidney Crosby accomplished the same feat in his first year in 2005-06. Barzal’s point total was also 20 points more than his fellow freshman — Phoenix’s Clayton Keller (65).
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) June 21, 2018
“It’s an amazing honor to win the Calder Trophy,” Barzal told the media after receiving the award. “The players that have won this award, within the Islanders organization & others around the league, includes Hall of Fame players & Stanley Cup Champions. To have my name next to those guys in the record books is very humbling.”
The 2015 first round pick had a slow start to the for the Islanders a few weeks into the season. But once he found his footing, it was full speed ahead.
Barzal instantly became the Isles biggest offensive threat next to John Tavares. He became a playmaking machine with his tremendous speed and skill. So much so, that he recorded 63 assists, tying Isles legend Bryan Trottier’s mark that has stood since 1975-76. Barzal also showed he wasn’t just an elite passer, but an underrated scorer notching 22 goals — fourth most on the team.
The now Calder winner has MVP potential in the near future, but it was Barzal’s roots that have got him to where he now stands.
“This award goes out to my Mom, Dad, and sister who are here with me today. This just wouldn’t be possible, I wouldn’t be standing here or playing in the NHL if it wasn’t for you guys.”