WILMINGTON, Mass. — Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask led the league in goals-against average and save percentage, and willed the Bruins into the playoffs despite the worst offense in the league, but those qualifications did nothing to impress the voters of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
The finalists were announced for the Calder Trophy today, and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Colorado’s Matt Duchesne and Buffalo’s Tyler Myers made the cut. I’ve already made my case for Rask’s inclusion over both Howard and Duchesne.My PWHA ballot ranked Rask just behind Myers and ahead of Howard.
Rask declined to speak with the media really for the first time since he arrived in the NHL. But star defenseman Zdeno Chara shared his thoughts on the way Rask has played, including during last night’s dramatic double-overtime win over Buffalo in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
“He again had an outstanding game, made some big saves and playing extremely well for us. He’s one of the reasons we are where we are,” said Chara.
Rask was obviously penalized by the voters for his lack of playing time in the first half of the season. Obviously, postseason performance is not a factor because the ballots were due just before the playoffs started.
So Rask is going to have to earn his own reward for fine play, first by finishing off Myers and the Sabres, and then by advancing deeper in the postseason than the other top rookies.
The Calder Trophy winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in June in Las Vegas.