2000 Calder Trophy Candidates Directly From CHL

By Jonathan Litterine
Every year in the NHL they have their annual awards show after the Stanley Cup Finals are over. And usually the same guys, like the Jagr’s take home trophies every year. Yet one award that is never won by the same guy more than once is the Calder Trophy. Given to the NHL’s annual Rookie of the Year. It seems nowadays though that pretty much all of the candidates for this award are supplied from the CHL or a few like Mike York of the Rangers, are from college’s around the United States. This year’s winner of the award Scott Gomez of the New Jersey Devils had 70 points this year as a rookie. Most in the league by a rookie since 1993. And for the past couple years Gomez harnessed his game with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. Gomez was a huge producer with Tri-City in the 98-99 finishing with 30 goals and 78 assists for 108 points in 58 games. Yet Gomez was still a late first round pick being selected 27th overall by the Devils in the 98 Entry Draft. Obviously no one expected this kind of offensive outburst from Gomez. Yet perhaps others like Tim Connolly of the Islanders and an Erie Otters native was rushed to the NHL due to a lack of offense on Long Island. Yet guys like Connolly and Halifax Mooseheads product Alex Tanguay continued to put up numbers and show flashes of brilliance in the first campaign. Other guys with big time first season’s were Simon Gagne of the Flyers, who was moved along from the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. Brendan Morrow who played in Dallas this year and before that was a member of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. And defenseman Brad Stuart who spent part of his WHL time with the Calgary Hitmen and Regina Pats. In my mind without Stuart this year San Jose never would have reached the playoffs. So what do we expect next year? It’s hard to say now, considering we don’t know who will play in the NHL or who will be returned to their junior team. All we know for sure is that the CHL is turning into the place for National Hockey League teams to find their young talent, who will hopefully someday take home all those trophies like Mr.Jagr.