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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Should Cole Sillinger Have Been Given More Respect In Calder Trophy Voting?

The 2021-22 NHL awards have been given out, and the Blue Jackets were not well-represented.

That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given the team’s lack of success, but I thought that at least one player may have gotten at least some recognition. 

Cole Sillinger was the youngest player in the NHL in 2021-22, a surprise pick to make the Blue Jackets roster, much less play a full season. He played 79 games and posted 16-15-31. He turned 19 last month, and his future couldn’t be brighter.

While it would be overly optimistic to suggest that Sillinger should have been a finalist for the award – this was an incredibly strong rookie class – I thought he may have been given at least one top-five vote.

Alas, he was not, and the above tweet shows the breakdown of the 14 rookies who received at least one top-five vote. One thing that sticks out when reviewing these 14 rookies is the age of the players.

Michael Bunting and Alex Nedeljkovic (26) are at the extreme end of the age eligibility spectrum, but others, like Alexandre Carrier (25), Tanner Jeannot (24), and even Jeremy Swayman (23) are in a different development stage as young Sillinger.

At the other end of the spectrum, Lucas Raymond and Seth Jarvis were both in their 19-year-old seasons, and five more of the 14 were 20 years of age. That seems appropriate and is intuitive. Sillinger was simply ahead of schedule.

Was Sillinger slighted?  

Perhaps, but not in a major way. Maybe it’s just a flawed award, that groups 18-year-olds with 26-year-olds, and at the end of the day, who really cares? But because the Blue Jackets were (rightfully) shut out (Note: Oliver Bjorkstrand finished T-51st in the Lady Byng Trophy voting) of awards, it would have been nice for a player who was a bright spot to be recognized.

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