Grabner, who led all NHL rookies with 34 goals in 2010-11, is joined on the short list by Carolina Hurricanes young gun Jeff Skinner and the San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture. The hype surrounding the latter two has been fairly substantial on the national scale, so you would assume Grabner is the underdog, though his 52-point campaign certainly makes him no less deserving. Perhaps most impressive is his plus-13 rating on a team that was outscored by 35 goals this season.
The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, which may further hurt Grabner's chances. Members of the New York and New Jersey chapters of the PWHA, those who should be most familiar with Grabner's solid season, boycotted the voting in protest of the revocation of blogger Chris Botta's press credential by the Islanders this season.
The winner will be announced at the NHL award show, June 22, in Las Vegas.
Here's how the three rookies stack up statistically:
Calder Trophy Finalists
Michael Grabner, Logan Couture and Jeff Skinner by the numbers.
Grabner, who made just under $850K this past season, should be in line for a hefty raise as he hits restricted free agency on July 1. With speedy scorers in high demand in today's NHL, look for the Islanders to try to lock him up before he gets exposed to potential offer sheets from other teams.