If there is one thing I know that will monumentally disappoint me this season with the Winnipeg Jets – other than the fact that we are stuck in .500 purgatory – is that Jacob Trouba will somehow be overlooked in the race for the Calder Trophy.
Through 16 games this season, the Jets rookie defenseman has made good decisions and some bad ones, but has always made the Jets a better team when he is in the lineup.
His 21:23 of ice time per game ranks fourth on the Jets behind Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, and Zach Bogosian.
Out of those four top ice times, Trouba's -4 is the second best plus/minus rating while he spends the least amount of time in the box with only two penalties this season compared to Bogosian's closest PIM total at 14.
Only Seth Jones logs more ice time per game than Trouba among 2013-14 rookies with 22:44 compared to Trouba's 21:23.
Trouba ranks 11th among rookies in shifts per game which is very interesting to consider – the Jets are not afraid to use Trouba for long stretches of time in a game, especially on the power play.
The power play is where Trouba has looked the most dangerous all season. Not only is his puck possession very strong, but he seems to be one of the only defenseman, aside from perhaps Byfuglien, who can get a shot through from the point to the net.
Trouba ranks 12th among rookies in even strength ice time per game, first in shorthanded time on ice per game, and 11th in power play time on ice per game – fifth in the last category among rookie defensemen.
The first in shorthanded time on ice per game as a rookie is not even a close race. Trouba averages 15 more seconds of shorthanded minutes than Detroit rookie Danny DeKeyser with 2:55 per game versus DeKeyser's 2:40 per game.
Confidence is a big thing, espeically with rookies, and Winnipeg seems to have that with Trouba's minutes all around.
One last Trouba stat to ponder – he is 14th among rookies in blocked shots (32) despite only playing 16 games.
Stats aside, the Jets can be seen as a better team from the back end when he is in the lineup. Trouba does have an unfavourable giveaway-to-takeaway ratio (15:5), but more often than not he is able to move the puck up the ice more effectively than veterans such as Byfuglien, Enstrom, or espeically Grant Clitsome.
If Barret Jackman can win the Calder Trophy witih 19 points and 190 penalty minutes in 82 games as a rookie in 2002-03 and impact a team more than just on the scoresheet, why can't Jacob Trouba be considered at least a dark horse in the Calder race?
Since 2000-01, only two defenseman have won the Calder Trophy – Jackman in 2002-03 and Tyler Myers in 2009-10. Aside from those two, you see the names of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, and Dany Heatley – all potent offensive forwards.
With the NHL geared more towards scoring and having scoring depth and having the newest, youngest sniper, the defensive stalwarts of the game do get left behind.
And on a team that is stuck spinning its tires at the .500 mark, it is more than likely Trouba, unless he turns his game up to another level than it already is at, he could be on the outside when it comes to Calder Trophy voting.
Every Jets game I attend I go for two reasons, at least this season: to watch the other team and Jacob Trouba.
Kevin Cheveldayoff, I commend you for selecting this young man, he is a reason to watch this team.
Why not pick more of him.
When it comes to the Calder either way, he's got my vote.
Time to convince everyone else.