NHL: NOV 09 Coyotes at Ducks
CRAIG MORGAN – Today’s Slapshot

LOS ANGELES — Max Domi wanted nothing to do with a nearby Calder Trophy discussion as he walked through the Coyotes locker room on Tuesday, eight hours before the team’s game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

“It’s waaaaay too early for that,” Domi said, adding As for emphasis.

He’s right. We’re only 15 games into the 82-game schedule, but there’s no harm in speculation, and Domi has provided plenty of fuel for the fire.

Domi was tied for first among NHL rookies in goals (7) with the Rangers’ Oscar Lindberg, entering play Wednesday, and he was second in points (13) behind Chicago’s Artemi Panarin. While acknowledging that much can and will change over the next 67 games, we have constructed an early case for Domi to become the Coyotes’ first rookie of the year.

For the sake of brevity, we’ve only included five other candidates, although more could enter the fray as this season progresses, and some like St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko or Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ehlers probably warrant consideration.

Why Domi should win over Edmonton’s Connor McDavid: Because McDavid is going to be out for months with a broken collarbone. There’s no way he’ll be able to play enough games and rack up enough points to catch the leaders by the time he returns. It should be noted that even before McDavid was injured, Domi was keeping pace with him at nearly a point-a-game clip.

Why Domi should win over Buffalo’s Jack Eichel: Because Eichel won’t produce enough points to win it. Despite his recent hot stretch (three goals, six points in last six games), he hasn’t shown the ability to consistently produce in a lineup (how’s this for crazy talk) that doesn’t appear to have as much firepower as Arizona.

Why Domi should win over Chicago’s Artemi Panarin or the New York Rangers’ Oscar Lindberg: Because the latter two are both 24 years old. This has no bearing on the actual rules of Calder voting. They are both rookies in the NHL sense and fully eligible to win, but Panarin started playing regularly in the KHL in the 2009-10 season and Lindberg is in his third year of North American professional hockey. That should merit consideration by voters. Both Panarin and Lindberg also enjoy the advantage of playing for Cup contenders, with Panarin playing alongside playmaking machine, Patrick Kane. Domi plays for a rebuilding team that is relying inordinately on his ability to produce.

Why Domi should win over Detroit’s Dylan Larkin: Because Domi doesn’t have Henrik Zetterberg as a linemate.