At the conclusion of the 2013 Columbus Blue Jackets season, the Union Blue team handed out awards to Blue Jackets players mirroring the actual NHL awards. Considering this was unarguably the best season in CBJ history, we had to follow it up with the second annual edition. So, over the next few weeks we will be slowly unveiling our rankings for every single award given out by the NHL, minus raw total awards as they are already determined (the Art Ross for most points (Ryan Johansen), Rocket Richard for most goals (Ryan Johansen), and William Jennings for goals against by team with goalies needing 25gp to be included (Sergei Bobrovsky & Curtis McElhinney)). The tUB team (AlisonL, Canadan, CBJProspects, DerDrache, Coach, Brett, and GregIn120), will rank three players per award (with one obvious exception), and provide an explanation for each of our rankings. These ranks will then be combined to determine who the tUB team feels deserves each award. Up first, we have the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the top rookie performer.
Last year’s winner: Dalton Prout
Calder nominees: Boone Jenner, Cody Goloubef, Michael Chaput, Ryan Murray, and Sean Collins.
WINNER: Boone Jenner
Runner Up: Ryan Murray
(Due to the tight nature of this vote, the comments will all be presented together)
AlisonL (1 – Jenner, 2 – Murray): “Overall I’m going to have to go with Boone by a nose only because he played in more games that Murray (obviously due to Murray’s injuries). While I think Murray is the more skilled player, I think Boone made the bigger impact this season specifically particularly with his impression on opponents. 38 led the team in penalty +/- at 11 and was the only CBJ to crack the top 50 players in the league in that category. He also had more difficult starts than Murray and still ended up with 29 points – one goal shy of the rookie record (held by Rick Nash). Comparing a forward and a defenseman is difficult, Murray will be key for this franchise for a long time – but for this one year, Boone gets the nod”
Brett (1 – Jenner, 2 – Murray): “Jenner has stood out significantly to me because he seems to perfectly fit the style of play the Blue Jackets and Todd Richards want to go with down the stretch, and he had a solid playoff series against a strong team like the Penguins. (And even got a shout out for being “dirty” which is a pretty good sign you’re doing something right) Also his name is perfect for the sport of hockey. How can you not love him?!
I can’t say much about the play of Ryan Murray, since I haven’t watched enough hockey yet to really see a play develop and also pay attention to who/what was in it. Usually it doesn’t matter when there’s a goal, but when you’re a solid defenseman it’s hard for a newb like myself to really pick out the good and bad. Really, I haven’t heard Ryan Murray’s name being said too much and that equates to stellar play in my mind.”
Canadan (1 – Jenner, 2 – Murray): “Jenner – Nearly matching the CBJ rookie goal scoring record, and being a physical presence in every zone, Jenner was exceptional in his first year as a Blue Jacket. Impressive that his season peaked where many would taper a bit, in the playoffs. He was a wrecking ball in round one.
Murray – Fractions behind Jenner, thanks to his poise with the puck and incredible ability to read the play. Despite injury, he showed signs of continued confidence and improvement as the year progressed, giving plenty of optimism that the defensive future of Columbus will have a solid pillar. This was a two man show. I won’t even bother with a third because I don’t think they were even close.”
CBJProspects (1 – Murray & Jenner): “I’m copping out and doing a tie because I can’t rate one over the other both contributed and either set or came close to setting new rookie records. Both were mainstays in the lineup with both only missing games due to injury”
Derdrache (1 – Jenner, 2 – Murray): “Having to choose between Boone or Murray for this honor was ridiculously hard. I’m in love with Boone’s complete game and tenacity and I’m in love with Murray’s cool, calculated veteran-like play and the value he adds to Wisniewski by having those traits. They’re really both opposite sides of the same coin and both give me reason to be excited for the future of the team.”
GregIn120 (1 – Jenner, 2 – Murray): “Boone Jenner: In his first year, he added much needed grit to this team and displayed the kind of character that could make him a future captain.
Ryan Murray: He was smooth as silk and as good as advertised, which is to say he quickly became a stalwart defender and big part of the Blue Jackets D-line plans for years to come.”
The Coach (1 – Murray, 2 – Jenner): “Murray is amazing. He does so many things so well, most of which you don’t even really see on first glance. I love Boone Jenner, and he gets a lot of love due to his name (Boooooooooone), physical play, and goal scoring. The difference here is who was driving things when on the ice. Boone was fortunate to play with some pretty talented linemates, allowing him to focus on his play without the puck, just go and bang bodies and crash the net for rebounds. He did that with aplomb, but give me Murray every day of the week.
Murray wasn’t just fantastic, he made James Wisniewski better as well. Hell, he makes every single player on the ice with him better. I think the stats favor Murray as well. Boone had more points than Murray, but Murray was higher scoring among defensemen than Boone was among forwards (64th percentile versus 55th percentile). Boone played more games, but Murray actually played almost 300 more minutes total on the season. Jenner had played a little bit tougher minutes, but Murray played more minutes and was better in every single advanced metric parsed every single way (Corsi, Corsi Rel, Fenwick, Fenwick Rel, Shots For %, Shots For % Rel; all at 5v5 and 5v5 Close).
Looking at these, and even using the Rel stats (which account for Boone’s tougher starts) Murray comes out as one of the two or three best Jackets players, while Boone is in the middle of the pack. To me, Murray was the better of the two, both in what I saw one the ice, and what the stats tell me. Boone was a solid top nine forward, one who hits while stills breaking even in possession (which matters MUCH more than raw hit totals), and scores. Murray is a very, very good top four defenseman who can play any kind of minutes against any kind of opponent, and be superb.”
Honorable Mention: Cody Goloubef
AlisonL (3): “….”
Brett (3): “While Cody didn’t spend too much time up here in the big leagues, whenever he was I don’t feel like he was a detriment to the team. Which probably isn’t correct but again, I didn’t see him much which leads me to believe that he was performing adequately at defense.”
Derdrache (3): “…”
GregIn120 (3): “I’m only mentioning him because I’m supposed to vote for three. I don’t think he played enough to receive honest consideration. But I like his name.”
Honorable Mention: Michael Chaput
CBJProspects (3): “Michael Chaput gets my third place vote because one he played the most games of the other rookies along with not looking out of place in his 17 games. I see Michael getting a long look at camp next year especially if the Jackets have a bottom 6 spot open.”
The Coach (3): “Chaput played 17 games, which was significantly more than Collins or Goloubef. He was mostly forgettable, which is probably about as much as you can ask from a call up playing a defensive depth role.”
So that’s what the tUB team thought of the Jackets top rookies, let us know your Calder ballot in the comments! Stay tuned later over the next few weeks for the remainder of the 2013-14 tUB Awards.