November 30, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Kale Maker’s Calder Trophy win highlights the ever-evolving NHL

Kale Maker's Calder Trophy win highlights the ever-evolving NHL

Vancouver – If you really want to see the changing face of the game, it appeared in an NHL video conference call on Monday following the Calder Trophy announcement.

It belongs to the 21-year-old Rosie-cheek Kale Maker of the Colorado Avalanche, who became the third defenseman in 16 years, becoming the NHL’s rookie this year. In the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association ballot, he surpassed Vancouver Conkes blue-liner Quinn Hughes, who was five feet shorter than the 11-inch McCarthy and dynamic, from 1,538 to 1,337.

Sure, we are in a golden age for young talent in the league with superstar forwards like Connor McDavid, Nathan McKinnon, Aston Matthews, Jack Eichel and Leon Droysight. But forwards have always done forward things in the NHL.

It’s on defense, where the game has developed the fastest ever in the last five years.

If the Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup, 21-year-old defenseman Miro Heiskenn is the winner of the unmarked Con Smith.

McCarthy and Hughes are point-per-game players in the playoffs until Avalanche and Connex are eliminated in the conference semifinals. The best player in the Vegas Golden Knights is Mobile, 25-year-old defenseman Shia Theodore.

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All these guys defend by having a puck, skating and attacking and forcing the other team to defend.

This is a revolution.

Speaking to reporters from his home in Calgary, he said, “It’s an honor to be recognized in that group. You add guys like Adam Fox. It’s my opinion that this is only a new time in the league. I think for us, it can move with the game. Our main assets are our skating and we can use it to our advantage. ”

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Fox, a 22-year-old New York Rangers defenseman who finished fourth in the five-foot-11, Calder Voting, failed to turn it into an all-defense group of finalists.

Hughes, who was the leading defenseman in scoring NHL rookies after Brian Leach in 1989 when he posted 53 points in 68 games for Connex, admitted last week that he was closely following the work of Marker and Heiskenn and other young defenders.

“I’m looking,” he told reporters in Vancouver. “I see clearly because they are fun to watch, and I also want to see if I can learn anything or even take anything from their games. You’ve always heard about them. People say: ‘Did you see this goal or did you see that goal?’ It motivates me to see what I can do. ”

Hughes and McCarr are pushing each other to be better for the next decade.

“It’s great; I love the comparisons,” McCarthy said. “I think we have a lot of similar game styles. I think this is very important, especially as a youngster, you can see the veterans in the league (Roman) playing Josie or (Victor) Headman or the little guys like Hughes and Heiskenen. I think you should be able to take the little things out of everyone’s game and add those elements to your game to improve. ”

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Buffalo has 20-year-old defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Jack Verensky, 23, of Columbus, Thomas Chabot, 23, of Ottawa, and Charlie McAvoy, 22, of Boston, and Mikhail Sergachev, 22, of Tampa.

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“Gone are the big, strong defenders taken out and out,” said Jim Benning, general manager of Connex. “You have to have guys who can pass first and have the motivation to get the puck and do the play. We’m seen in the last five years, this new generation of defensemen are very skilled and play up and down the ice.

“We’ve talking about the low cycle, but now there’s a high cycle where guys like Quinn and Heiskenn and Makar can spin around (away from the pressure) within the blue line. It’s fun to watch.”

In the Calder Trophy, Maker’s name will be next to Hughes ‘teammate Elias Peterson, as Connex missed out on the Boston Bruins’ first team to have a rookie year in a row since 1967 and 1968.

Vancouver became the first franchise to reach the rookie finish in the top three in voting for three years in a row after the 1969-71 Rangers, including the end of winger Brock Boser runner – up to New York Islander Matthew Barzal in the 2018 Calder Race.

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“I didn’t really think about it,” Benning said. “These three have had good first years. We did not create them to win the Calder Trophy, we designed them to try to build a championship team.

“Quinn is everything we thought he was going to be. One thing I do not realize is that he shows up on the rest of our team. Improved, improved our team as a whole. ”

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He is not the only defenseman.

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