Despite his finalist status, Dominik Kubalik unsurprisingly did not win the Calder Trophy at the NHL Awards on Monday.
The rookie Blackhawks forward placed third in the voting for the Calder, awarded annually to the league’s top rookie.
Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar edged Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes to (virtually) take home the hardware after his first season.
The Calder Trophy — along with the Hart Trophy and several other major awards announced Monday — is determined by ballots cast by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, including myself. Ballots were collected after the regular season but before the playoffs.
Kubalik did not receive a first-place vote but did earn two second-place votes and 75 third-place votes.
Kubalik, Makar and Hughes were announced as finalists on July 15. The latter two were considered slam-dunk choices, but Kubalik’s selection was more of surprising and the now-25-year-old Czech winger was clearly amazed by it.
“It’s an honor,’’ he said on a Zoom call that day. ‘‘I just couldn’t believe it. Coming from Europe, obviously you have some goals, but you don’t think you could be a finalist for something like that.
“It’s just great. Lots of guys could be here, too, so I’m really happy that I’m here. It’s kind of hard to talk about it.”
Kubalik finished with 30 goals and 46 points in 68 regular-season games, leading all rookies in goals and tying for seventh in the entire league in even-strength goals (26).
He added four goals and eight points in nine postseason games. Five of those points came in Game 1 against the Oilers on Aug. 1, setting the NHL record for most points in a playoff debut.
Makar and Hughes objectively deserved the top two spots, though.
Makar scored 50 points in 57 regular-season games while averaging more than 21 minutes per game on the Avs’ blue line, and Hughes scored 53 points in 68 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes per game on the Canucks’ defense.