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Calder Trophy debate: Connor McDavid vs. Artemi Panarin

Connor McDavid and Artemi Panarin are the front-runners for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's most proficient first-year player. Icon Sportswire

Given that the Calder Trophy race comes down to someone who missed almost half the season, and another who has been playing professional hockey for half a decade, the outcome will be controversial no matter who winds up on top.

Every year, the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) votes on the Calder, which is awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL." The first part of that sentence becomes relevant when arguing the case for Edmonton's Connor McDavid, while the latter is important when arguing for Chicago's Artemi Panarin.

In each case, a look at the underlying numbers can provide a valuable perspective to help understand what the PHWA voters had to consider, regardless of their final verdict.