Defense | Bryan Berard
Before Mathew Barzal’s 85 point rookie season, the last time a New York Islanders player won the Calder trophy was defenseman Bryan Berard back in 1996-97.
Turns out Berard had concerns that would ring true some 23 years later, he didn’t have confidence in the Ottawa Senators management.
With a 48 point campaign (eight goals and 40 assists) Berard was tied for eighth in scoring for defensemen. Not just rookie defensemen, but all defensemen. He was tied with Chris Chelios that season by the way.
Berard also finished eleventh in Norris voting that season. Only ten defenders in the entire NHL had better seasons according to Norris voters. Berard followed that with 46 points in his sophomore season with the Islanders.
After 31 games in 1998-99, Berard was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs with a sixth-round pick for Felix Potvin and the Maple Leafs sixth-round pick.
Honorable mention: Nick Leddy
You can say that Nick Leddy has been good with the Islanders, and has certainly been here longer than Berard ever was.
Nick Leddy has certainly put up similar production. Across five seasons with the Islanders Leddy has three 40+ point season. Including a 46 point season in 2016-17.
But the highest Leddy ever finished in Norris voting was 16th at the end of the 2014-15 season. For that, I give the edge to Bryan Berard, but you can successfully argue that it’s Nick Leddy.