This is a question that came to my mind when reading another thread (link) on the Capitals' page. The discussion was stimulated by an article (link) discussing why Ovechkin should perhaps be ineligible for the Calder. While it logistically misses the mark at certain points, the logic presented begs a more interesting question, which wasn't addressed directly in the article: If A.O. is Calder eligible, should Gretzky have been? The core argument behind Gretzky's ineligibility for the NHL Calder trophy is because he played pro hockey in the "strong" WHA before coming to the NHL, and because of that, they determined he should not be considered a rookie. At least that's how I understood it, feel free to fill in the gaps, it was a little before my time. Since then, they've awarded the trophy to those who have played in "lesser" pro leagues, such as Selanne - 22 yrs old, played pro hockey in Finland, joined the NHL when he was 22, won of the Calder trophy. Obviously making a determination of which pro leagues are of the status that a player would not be Calder eligible is a sensitive subject area. Comparing strengths of pro leagues is highly subjective, and drawing a line anywhere is bound to cause offense. Let's not go there. However, it is interesting to note that last year was unique, in that no NHL was played. As such, the best players in the world played elsewhere, and a case could be made that the Russian league was the best in the world. Perhaps on par, or above, the caliber of the old WHA. Now I'm not saying that Ovechkin should not be eligible because he played hockey in Russia. What I am saying, is Gretzky should have been. If the NHL considers themselves the highest level of professional hockey in the world, they should allow any new player to the league to have an opportunity to win the rookie race, because they are rookies. I like the idea of having the "Sergei Makarov" age cap on rookie status though, to recognize the achievement of young players. Other leagues can make determinations of who should be eligible for Rookie-of-the-Year (i.e. should Scott Gomez have won the ECHL award? Of course not). But, if you're the best league in the world, everyone is a rookie until they've played in your league. My 2 cents.