The rules for eligibility are as such:
To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league. The player must not be older than 26 years before September 15 of the season in which he is eligible.Thus, with Hornqvist playing three more games than the limit last season, he'll get hosed out of the award for this year; which would be a very dark horse pick considering the lack of attention he has gotten. Hornqvist has 19 goals, six power-play goals, six game-winners, and is a +12 on the season. He's a sound player and will probably shine for years to come with the Predators.
A thing like this will make some wonder if the NHL needs to adjust the rules with it comes to games played for all of this-- especially if Hornqvist builds off of this to have a fantastic season, as well as having more points than the actual first-year guys. I know that rules are rules, but to be deemed ineligible by three games seems a bit silly to me. Especially in a time where call-ups are the norm with all the injuries going on in the sport this day in age.
If the NHL were to bump it up to 35, even 40 games in a season or 15 games in each of the last two seasons, that'd be something I could get behind and would see it a little more competitive in a situation like this. This is a something that could have saved Jason Spezza, who played 33 games in 2002-03; thus making his solid 55 point campaign in 2003-04 null and void for the Calder race. Though he would have lost, odds are he could have been in the race and maybe even more motivated to push for himself and his team. Yet, thanks to the Sean-O Rookie Theorem, he's always eligible.
It's just a shame that a guy like Hornqvist has a legitimate shot at being the ROTY gets screwed because of only three games. He seems to be a great story for Nashville and could have given them more attention for the future, but alas; semantics rears it's ugly head. My hope (and it's not just because I picked him up on my fantasy team) is that Hornqvist keeps pushing like he has been and draws the attention of people and makes them wonder why he isn't considered for the Calder Trophy this year.