LAINE, MATTHEWS AND WERENSKI VOTED CALDER TROPHY FINALISTS
Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Patrik Laine, RW, Winnipeg Jets
Laine, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, ranked second among rookies with 36 goals and 64 points in 73 games – both single-season franchise records for a first-year player. He also led rookies in shooting percentage (17.6%) and shared first place in power-play goals (9), while placing in the top 10 in game-winning goals (t-3rd; 5), shots on goal (4th; 204), power-play points (6th; 14) and assists (8th; 28). Laine became the first player in NHL history to post three hat tricks prior to his 19th birthday as well as the first rookie (at any age) to notch three hat tricks in one season since 1992-93. The Tampere, Finland, native – who celebrated his 19th birthday Wednesday – is the third Calder Trophy finalist in Jets/Thrashers history; Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk finished first and second, respectively, in voting in 2001-02.
Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews, the top pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, paced rookies with 40 goals and 69 points while appearing in all 82 games. His 40 goals also shared second place in the entire League, highlighted by a historic debut in which he became the first player in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to score four times in his first game. Matthews, who set franchise rookie records for goals and points, also ranked in the top 10 among first-year players in game-winning goals (1st; 8), shots on goal (1st; 279), power-play points (t-2nd; 21), power-play goals (3rd; 8), power-play assists (4th; 13), shooting percentage (7th; 14.3%) and assists (7th; 29). The 19-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., native is Toronto’s first Calder Trophy finalist since 1992-93 (Felix Potvin) and is vying to become the first Maple Leaf to win the award since 1965-66 (Brit Selby).
Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Werenski, the eighth overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, led rookie defensemen in goals (11), assists (36) and points (47) in 78 games. He also paced all rookies with a +17 rating, while ranking in the top 10 among first-year players in power-play assists (t-1st; 17), power-play points (t-2nd; 21), assists (3rd; 36), shots on goal (5th; 188), points (7th; 47) and power-play goals (t-8th; 4). At age 19, Werenski registered the sixth-most points by a teenage defenseman in his rookie NHL season. He also set franchise rookie records for assists and points in one season, while collecting the second-most points by a blueliner (rookie or veteran) in club history. The Grosse Pointe, Mich., native is Columbus’ first Calder Trophy finalist since 2008-09, when Steve Mason became the first player in team history to win the award.
From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, NHL President Frank Calder purchased a trophy each year to be given permanently to the NHL’s outstanding rookie. After Calder’s death, the League presented the Calder Trophy in his memory.
The three finalists for NHL Trophies are being announced by NBC Sports in the United States and Sportsnet/TVA Sports in Canada during pregame programming for the Stanley Cup Playoffs through Tuesday, May 2. The series of announcements continues on Friday, April 21, when the three finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy will be unveiled.
* Information provided via NHL Press Release