|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on April 21, 2012 at 1:40 AM|
The National Hockey League (NHL) announced the three finalists for the 2011/12 Calder Memorial Trophy on Apr. 20, who were voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The nominees for the award are the Colorado Avalanche’s left winger Gabriel Landeskog, New Jersey Devils’ center Adam Henrique, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a center with the Edmonton Oilers.
Henrique was one of the biggest surprises in the league this season and he was given the ice time to prove himself after Jacob Josefson and Travis Zajac were shelved with injuries. He played as the team’s first-line center for most of the season and had two stars as his wingers in Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. He finished the season with a total of 16 goals and 35 assists for 51 points in 74 games.
The 35 assists were the tops among rookies and the 51 points placed him third in rookie scoring. He also scored four shorthanded goals, which was good enough for a share of the league lead. Henrique was chosen by New Jersey in the third round of the NHL Draft after winning the Memorial Cup twice as a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Windsor Spitfires.
The 18-year-old Landeskog was named by many scouts at the 2011 draft to be the most likely to succeed as a rookie in the NHL. Colorado selected him with the second overall pick in the draft and he finished the season tied for the rookie scoring lead with 52 points from 22 goals and 30 assists. His 22 goals were second among rookies.
He also proved he could play in both ends of the ice as he finished the season as the Avalanche’s top plus/minus player with a plus 20. Landeskog played 18:36 on average this season for each game, the top amount of ice time for rookie forwards. He also averaged over 1:20 a game on the penalty killing and power play units
Edmonton’s Nugent-Hopkins was selected first overall in last year’s draft by Edmonton. He scored in his NHL debut and added a hat trick two games later. He only played in 62 games this season due to a shoulder injury but tied for the rookie scoring lead Landeskog at 52 points. Nugent-Hopkins just turned 19, making him the youngest regular player in the NHL this season. He scored 18 goals and added 34 assists.
Nugent Hopkins ended the season with a trio of multi-goal games., He also managed to score five assists against the Chicago Blackhawks in November, becoming the fourth 18-year-old in league history to achieve the feat and the first to do it since Kovalchuk did it in 2002.
The winner of this year’s Calder Trophy and the rest of the NHL awards will be announced at the league’s annual awards show which takes place this year on June 20 in Las Vegas.