The Calder Trophy finalists were announced on Thursday with not much surprise in the top three rookies during the 2016-2017 National Hockey League season, as Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets and Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets received the most votes.
Matthews, the 19-year-old first overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft finished in a tie for second in goals with 40 and led all rookies in goals, points (69) and shots (279). He was also the first player in the modern-era to score four goals in his first NHL game as well as becoming the first rookie to score at least 40 goals in a season, since Alexander Ovechkin put up 52 in his first year with the Washington Capitals.
Matthews also broke the Maple Leafs’ single season, rookie records of goals and points. Wendel Clark put up 35 goals during his rookie year in 1985-1986, while Peter Ihnacak scored 66 points during the 1982-1983 season.
Laine, who just recently turned 19, on April 19, put up 64 points (36 goals and 28 assists) in 73 games this past season. The number two overall pick during the 2016 NHL Draft, finished second to Matthews in goals and points, while leading his Jets team in goals during the 2016-2017 season.
His 36 goals were the seventh most in the history of the NHL, amongst 18-year-olds, and the most since Sidney Crosby, lit the lamp for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2005-2006 season. Wayne Gretzky, who turned 19, midway through his rookie campaign, holds the record with 51.
Werenski, 19, led all rookie defensemen with 11 goals, 36 assists and 47 points. He was also first amongst rookie defensemen with a plus-17 rating. His 47 points are the second most amongst Blue Jackets defenders in the history of the franchise. Only James Wisniewski, who put up 51 during the 2013-2014 season, has more.
The eighth pick in the 2015 NHL Draft also eclipsed, Rick Nash’s rookie point total of 39 points, he tallied for the Blue Jackets during the 2002-2003 campaign.
One of these future NHL stars will get to hear his name announced at the T-Mobile Arena on June 21, at the 2017 NHL Awards. The show will be broadcast live on that night, from the new home of the Vegas Golden Knights on NBCSN in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada at 7:30 PM.