To the surprise of nobody, Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews has been nominated for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Matthews has been nominated along with winger Patrik Laine (Winnipeg) and defenceman Zach Werenski (Columbus).
Matthews led all rookies in scoring this season, putting up 69 points (40-29-69) in 82 games. Laine was close behind though, scoring 64 points (36-28-64) in nine fewer games with the Jets. Werenski was the top scoring rookie defenceman this season, putting up 47 points (11-36-47), while playing nearly 21 minutes a night for a much improved Blue Jackets team.
Matthews began his season with a bang, becoming the first player in the modern era to score four goals in his first NHL game. The first overall pick from last June’s NHL Draft went on to set Leafs franchise rookie records for goals and points, en route to helping his team to a playoff spot.
The Scottsdale, Arizona native is Toronto’s first Calder Trophy finalist since Felix Potvin in 1993 and is vying to become the first Maple Leaf to win the award since Brit Selby in 1966.
Toronto had a number of players in the Calder Trophy conversation this season, as William Nylander and Mitch Marner finished tied for third in rookie scoring with 61 points each. Nikita Zaitsev (36 points) finished third in rookie defencemen scoring.
The winner of the award will be announced at the 2017 NHL Awards on June 21 in Las Vegas.