NHL Awards: Calder Trophy finalists

The NHL has started announcing finalists for the 2012-13 regular season awards. First up is the Calder Trophy, which goes to the league’s top rookie. Here’s the release.

Right wing Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens, center Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers and left wing Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the 2012-13 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 during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, with more detail on format to be released at a later date.

Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens

A fifth-round pick (147th overall) by the Canadiens in the 2010 NHL Draft, Gallagher helped Montreal go from a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12 to a Northeast Division title and the second seed in the conference in 2012-13. He played in 44 games, ranking second among rookies with 15 goals and fourth with 28 points. Gallagher, 21, also finished in the top five among freshmen skaters in shots on goal (second, 117), plus/minus (fifth, +10) and game-winning goals (t-first, 3).

Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers

Selected third overall by the Panthers in the 2011 NHL Draft, Huberdeau played in all 48 games for Florida and ranked second both on the team and among NHL rookies with 31 points (14-17—31). Among first-year players, he finished third in goals, fourth in assists and third in shots on goal (112). His 16:55 average time on ice also led rookie forwards, while his nine power-play points (2-7—9) placed fourth among all freshmen skaters. The 19-year-old Huberdeau set two franchise records, becoming the first Panther to score on two penalty shots in one season (Feb. 21 at Philadelphia and March 5 vs. Carolina) and recording the most points by a teenager in team history (four more than Radek Dvorak in 1995-96).

Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks

A second-round pick (43rd overall) by the Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Draft, Saad led all rookies with a +17 rating, including a +12 rating on the road, to help Chicago earn its second Presidents’ Trophy in team history. He ranked fifth among rookies in each of the three major scoring categories – goals (10), assists (17) and points (27). Saad, 20, also placed third among freshmen forwards in average time on ice (16:27) and fourth among all first-year skaters in shots on goal (98) in 46 games.

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