TORONTO -- Two players from the Chicago Blackhawks, right wing Patrick Kane and center Jonathan Toews, are among the six players named to the 2007-08 NHL All-Rookie Team. Voting was conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the conclusion of the regular season.
Joining Kane and Toews on the All-Rookie Team are center Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals, defensemen Tobias Enstrom of the Atlanta Thrashers and Tom Gilbert of the Edmonton Oilers, and goaltender Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens.
Following is a summary of each NHL All-Rookie Team member's outstanding season:
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Price posted a 24-12-3 record, 2.56 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 41 appearances with the Canadiens in his NHL debut season. His solid play was a factor in the decision by Canadiens management to send veteran Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Price responded to the challenge by registering a 12-3-0 record with a 2.12 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and two shutouts in 15 games following the trade deadline and capturing the League's Rookie of the Month Award for March.
DEFENSEMEN (in alphabetical order)
Tobias Enstrom, Atlanta Thrashers
A late-round steal in the 2003 Entry Draft, Enstrom was selected by the Thrashers in the eighth round and 239th overall after capturing the 2002-03 Swedish League's Rookie of the Year award with MoDo. In 2007-08, Enstrom led all NHL rookies in average ice time per game (24:28) and power-play ice time (5:44), and topped all rookie defensemen in scoring with 38 points (five goals, 33 assists) in 82 games. He established a single-season franchise record for assists by a defenseman and tied the franchise mark for points by a blueliner.
Tom Gilbert, Edmonton Oilers
Gilbert played a key role on the young Oilers squad that made a late-season playoff push by going 14-5-1 over its final 20 games of the regular season. Playing an average of 22:11 in 82 games, Gilbert ranked second among NHL rookies and was on the ice more than any other Edmonton skater in 2007-08. Gilbert ranked second among rookie defensemen in scoring with 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists), breaking franchise records for goals and points by a rookie defenseman set by Paul Coffey in 1980-81.
FORWARDS (in alphabetical order)
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
Backstrom finished second among NHL rookie scorers with 69 points (14 goals, 55 assists) in 82 games, three points behind Kane. Backstrom was the League's Rookie of the Month for December and tallied 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) and a +16 rating in his last 17 outings. His point total was the second-highest by a Capitals rookie in franchise history behind Alex Ovechkin's 106 in 2005-06. His 55 assists set the club record for a rookie, surpassing Ovechkin's total by one.
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
The first player selected in the 2007 Entry Draft, Kane tallied 16 points in October as an 18-year-old, the most by an NHL rookie in the season's opening month since 1992-93. His shootout goal against Buffalo childhood hero Dominik Hasek in his second NHL game gave the Blackhawks their first victory of the season -- a 4-3 decision over Detroit Oct. 6. Kane finished the season as the League's rookie scoring leader and tops on the Blackhawks with 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists) in 82 games.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Toews scored his first career NHL goal on his first shot in the first period of his League debut Oct. 10 against San Jose. He went on to record a point in each of his first 10 NHL games (5-5--10), the longest point streak by a rookie starting his career since Dmitri Kvartalnov of the Boston Bruins notched a point in each of his first 14 games in 1992. Despite missing more than a month due to a mid-season knee injury, Toews led all rookies in goals (24), tied for the lead in power-play goals (seven) and ranked third in points (54).