The National Hockey League announced this evening that Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog has been named the recipient of the 2012 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year.
Landeskog received 1,383 votes, edging Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by 382 votes. New Jersey’s Adam Henrique finished third with 620 votes. The Calder Trophy, which dates back to 1933, is awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.” The winner is chosen by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association in a poll at the end of the regular season schedule. The announcement came tonight during the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
Landeskog, 19, joins Chris Drury (1998-99) as the only players in Avalanche history to win the Calder Trophy. He is the fourth player in the 32-year history of the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise to capture rookie of the year honors, joining Peter Stastny (1980-81), Peter Forsberg (1994-95) and Drury. Since the Quebec Nordiques entered the league in 1979-80, no other NHL franchise has had four Calder Trophy winners.
A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Landeskog becomes just the third Swedish-born player to win the Calder, following Forsberg and Daniel Alfredsson (1995-96 with Ottawa).
“It’s a great honor to receive this award,” Landeskog said. “I have so many people I need to thank for this honor and it’s hard to describe what I’m feeling right now. Thanks to all our fans for everything and for making me feel like part of the Avalanche family.”
The second overall selection in the 2011 Entry Draft, Landeskog finished tied for first among rookies with 52 points (22 goals / 30 assists) while appearing in all 82 games for the Avalanche this season. He was awarded the rookie scoring title in a tie-breaker over Nugent-Hopkins (18g/34a) on the basis of more goals. Landeskog ranked second among league rookies in goals and was third in assists, making him the only player to rank among the top three rookies in all three categories.
Landeskog also led all rookies in shots (270) and takeaways (58), while ranking second in plus/minus (+20), game-winning goals (5), power-play goals (6-tied) and hits (219). He is the second NHL rookie to ever surpass 20 goals and 200 hits in a season, joining Dion Phaneuf with Calgary in 2005-06.
Landeskog led the Avalanche in games, goals, plus/minus, shots, hits and GWG (tied). He became the youngest player in franchise history to lead the team in goal scoring. Landeskog’s 270 shots were a franchise rookie record and the second-highest total by a rookie left wing in NHL history. He became the first Swedish-born teenager in NHL history to reach either the 20-goal or 50-point milestone.
Gabriel represented the Avalanche at the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend in Ottawa, participating in the All-Star Skills Competition. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound winger was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for February after leading all first-year players with 13 points (7g/6a) in 12 games that month.
Landeskog made his NHL debut as an 18-year-old in the season opener on Oct. 8 vs. Detroit. Just four days later, he became the youngest Swedish-born player in league history to score a goal when he potted his first career tally on Oct. 12 at Columbus. He scored his first career overtime goal on March 12 at Anaheim, becoming the youngest Colorado/Quebec player to score an OT goal (19 years, 110 days).
In addition to his Calder Trophy honors, Landeskog tonight was also named to the 2011-12 NHL All-Rookie Team. He is the eighth player in franchise history—and sixth in Avalanche history—to be selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team, joining Bruce Bell in 1984-85, Forsberg in 1994-95, Drury and Milan Hejduk in 1998-99, John-Michael Liles in 2003-04, Paul Stastny in 2006-07 and Matt Duchene in 2009-10. The rookie all-star team began in 1982-83.