NEW YORK (April 23, 2008) -- Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and a pair of Chicago Blackhawks -- right wing Patrick Kane and center Jonathan Toews -- are the three finalists for the Calder Trophy in 2007-08, awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition," the National Hockey League announced today.
This marks the second consecutive season in which two players from the same club are Calder Trophy finalists. In 2006-07, the Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal finished first and third, respectively, in the voting.
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 announced as finalists. The winner will be announced Thursday, June 12 during the 2008 NHL Awards Television Special, which will be broadcast live throughout Canada on CBC and the United States on VERSUS from the historic Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, 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).
From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, NHL President Frank Calder bought a trophy each year to be given permanently to the NHL's outstanding rookie. After Calder's death, the League presented the Calder Trophy in his memory.
The NHL will announce the three finalists for each of its awards daily. The announcement schedule for the rest of this week:
Thursday, April 24: Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship and gentlemanly play)
Friday, April 25: Frank Selke Trophy (outstanding defensive forward)
Previously Announced Trophy Finalists
Vezina Trophy (outstanding goaltender):
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Sharks
Norris Trophy (outstanding defenseman):
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Dion Phaneuf, Calgary Flames