The National Hockey League announced today the finalists for the 2016 Calder Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL, naming Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin. Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) and Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia Flyers) were also named finalists.
Panarin, 24, led NHL rookies with 77 points, 30 goals and 47 assists in 80 regular-season games; he also shared ninth overall in the league in scoring. The Korkino, Russia, native paced first-year players with 24 power-play points (8G, 16A) and ranked third with 187 shots on goal. He ranked third among NHL rookie forwards with 18:31 of average ice time. Panarin became just the fifth Blackhawks player to net 30 goals in his rookie year and the first to notch a regular-season hat trick since 2002. He was also the fourth-fastest active NHL player to reach 50 career points and the fastest active Blackhawk to do so. Panarin shared the team lead with seven points (2G, 5A) in seven 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs games.
He is the fifth Blackhawks player to be named a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist since 2008: Brandon Saad (2013), Kris Versteeg (2009), Patrick Kane (2008) and Jonathan Toews (2008). Previous Blackhawks to win the award include Patrick Kane (2008), Ed Belfour (1991), Steve Larmer (1983), Tony Esposito (1970), William Hay (1960), Ed Litzenberger (1955), Carl Dahlstrom (1938) and Mike Karakas (1936).
From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, NHL President Frank Calder bought a trophy each year to be given permanently to the outstanding rookie. After Calder's death, the NHL presented the Calder Memorial Trophy in his memory and the trophy is to be kept in perpetuity.
The winner of the 2016 Calder Memorial Trophy will be announced at the NHL Awards Show on June 22 in Las Vegas, Nev. The award is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.