COLUMBUS, OHIO --- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is among three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, given annually to the National Hockey League's most outstanding rookie as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, the club and NHL announced tonight. Center Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and right wing Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets are the other two finalists.
Werenski, 19, led all rookie NHL defensemen in scoring with 11 goals and 36 assists for 47 points with 14 penalty minutes and a +17 plus/minus rating in 78 games this season. His point total also stood seventh in overall rookie scoring, was 13th among all NHL defensemen, set a franchise record for points by a rookie and was the second-highest total by a blueliner in club history (51-James Wisniewski, 2013-14). Historically, he tallied the sixth-most points by a teenage rookie defenseman in NHL history.
WERENSKI'S RECORD-BREAKING SEASON
Columbus' first pick, eighth overall, in the 2015 NHL Draft, Werenski played two seasons at the University of Michigan from 2014-16 before joining the Lake Erie Monsters, the Blue Jackets' American League affiliate, in April 2016. He tallied 5-9-14 in 17 playoff games, recording the most assists and points by an 18-year-old in the history of the Calder Cup Playoffs. He finished second among AHL defensemen in playoff scoring to help the Monsters capture the Calder Cup championship.
Werenski is the third player in Blue Jackets history to be named a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist, joining goaltender Steve Mason and forward Rick Nash. Mason won the award following the 2008-09 season, while Nash was a finalist along with Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg in 2002-03 when St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman was selected the winner.
Video: PIT@CBJ, Gm3: Werenski goes top shelf for PPG
The 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft will celebrate the League's top talent from the 2016-17 season and reveal the initial roster of the League's 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights, on Wednesday, June 21, at T-Mobile Arena.
The event will be televised live in the United States on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET.
The Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins face off in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series tonight at PPG Paints Arena. Game time is 7 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Eldorado Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, 97.1 The Fan FM, and online at BlueJackets.com.