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Blue Jackets with four finalists for five NHL awards

Zach Werenski, Sergei Bobrovsky, Nick Foligno and John Tortorella up for league honors

by Allie Dosmann / BlueJackets.com

The record-setting 2016-17 season just keeps getting more impressive. Over the past two weeks, the National Hockey League announced that four Blue Jackets are finalists for five season-end awards.

Zach Werenski is one of three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year, Sergei Bobrovsky for the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender and Hart Trophy for the most valuable player to his team, Captain Nick Foligno for the Mark Messier Leadership Award and head coach John Tortorella for the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year.

It's not difficult to see why Columbus is getting the recognition.

Werenski had the most impressive season for a rookie in Blue Jackets history. He set the record for the most points by a rookie with ease, breaking it seven games earlier than the previous record holder Rick Nash. And this is from a position that is more focused on stopping pucks then putting them toward the net.

WERENSKI CAPS ROOKIE SEASON WITH CALDER TROPHY NOMINATION

"He deserves to be up for the Calder this year," Werenski's defensive partner Seth Jones said. "He deserves all the recognition he's been getting offensively and defensively. I've even been learning some things from him this year."

He led rookie defensemen in every category you can imagine: points, goals, assists, plus/minus, power play goals...the list goes on. Above all else, his poise, professionalism and impact were second to none.

Bobrovsky, meanwhile, is the first Blue Jacket to ever be nominated for the Hart Trophy. He had the lowest goals against average among goalies playing over 25 games this season and the highest save percentage.

BOBROVSKY NOMINATED FOR HART MEMORIAL TROPHY

"We got 108 points and 50 wins because of Sergei Bobrovsky," Brandon Dubinsky said. "There's no doubt about it. He's the most important piece of the team and will be moving forward."

His months of December and March were specifically remarkable. Bobrovsky won 12-straight games in December and was pivotal to the Jackets setting the second-longest winning streak in league history. In March, he boasted a ridiculous 1.09 goals against and had four shutouts. His reliability in the net was a staple in the Blue Jackets' season success.

Nick Foligno's play came back to life this season as well. He was second on the team in goals and first in power play goals. The Blue Jackets' captain was also fourth on the team in points and fourth in penalty minutes.

But Foligno's impact was undoubtedly beyond the scoresheet. He exemplified the Blue Jackets' hardworking style on the ice and composure in the dressing room. He held the other team accountable after they laid big hits on his team, he helped maintain a level head in the locker room during times of extreme success and battled to get the puck in the net, even if it wasn't always pretty.

"We wanted to win for him," Scott Hartnell said. "A guy who cares that much, who cares about the city, about the team, about the community… I can't say enough good things about Nick."

The Mark Messier Leadership Award is given to "the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season."

FOLIGNO A FINALIST FOR MARK MESSIER LEADERSHIP AWARD

In the community, there is no question of his contributions. Foligno donated one million dollars between Nationwide Children's and Boston Children's hospitals before the start of the season. He was also named the Blue Jackets Community MVP for the second time in three years.

Lastly, John Tortorella has revolutionized the Blue Jackets' mindset. Last season, Columbus finished 27th in the league in a season that felt over as soon as it had begun. With all of the talent on the roster, you couldn't help but sense the frustration.

Tortorella changed that.

"Give him a lot of credit," Foligno said. "The way he changed all of us individually and as a team, to change the status quo around here, it wasn't easy to do. We're all very proud of what we did and proud to have him at the helm."

TORTORELLA NAMED JACK ADAMS AWARD FINALIST

While the postseason didn't finish the way Tortorella wanted, he succeeded in one of his main goals for the club: earning the respect they deserve.

The NHL Awards ceremony takes place on June 21 in Las Vegas. Regardless of the results, the nominations are an honor and another clear depiction of the success of the team this season, and the respect they earned league-wide in the process. 

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