ARLINGTON, Va. –
The National Hockey League announced today that Washington center Nicklas Backstrom
is one of three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is presented annually to the league’s top rookie. Backstrom joins Chicago rookies Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as the three finalists.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Calder Memorial 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 the United States on VERSUS and in Canada on CBC from the historic Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
Backstrom, who was one of four Caps to play every game, turned in the second most prolific season ever for a Capitals rookie, as he helped lead Washington to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. He finished second in rookie scoring with 69 points (Kane led with 72) and lead all rookies and set a new Capitals’ rookie record with 55 assists.
He had 60 points (13g-47a) in his last 61 games, was a +18 in that time and had three four-point games. In the last 18 games of the regular season, and with the playoffs on the line, he had 18 points (5g-13a) and had a +16 rating. Backstrom tied for third among rookies with a +13 rating and had the highest rating among the top 15 rookie scorers.
His four game-winning goals ranked second among rookies and his +19 rating outside of the Southeast Division paced all rookies against non-divisional opponents. Backstrom finished the season as the only rookie with at least 45 points to have a plus-rating in both home and road games. He also became the first rookie in NHL history to post back-to-back four-assist games (1/19 vs. Florida and 1/21 at Pittsburgh.)
The 20-year-old turned in successful numbers of the power play as well. He tied for first among rookies with 22 power-play assists and ranked third in rookie power-play points with 25.
Backstrom’s linemate Alex Ovechkin
is the only Capital to win the Calder Memorial Trophy. Ovechkin captured the award after the 2005-06 season when he tallied 106 points (52g-54a).