1. Artemi Panarin, CHI 1258 (88-41-16-3-2)
2. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI 955 (33-53-42-12-8)
3. Connor McDavid, EDM 858 (25-45-48-15-8)
4. Jack Eichel, BUF 449 (2-9-25-72-25)
5. Dylan Larkin, DET 170 (1-0-8-23-51)
6. Max Domi, ARI 92 (0-2-2-12-32)
7. John Gibson, ANA 62 (0-0-5-9-10)
8. Colton Parayko, STL 52 (1-0-4-4-10)
9. Sam Reinhart, BUF 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
10. Anthony Duclair, ARI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Jaccob Slavin, CAR 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
He led all rookie defensemen in nearly every offensive category. He set several Flyers records and even a few NHL records, among them an impressive 15-game scoring streak. And he won the club’s Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers’ best defenseman, as voted by a panel of sportswriters and sportscasters, becoming the youngest Flyer to do so.
Tonight, he could walk away with a trophy no Flyer has ever been able to capture - the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL.
“It’s definitely special to be here,” said Gostisbehere during his media availability in Las Vegas. “Just looking around at some of the guys in this room, it’s pretty special just to be associated with the award. Obviously it was a little bit of struggle the year before, but I came back strong.”
The Flyers have had two runner-ups for the award: Ron Hextall in 1987 (behind Luc Robitaille) and Bill Barber in 1973 (behind Steve Vickers).
More recently, Matt Read finished fourth in the voting in 2011-12 when Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog won the award, while Mikael Renberg placed 3rd in his rookie campaign that saw him break the Flyers rookie scoring record in 1993-94 with 82 points. Goaltender Martin Brodeur took home the Calder that season.
Gostisbehere faces stiff competition among the finalists. He is nominated along with Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid. Panarin led all rookies with 30 goals, 47 assists and 77 points, along with seven game-winning goals. His 77 points ranked second on the team (only to Patrick Kane) and finished in the Top 10 among all NHL players.
McDavid’s season was shortened due to injury, but the No. 1 overall pick last summer led all rookies in points per-game at 1.07, recording 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points while playing just 45 games. He still finished fourth among all rookies in scoring, appearing in 35 less games than the three players above him.
Gostisbehere also had a shortened season. The Flyers 78th overall pick in 2012 was recalled from the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, on November 14 and had an immediate impact. He finished with 17 goals and 46 points in just 65 games to lead the Flyers defense in scoring and the entire team in overtime goals (4), while 16 of his goals either tied the game, gave the Flyers the lead, or became the game-winning goal.
But the former NCAA National Champion isn’t about to take the credit all for himself, especially after a tough 2014-15 season that saw him play only seven professional games due to a knee injury.
“It would mean a lot to me,” added Gostisbehere. “Everyone who has helped me get here, it would be for everyone who had a hand in my ability to play hockey.”
Tonight’s Award show will be hosted by world-renowned actor Will Arnett and take place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.