RALEIGH, NC - The Carolina Hurricanes today announced that captain Jordan Staal has been selected by his teammates as the winner of the 2020-21 Steve Chiasson Award. The Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) has also named Alex Nedeljkovic the winner of the 2020-21 Josef Vasicek Award and selected Sebastian Aho as the team's most valuable player.
The Steve Chiasson award is given annually to the Hurricanes player that best exemplifies determination and dedication while proving to be an inspiration to his teammates through his performance and approach to the game. The Josef Vasicek Award is given annually by the PHWA for outstanding cooperation with the local media. Formerly known as the Good Guy Award, the award was renamed in 2012 by the Carolina chapter of the PHWA in honor of Vasicek, a former Hurricanes' forward who died in a plane crash in Russia in September 2011.
Staal, 32, has been selected as the Steve Chiasson Award winner for the third time in his career, also receiving the honor in 2014-15 and 2017-18. He earned 38 points (16g, 22a) in 53 games with the Hurricanes this season, marking his highest point total since 2017-18. He ranked fourth on the team in goals, including a career-high seven on the power play, and sixth in assists and points. The 6'4", 220-pound center also ranked sixth in the NHL with a 58.0% faceoff win percentage (min. 1,000 faceoffs) and led the team with 135 hits. Staal has registered 327 points (121g, 206a) in 583 games with Carolina and ranks eighth in points, ninth in goals, fifth in assists and fifth in games played in team history (since relocation). The Thunder Bay, Ont., native has recorded 575 points (241g, 334a) in 1,014 career NHL games with Pittsburgh and Carolina and won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.
Nedeljkovic, 25, has won the Josef Vasicek Award for the first time in his career, and he joins Arturs Irbe (2001-02) and Cam Ward (2007-08) as the only goaltenders to win the award. He posted a 15-5-3 record with a 1.90 goals-against average, .932 save percentage in three shutouts as a rookie this season. The 6'0", 201-pound goalie posted the best single-season goals-against average and save percentage in franchise history. His three shutouts ranked tied for fifth in the NHL and tied for first among NHL rookies in 2020-21. Nedeljkovic was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for March after going 6-1-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and one shutout in eight games that month. The Parma, Ohio, native has posted a 17-7-4 record, 2.01 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and three shutouts in 29 career NHL/Hurricanes games.
Aho, 23, has been named the Hurricanes' most valuable player for the fourth consecutive season. He tallied 57 points (24g, 33a) in 56 games with Carolina in 2020-21. He led the team in goals, assists and points this season, becoming the first Hurricanes player to accomplish the feat since Eric Staal in 2011-12. He was one of only 13 NHL players to record at least 20 goals and 30 assists in 2020-21. The 6'0", 173-pound center also led the team with three shorthanded goals and tied for first with seven power-play goals. Aho was named the Central Division Star of the Month for April after posting 18 points (6g, 12a) in 16 games that month. He has now played 239 consecutive games, marking the fifth-longest ironman streak in franchise history. The Rauma, Finland, native has registered 320 points (145g, 175a) in 366 career NHL/Hurricanes games.