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NHL Awards

Auston Matthews of Maple Leafs wins Calder Trophy

Center led NHL rookies in goals, points, shots on goal

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews remembers well the nerves he felt when he was getting ready to go to Buffalo last June for the 2016 NHL Draft.

Fast-forward a year later when Matthews, 19, was experiencing a different type of nerves on stage at the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile on Wednesday to accept the Calder Trophy after being the near-unanimous winner, receiving 164 of 167 first-place votes.

"I'm not a big public speaker, so definitely pretty nerve wracking going up there," Matthews said. "But it was pretty cool."

 

[RELATED: 2017 NHL Awards roundup]

 

Matthews was up against fellow finalists Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets and Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets to become the first Maple Leaf to win the Calder since Brit Selby in 1966. Matthews is the 10th Maple Leaf to win the award, joining Syl Apps (1937), Gaye Stewart (1943), Gus Bodnar (1944), Frank McCool (1945), Howie Meeker (1947), Frank Mahovlich (1958), Dave Keon (1961), Kent Douglas (1963) and Selby.

Matthews is the first United States-born player to win the Calder since defenseman Tyler Myers in 2010 with the Buffalo Sabres. Matthews had 40 goals and 29 assists in 82 regular-season games and four goals and one assist in six games in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Toronto lost to the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference First Round.

Video: Auston Matthews takes home the Calder Trophy

He was not expecting to be a landslide winner.

"It's a pretty big surprise to me, not only with Patrik, but for Zach to do what he did as a defenseman, 19 years old, it's not easy," Matthews said. "I think it's probably the hardest position to play being that young. And other players that weren't here, there was such a good rookie class, it's definitely a big honor to receive this award."

Time has flown for Matthews since that day in Buffalo when the Maple Leafs selected him with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

"It just seems like it was yesterday," he said. "It was a little bit more hectic at that time and a little bit more stressful."

Despite high expectations, Matthews scored four goals in his first NHL game against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 12. He finished the season tied for second in the League with Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning with 40 goals, behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who scored 44.

Video: NHL Awards | Auston Matthews addresses the media

Matthews led NHL rookies in goals, points (69) and shots on goal (279). He was the first rookie to score 40 goals in a season since Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals had 52 in 2005-06, and set a Maple Leafs rookie record for goals and points in a season, surpassing Wendel Clark's 34 goals in 1985-86 and Peter Ihnacak's 66 points in 1982-83.

In the process, Matthews helped the Maple Leafs go 40-27-15 and earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2013.

"You want to perform individually, but in the end you want to do what you can to help the team win and I felt I did a pretty good job at that and just doing my thing out there and having fun at the same time," he said. "I played with a lot of really good players. We're a young team that's continuing to build and trying to get better every day."

Video: Kevin Weekes speaks with Auston Matthews

 

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Auston Matthews, TOR 1661 (164-3-0-0-0)
2. Patrik Laine, WPG 1106 (3-134-24-6-0)
3. Zach Werenski, CBJ 711 (0-21-93-28-15)
4. Matt Murray, PIT 346 (0-6-25-52-23)
5. Mitchell Marner, TOR 273 (0-3-14-42-56)
6. William Nylander, TOR 143 (0-0-7-24-36)
7. Matthew Tkachuk, CGY 72 (0-0-4-11-19)
8. Sebastian Aho, CAR 26 (0-0-0-4-14)
9. Ivan Provorov, PHI 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
10. Brayden Point, TBL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Brady Skjei, NYR 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

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