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Nikolai Knyzhov Voted 'Sharks Rookie of the Year'

by San Jose Sharks @SanJoseSharks / sjsharks.com

SAN JOSE, CA - The San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) announced today that defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov (@NikolaiKnyzhov) has been selected as this year's "Sharks Rookie of the Year" in a vote by Bay Area media. This is the fourth year in a row a Sharks defenseman has received the award.

Knyzhov, 23, finished eighth on the Sharks in average ice time, averaging 16:45 while playing in all 56 of the team's games (minimum 10 games played). Amongst team defensemen, he ranked fourth with ten points (two goals, eight assists) and led with 39 penalty minutes. His ten points rank seventh among all NHL rookie blueliners and his 51 shots rank eighth.

He ranked second on among team blueliners in hits (84), fifth in blocked shots (54) and has only had 18 giveaways in 56 NHL games.

Knyzhov collected his first NHL point on Feb. 9 at Los Angeles and scored his first NHL goal on March 31 vs. Minnesota. He skated in a career-high 22:10 TOI on Feb. 18 at St. Louis. He made his NHL debut on March 7, 2020 vs. Ottawa.

Born in Kemerovo, Russia on Aug. 20, 1998, Knyzhov moved to the United States as a teenager. He spent 2015-16 and part of the 2016-17 season playing between Regina (WHL), Springfield (NAHL) and Austin (NAHL), before returning to Russia. Over the next two seasons, he played in the Russian Jr. League and three games with St. Petersburg of the KHL.

The six-foot-three, 215-pound blueliner was signed by San Jose as an undrafted free agent on July 2, 2019.

PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD:

2019-20 Mario Ferraro

2018-19 Radim Simek

2017-18 Joakim Ryan

2016-17 Kevin Labanc

2015-16 Joonas Donskoi

2014-15 Melker Karlsson

2013-14 Matt Nieto & Tomas Hertl

2012-13 Matt Irwin

2011-12 Andrew Desjardins

2010-11 Logan Couture

2009-10 Jason Demers

2008-09 Tomas Plihal

2007-08 Torrey Mitchell

2006-07 Marc-Edouard Vlasic

2005-06 Milan Michalek

2003-04 Tom Preissing

2002-03 Jim Fahey

2001-02 Matt Bradley

2000-01 Evgeni Nabokov

1999-00 Brad Stuart

1998-99 Alexander Korolyuk

1997-98 Patrick Marleau, Marco Sturm, Andrei Zyuzin

1996-97 Stephen Guolla

1995-96 Marcus Ragnarsson

1994-95 Jeff Friesen

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