Winnipeg Jets right winger Patrik Laine, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Calder Memorial Trophy, which goes to the NHL's top rookie, the league announced on Thursday.
Matthews and Laine were the top two picks in last summer's draft while Werenski was the No. 8 overall pick a year earlier.
Laine ranked second among rookies with 36 goals and 64 points in 73 games -- both single-season franchise records for a first-year player. He also led rookies in shooting percentage (17.6 percent) and shared first place in power-play goals (9), while placing in the top 10 in game-winning goals (5), shots on goal (204), power-play points (14) and assists (28). Laine became the first player in NHL history to post three hat tricks prior to his 19th birthday as well as being the first rookie (at any age) to notch three hat tricks in one season since 1992-93. The Tampere, Finland, native celebrated his 19th birthday Wednesday.
Matthews led rookies with 40 goals and 69 points while appearing in all 82 games. His 40 goals also shared second place in the league. Matthews set franchise rookie records for goals and points, also ranked in the top 10 among first-year players in game-winning goals (8), shots on goal (279), power-play points (21), power-play goals (8), power-play assists (13), shooting percentage (14.3 percent) and assists (29). The 19-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., native is Toronto's first Calder Trophy finalist since 1992-93 (Felix Potvin).
Werenski led rookie defensemen in goals (11), assists (36) and points (47) in 78 games. He also paced all rookies with a plus-17 rating, while ranking in the top 10 among first-year players in power-play assists (17), power-play points (21), assists (36), shots on goal (188), points (47) and power-play goals (4). At age 19, Werenski registered the sixth-most points by a teenage defenseman in his rookie NHL season.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season. The winner will be announced June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
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