NHL announces trophy finalists

While NHL fans await the outcome of the first-round playoff series and the confirmed matchups for the second round, the league has kept them busy by announcing the trophy finalists. The majority of  individual trophies are awarded on a voting basis while the Rocket Richard, Art Ross and William Jennings awards are based on statistics. The results of the balloting will be announced in Las Vegas, Nevada at the league’s awards ceremony on June 20th.  
We already know Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has captured his seventh Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the league in goals with 49. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers took home his second straight Art Ross for leading the league in points with 41 goals and 67 assists for 108 and Jonathan Quick won his second Jennings Trophy for leading the Los Angeles Kings to the fewest goals against in 2017/18.
Calder Memorial Trophy
The three finalists for the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year are forwards Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders, Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes and the Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser.
The 20-year-old Barzal was drafted 16th overall by the Islanders in 2015 and the centre led the league in rookie scoring with 22 goals and 63 assists for 85 points.

The 21-year-old Boeser is a right-winger who was drafted 23rdoverall by Vancouver in 2015. He racked up 29 goals and 26 assists for 55 points. He ranked second in goals for rookies and fifth in points. However, he played just 62 games due to a back injury. Boeser has already been recognized for his fine play this season as he was named the MVP of this year’s NHL All-Star Game.

Keller is a 19-year-old center who was drafted seventh overall by Arizona in 2016. He finished the season with 23 goals and 42 assists. He was second in rookie scoring to Barzal and the top rookie scorer ever for the franchise since it moved to Arizona.

James Norris Trophy
The Norris Trophy finalists for the league’s best defenceman are Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings. This is the second straight nomination for Hedman after he finished third in last year’s voting. The 27-year-old was tied for first in goals scored for a blueliner with 17 and added 46 assists for 63 points. He also finished the season at plus-32.

The 28-year-old Doughty racked up 10 goals and 50 assists for a career-best 60 points and led the NHL in total ice time at an average of 26:50 per game. He also reached his milestone 100th goal, 300th assists and 400th point this season. This is Doughty’s fourth time as a Norris finalist and he won the award in 2016.

The 28-year-old Subban scored a career-high 16 goals and added 43 helpers for 59 points and finished the season with a plus-18 ranking. He’s been a finalist for the award on two previous occasions and won it back in 2013. Subban’s hoping to become the first defenceman in Predators’ history to take home the Norris Trophy.

Frank J. Selke Trophy
The Selke Trophy is given to the best defensive forward each season and this year’s finalists are centres Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings. The 32-year-old Bergeron has been a finalist for the award for a league-record seven straight years and is currently tied with Bob Gainey for the most Selke awards in history at four.
Bergeron was ranked sixth in the NHL this year for faceoff percentage at 57.3 per cent and led the league in shorthanded draws at 58.3 per cent. He finished the year with 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points in 64 games and was a plus-21.

The 25-year-old Couturier was ranked third in the league in plus/minus at plus-34 and his 21:35 minutes of average ice time per game ranked third for forwards. He also led his team in shorthanded ice time and puck possession. This is Couturier’s first time as a finalist for the trophy and he finished the season with 34 goals and 45 assists for 76 points in 82 games.

The 30-year-old Kopitar led all NHL forwards when it came to total ice time and averaged 22:05 minutes per contest. He also led the Kings forwards at shorthanded ice time and ranked third in the league for total faceoffs and faceoff wins. Kopitar has now been a finalist for the Selke Trophy four times in the last five years. He won it in 2016, came in second place in 2014 in third place in 2015. Kopitar chipped in with 35 goals and 57 assists for 92 points in 82 games and was a plus-21.
Vezina Trophy
The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the league’s top goaltender and this year’s finalists are Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. The 35-year-old Rinne was third in wins at 42 and helped his team finish first overall this season. His posted a franchise-record eight shutouts, was fifth-best in the league for goals-against average at 2.31 and owned the seventh-best percentage at 92.7. He’s a finalist for the fourth time after finishing second in voting in 2010/11 and 2014/15 and third back in 2011/12.
The 24-year-old Hellebuyck is a finalist for the first time and he’s also the first finalist in his franchise’s history. He was tied for first in the league for wins with 44 and set a new record for wins in a season by an American-born goalie. He set a franchise-record nine straight wins and finished eighth in the league in goals-against average at 2.36 and was 10th-best in save percentage at 92.4
The 23-year-old Vasilevskiy was tied with Hellebucyk in league wins ant 44 and helped Tampa Bay to their best season in history. The Russian-born netminder posted a goals-against-average of 2.62 and a save percentage of 92.0. He also set a franchise record with nine consecutive wins. He’s a first-time finalist for the award and aiming to become the first Tampa goalie ever to win it.

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