MacKinnon voted finalist for Calder trophy

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

"OMG! No way!" said no one.

Everyone knew that Nathan MacKinnon was a lock for being a finalist in Calder Trophy voting. Most consider him a lock for the award itself. Anyone who's watched more than a handful of Avalanche games and looks at more than just stats couldn't possibly argue that notion.

From the NHL press release:

NEW YORK (April 23, 2014) -- Forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2013-14 Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition," the National Hockey League announced today. The Lightning is the first club to boast multiple Calder finalists since Chicago's Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews finished first and third, respectively, in 2008.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24, during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2014 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBCSN in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning

Johnson scored 24 goals to set a Lightning rookie record and tie MacKinnon for the lead among NHL rookies. He tied for the overall League lead in shorthanded goals (five) and tallied five power-play goals, becoming the second rookie in NHL history to record five of each in one season (Dennis Maruk, 1975-76). Johnson also led all rookies in total ice time (1,540:20) and face-offs (1,275). Signed as a free agent by Tampa Bay in March 2011, Johnson is the first undrafted Calder finalist since Chicago goaltender Ed Belfour took top honors in 1991.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

MacKinnon topped all first-year players in points (63), goals (24-tied), assists (39), power-play goals (8), game-winning goals (5-tied) and shots (241). The first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft tallied at least one point in 13 consecutive games from Jan. 25 to March 6 (5-13—18), breaking Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record for the longest single-season point streak by a player age 18 or younger (12 games). MacKinnon is the fourth Avalanche player voted a Calder finalist in the past eight years, joining Paul Stastny (2nd in 2007), Matt Duchene (3rd in 2010) and Gabriel Landeskog (1st in 2012).

Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning

Palat ranked second among rookie scorers with 23-36--59, three points shy of Brad Richards' Lightning rookie record of 62 points in 2000-01. Palat was the League's top rookie threat over the second half of the season, leading all first-year players in scoring after Jan. 1 (17- 27--44 in 42 GP, including 14 multiple-point games) and earning NHL Rookie of the Month honors for January and March. He posted an eight-game point streak from Dec. 23-Jan. 9, the longest ever by a Lightning rookie, and led all first-year players in plus-minus (+32).

History

From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, NHL President Frank Calder purchased a trophy each year to be given permanently to the NHL’s outstanding rookie. After Calder’s death, the League presented the Calder Trophy in his memory.

Announcement Schedule

The NHL is announcing the three finalists for its regular-season awards through May 6. The remaining announcement schedule:

Lady Byng Nominees
Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks, Ryan O'Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche and Martin St. Louis of  the New York Rangers

Thursday, April 24
Selke Trophy (forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game)
Friday, April 25
Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
Monday, April 28
Norris Trophy (top defenseman)
Tuesday, April 29
Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone
Wednesday, April 30
Masterton Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)
Thursday, May 1
Hart Trophy (most valuable player to his team)
Friday, May 2
NHL Foundation Player Award (community service)
Monday, May 5
Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players)
Tuesday, May 6
Jack Adams Award (top head coach)
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