Mathew Barzal led all NHL rookies in scoring last season.
As a result, there’s a good chance the Islanders center will be honored with the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie on Wednesday night.
The NHL will conduct its awards show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and Barzal, 21, is one of three Calder finalists along with Canucks right wing Brock Boeser, 21, and Coyotes center Clayton Keller, 19.
The Islanders have had four Calder winners: Denis Potvin (1974), Bryan Trottier (1976), Mike Bossy (1978) and Bryan Berard (1997). All but Berard have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Barzal, the 16th overall pick in 2015, centered the Islanders’ second line and scored 22 goals. He also tied Trottier’s team record for rookies with 63 assists for 85 points while playing all 82 games. He became the first rookie to have at least 20 goals and 60 assists since the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby in 2005-06. He was just the second rookie in NHL history with three five-point games after the Canadiens’ Joe Malone did so in 1917-18, the league’s first season.
Barzal finished 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Keller, in the rookie scoring race.
Keller, selected seventh overall in 2016, had 23 goals and 42 assists in 82 games.
Earlier in the season, it seemed Boeser, selected 23rd overall in 2015, would be the runaway Calder winner. But his season was cut short as he suffered a back injury when a hard check from the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck sent him awkwardly into the open door to the Canucks’ bench on March 5. Boeser finished with 29 goals and 26 assists in 62 games.
No Rangers are awards finalists, but the Devils’ Taylor Hall is a finalist for both the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP and the Ted Lindsay Award as the league’s best player as voted upon by the NHL Players’ Association. The Devils’ Brian Boyle, who returned to the lineup after missing the first 10 games of the season while being treated for chronic myeloid leukemia, is a Masterton Trophy Finalist for perseverance and dedication to the sport.