Jonathan Huberdeau scored on his first shot in his first game, so it only followed that his first season in the NHL would end with the Panthers' forward clutching the Calder Memorial Trophy for being the most proficient rookie in the league. The honor was announced live on NBC Sports Network on Saturday night as part of the pregame show for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Huberdeau, who recently turned 20, beat out fellow finalists Brandon Saad, of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Brendan Gallagher, of the Montreal Canadiens, for the first Calder Trophy in Panthers' history. "It was a surprise,'' Huberdeau said via conference call from Chicago. "I didn't know I was going to win it. The two other guys, there were a lot of good rookies this year. … I'm glad I won it.'' In a tight vote by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, Huberdeau and Gallagher both received 54 first-place votes. However, the Saint-Jerome, Quebec native edged Gallagher by just 193 voting points. Not much went right for the injury-decimated Panthers, who finished with the worst record in the NHL, but Huberdeau, the third overall draft pick in 2011, was easily the brightest light of a dark season. He finished with 14 goals and 31 points while playing all 48 games to tie for the rookie lead with Edmonton's Nail Yakupov, the first pick of 2012. "The entire Florida Panthers' organization is very proud of Jonathan and we commend him on earning this very special honor," Panthers GM Dale Tallon said. "He's a young, skilled and dynamic player who handled himself with both class and professionalism throughout his exceptional rookie season.'' Saad had 27 points while playing on a star-studded line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa for the President Trophy-winning and Stanley Cup finalist Blackhawks. Gallagher had 15 goals and 13 assists for the Northeast Division champion Habs.
Panthers forward Huberdeau wins NHL Rookie of the Year
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jun 16