Kirill Kaprizov took another step toward winning NHL rookie of the year on Thursday when he was named one of three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy. Kaprizov, who is considered the favorite to win the award, is joined by Dallas left winger Jason Robertson and Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic as finalists.
Kaprizov is the first-ever Wild player to be a finalist for the Calder and the seventh player to be named a finalist for a Professional Hockey Writers’ Association award, joining Lady Byng finalist Mikael Granlund (2017), Bill Masterton winners Devan Dubnyk (2015) and Josh Harding (2013), Norris finalist Ryan Suter (2013) and Selke finalists Mikko Koivu (2017) and Wes Walz (2003).
Kaprizov led the Wild and NHL rookies with 27 goals and 51 points in 55 games this season. The left winger also led the team and league rookies in even-strength goals (19), power-play goals (eight) and shots on goal (157), ranked tied for first in overtime goals (two), second in assists (24), even-strength points (38) and power-play points (13) and was tied for third in plus/minus rating (plus-10) and tied for fourth in game-winning goals (three).
The 24-year-old is one of four rookies since 1992-93 to lead a team in points during the regular season, while helping them qualify for the playoffs. The others were Toronto’s Auston Matthews (2016-17), Nashville’s Filip Forsberg (2014-15) and the Islanders’ Trent Hunter (2003-04).
Robertson, 21, had 17 goals and 28 assists and was a plus-13 in 51 games for the Stars. Nedeljkovic, 25, went 15-5-3 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .932 saves percentage in 23 games with the Hurricanes. Nedeljkovic had played in six NHL games over three seasons with Carolina before this season. Kaprizov, a fifth-round pick of the Wild in 2015, played six seasons in the KHL before joining Minnesota.
The winners of the NHL awards for this season will be revealed during the Stanley Cup semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.