Florida Panthers’ defenseman Aaron Ekblad has been named one of three finalists for the NHL’s Calder Trophy award, which goes to the league’s top rookie. Ekblad totaled 39 points in 81 games this season, which is the 3rd most by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history behind Phil Housley and Bobby Orr. This point total also gave Ekblad the Panthers’ franchise record for most points, goals, and assists by a rookie defenseman. a He averaged 21:47 minutes of ice time and spent most of that time matched up against some of the opponents’ top players while paired with veteran Brian Campbell.
The two other finalists are forwards Mark Stone (26g, 38a) of the Ottawa Senators Johnny Gaudreau (24g, 40a) of the Calgary Flames. The last and only other Panther to win the Calder Trophy was Jonathan Huberdeau in the 2012-13 season after posting 31 points in 48 games. The winner of the Calder Trophy will be announced on June 24th at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.