Cam Tucker

Auston Matthews claims Calder Memorial Trophy

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Auston Matthews reached the 40-goal plateau in his rookie season, capturing the Calder Trophy on Wednesday after helping accelerate the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rebuilding process.

Selected first overall last year, Matthews made his mark on the NHL right away, scoring four goals in his very first game.

Talk about a debut.

He continued that elite offensive flare all the way through the regular season, finishing with 69 points and helping the Maple Leafs into the postseason.

Matthews beats out Patrik Laine, who had an impressive 36 goals and 64 points in Winnipeg, and Columbus rookie defenseman Zach Werenski.

The Calder Trophy goes to the league’s top rookie.

This was a truly impressive rookie class.

Matthews, who set a new American rookie goal record, has become the face of a franchise loaded with young talent, including Mitch Marner and William Nylander. With that injection of skilled youth into their lineup, the Maple Leafs gave the Washington Capitals all they could handle in the opening round, before eventually bowing out to Alex Ovechkin and the Caps.

His play certainly grabbed the attention of the league’s best players, including Sidney Crosby.

“I think the biggest thing that stands out is how he complete he is,” said Crosby earlier in the season. “That’s what I noticed from just watching him play. Just that maturity.

“His game is just so well-rounded. He’s a guy who can score goals but he’s a guy who can play away from the puck. He’s strong on the puck. He scores goals different ways, and that is probably a big reason why he is so consistent. He’s got a great shot, but he can also score from in close and goes to the net hard too.”

The winner of the award is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Here is how the voting turned out:

Points: (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

1. Auston Matthews, TOR 1661 (164-3-0-0-0)
2. Patrik Laine, WPG 1106 (3-134-24-6-0)
3. Zach Werenski, CBJ 711 (0-21-93-28-15)
4. Matt Murray, PIT 346 (0-6-25-52-23)
5. Mitchell Marner, TOR 273 (0-3-14-42-56)
6. William Nylander, TOR 143 (0-0-7-24-36)
7. Matthew Tkachuk, CGY 72 (0-0-4-11-19)
8. Sebastian Aho, CAR 26 (0-0-0-4-14)
9. Ivan Provorov, PHI 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
10. Brayden Point, TBL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Brady Skjei, NYR 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Patrice Bergeron wins record-tying fourth Selke Trophy

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Patrice Bergeron‘s dominance as perhaps the best two-way forward in the game continues.

For the fourth time in six years, Bergeron has captured the Selke Trophy, given to the forward that best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. He ties Bob Gainey as the only player to win the award four times.

He beats out Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Kesler, a winner of this award in 2011, and first-time finalist Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild.

Bergeron scored 21 goals and 53 points in 79 games, helping the Bruins back into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Simply put, Bergeron may go down as one of the best two-way forwards to play the game when his career is done. Not only does he put up solid offensive numbers every season, scoring 30 or more goals in three different seasons, but he’s counted upon to take key faceoffs — winning 60.1 per cent of his draws — and he dominates in puck possession.

This past season, in more than 1,035 minutes at five-on-five, Bergeron had a 61.1 per cent Corsi For rating.

Last month, Bergeron underwent surgery for a sports hernia but is expected to be ready for the start of next season.

The award is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Here is how the voting turned out:

Points. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

1. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 1147 (71-39-24-11-11)
2. Ryan Kesler, ANA 945 (45-45-25-15-10)
3. Mikko Koivu, MIN 752 (28-34-28-28-10)
4. Mikael Backlund, CGY 310 (3-12-26-16-18)
5. Jonathan Toews, CHI 273 (5-9-17-17-24)
6. Mark Stone, OTT 113 (0-2-7-16-16)
7. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH 111 (1-6-4-9-12)
8. John Tavares, NYI 80 (1-5-2-6-7)
9. Jordan Staal, CAR 55 (1-3-2-3-5)
10. Sidney Crosby, PIT 51 (3-1-2-1-1)
11. Ryan O’Reilly, BUF 51 (0-1-5-4-7)
12. Brad Marchand, BOS 50 (1-3-3-1-1)
13. Mikael Granlund, MIN 33 (0-1-1-6-3)
14. Marian Hossa, CHI 31 (1-0-2-3-2)
15. Anze Kopitar, LAK 30 (0-0-2-5-5)
16. Connor McDavid, EDM 28 (1-0-2-2-2)
17. Aleksander Barkov, FLA 21 (1-0-1-1-3)
18. Henrik Zetterberg, DET 21 (0-1-2-1-1)
19. T.J. Oshie, WSH 20 (2-0-0-0-0)
20. Nazem Kadri, TOR 19 (0-1-2-0-2)

Kings’ d-man McNabb reportedly on his way to Vegas

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After spending the last three seasons with the L.A. Kings, Brayden McNabb is reportedly on his way to Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights, it appears, have selected the 26-year-old left-shooting defenseman in the expansion draft. He has one more year remaining on his current contract, with an affordable $1.7 million cap hit.

Originally selected in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, McNabb played in only 49 games for the Kings this past season, as a collarbone injury kept him out for about two months.

He finished the campaign with two goals and four points.

In his first season with L.A, McNabb had a career high 22 assists and 24 points.

The Kings opted to protected eight players and a goalie from the expansion draft, with Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik highlighting the list of players exposed. It was suggested, however, that Vegas could make a play for McNabb.

Report: Perron selected by Golden Knights

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David Perron is on his way to the Vegas Golden Knights. That’s according to Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest.

This will mark Perron’s fifth NHL club.

Back with the St. Louis Blues on a two-year contract, Perron scored 18 goals and 46 points, playing the full 82-game schedule. However, he had only one assist in 11 playoff games.

That would help alleviate some cap space for the Blues heading into the offseason.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The removal of Perron’s salary will add $3.75 million to the Blues’ 2017-18 cap space, leaving them $10.25 million according to Capfriendly.com under the $75 million ceiling heading into the offseason. They have three restricted free agents with forwards Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov and defenseman Colton Parayko, along with one unrestricted free agent, Scottie Upshall. In all, the club has 19 players under contract.

Perron will go to Vegas with one year remaining on his deal with an annual cap hit of $3.75 million. He’ll be a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

Report: After impressive AHL postseason, Wings prospect Nosek ‘most likely’ Vegas bound

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Jeff Blashill was highly complimentary of Tomas Nosek during the Grand Rapids Griffins run to the Calder Cup.

“I don’t know what all the pieces will be for us next season, but certainly Nosek made us confident he can be an effective NHL player,” said Blashill, the Red Wings head coach, as he voiced his observations of the AHL playoffs.

Nosek may soon be an effective NHL player, as Blashill suggested, but it appears it won’t be for the Red Wings.

Per Craig Custance of The Athletic Detroit, Nosek is “most likely” to be selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.

Nosek was never drafted, but has worked his way into becoming a nice prospect for the Red Wings. He certainly brings an element of size up front, standing 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds. In Grand Rapids this season, he achieved career highs for assists (26) and points (41), before putting together a very impressive postseason, scoring 10 goals and 22 points in 19 games, as Grand Rapids won the Calder Cup.

Nosek was among a trio of Red Wings prospects — included in that group was Tyler Bertuzzi and 2015 first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov — that had particularly strong playoff performances for the Griffins and may have challenged for spots up front with the big club next season.

If Nosek is selected by the Golden Knights, it would keep goalie Petr Mrazek with the Red Wings — at least for now, anyway.

The Red Wings raised eyebrows by exposing Mrazek in the first place, with his attitude being among the reported reasons why Detroit took such a step.