The NHL announced Thursday that the Florida Panthers' Aaron Ekblad, the Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau and the Ottawa Senators' Mark Stone are the three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, the award given to the league's most proficient first-year player.
Ekblad, a 19-year-old defenseman, was the top overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. He scored 12 goals and 27 assists for Florida over 81 games during the 2014-15 season. The Panthers did not make the playoffs.
Gaudreau logged 24 goals and 40 assists during the 2014-15 season, tying him for 28th in total points among active players. The 21-year-old left wing also has three postseason points, including one goal, in the first four games of the Flames' first-round playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Stone tied Gaudreau in points with 64, netting 26 goals and 38 assists over 80 games this past season. Stone, 22, played four games for the Senators in 2012-13, and 19 games for the team during the 2013-14 season. The 2014-15 season was his first full season with the team.
The Professional Hockey Writers' Association voted on the award, which will be presented on June 24 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, at the end of the regular season.
- Will Green