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Gallagher, Huberdeau and Saad are the Calder finalists

May 6, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Brendan Gallagher #73 of the Montreal Canadiens shoots the puck during the NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre on February 16, 2013 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Flyers 4-1.
(February 15, 2013 - Source: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher, Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau, and Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad are the three finalists for the 2012-13 Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s rookie of the year.

Gallagher, 21, had 15 goals and 28 points in 44 games, while also providing Montreal with much-needed grit up front, despite being listed at just 5-foot-9 and 178 pounds.

Huberdeau, 19, tied for the lead among rookie scorers with 31 points in 48 games. He also played the most of the three candidates, averaging 16:55 of ice time.

Saad, 20, had 10 goals and 17 assists in 46 games. The Pittsburgh native was drafted 43rd overall in 2011.

Notable “snubs,” if you want to call them that, include:

Nail Yakupov — technically won the rookie scoring race with 31 points, since his 17 goals for Edmonton were more than Huberdeau’s 14.

Cory Conacher — finished third in rookie scoring with 29 points for both Tampa Bay and Ottawa.

Justin Schultz — the Oilers’ defenseman averaged 21:26 of ice time and racked up 27 points, the most of any rookie blue-liner.

Jonas Brodin — led all rookie d-men in average TOI (23:12) while paired in Minnesota with Ryan Suter.

  1. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - May 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    I would personally put Schultz or Conacher in there over Saad, but that’s just a minor complaint.

    Also, it’s a shame that Alex Killorn of the Lightning didn’t join the team until about halfway into the season or he would have been a very strong candidate. I was extremely impressed with him, he almost never played like a rookie and you constantly hear his name when he’s on the ice. Does a lot of the little things to keep plays going that most guys give up on.

    • mathieug79 - May 6, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      very good two-way forward!!

      • jpelle82 - May 6, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        he is, and an all situation type guy and was +17. still surprised conacher isnt a finalist instead though, nhl usually favors stats. i’m rooting for saad…he’s from pittsburgh…

  2. lostpuppysyndrome - May 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Definitely the best rookie class in recent memory. You could make the case that any of those above mentioned rookies got snubbed. Tough call. Should make for some great hockey down the road.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Really! What about 2005-2006 Calder trophy finalists Ovi, Crosby and Phaneuf.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - May 6, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        That one would probably be the best but for the fact that there was no 04-05 season. Ovi and a bunch of other players would have probably been playing a year earlier had there been no lockout.

  3. dasportsninja - May 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I give it to Saad. Huberdeau was on a bad team and got more oppertunity on the PP and more minutes then the other 2. Brendan Gallagher probably deserves the award, but the Canadians fans are so damn annoying I couldn’t bare to here them talk him up.

  4. hockeywithdrawal - May 6, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    I don’t know how to feel about these – Saad hasn’t played like a rookie, he’s been great. But he’s also not just on a great team, he’s on a great LINE. Huberdeau deserves to be a finalist, I’d agree…I really don’t care for Yakupov but I’d have included him. To win (or tie) for the rookie scoring race, on a fairly bad team, is saying something I think.

  5. pdmjr - May 6, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    ‘Hawks brought Saad along slowly like a good team does. He is very skilled, strong on the puck plays on PK which is amazing for a rookie. Then they saw enough to put him on the top line midway through. You have to be good to play with players like Toews on a regular basis. If he wasn’t worthy the coach would hear about it for sure.

    • esracerx46 - May 6, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Said was a 2nd round pick last year. He played the first 2 games of last season when Carcillo was suspended then was sent back. The called back up for the playoffs. Averaged like 1.8 points per in the OHL. He wasn’t rushed, but they didn’t take their time either. Was good in the AHL after a slow start there. The Hawks didn’t ease him into the top line. He was there his first game of the season replacing Carcillo on the top line after Carcillo got hurt in the opener.

  6. jjregan21 - May 6, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    I’m pretty sure Huberdeau is the most impressive player on that list. They all performed at about the same level, only Huberdeau had a minor league team as his support and still managed to deliver.

    • esracerx46 - May 6, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      Michael Frolik was a 2 time 20 goal scorer on that same minor league team a couple years ago. I don’t want to take anything away from Huberdeau, but when you’re getting all the chances his number might be a little inflated. Then again I’m more than a little biased in Saad’s favor even though I was kind of surprised to see him in the top 3.

  7. noozehound - May 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Brodin played more minutes than any other rookie defender. He played on a team that is in the playoffs. And he’s been on the top pairing with Ryan Suter since he was caught up. Oh, and he’s 19 years old. He’s going to be the next best defenseman for 20 years.

  8. 19to77 - May 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Gallagher and Saad play more complete games than Huberdeau, and don’t get the ice time that he does due to being on much deeper, better teams. I’d probably give it to Gallagher. Second-most goals amongst rookies has to count for something, especially considering Yakattack’s already out of consideration.

  9. canucks30 - May 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    At last check Nail Yakupov was still seen celebrating his goal against the LA Kings

  10. mildfan - May 6, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    For Brodin not to be a finalist is a joke!! Who wretches idiots who vote and don’t know the game of hockey. Worsonly rookie on the list I have heard of is saad.

  11. dumbassgreg - May 7, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    huberdeau should win. defensemen have no chance unless it is a year no forwards score much or goalies play well. like year barrett jackman won

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