Lightning pair, Avs' MacKinnon finalists for top rookie

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 1:50 PM

(Reuters) - Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat were named as finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the top rookie, along with Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, the NHL said on Wednesday.

MacKinnon, the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, topped all first-year players in points with 63 and tied for the lead in goals with 24.

He also had five game-winning goals and had at least one point in 13 consecutive games to break Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky's record for the longest single-season point streak by a player aged 18 or younger.

Signed as a free agent, Johnson set a Lightning rookie record with 24 goals and is the first undrafted Calder finalist since 1991.

Joining Johnson on the ballot was teammate Palat, marking the first time that one club has had multiple Calder finalists since the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008.

Palat, a 23-year-old winger from the Czech Republic, ranked second among rookie scorers with 59 points, three points shy of Brad Richards's Lightning rookie record set during the 2000-01 season.

The award winner will be named June 24 at the National Hockey League awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)