Kirill Kaprizov, Jason Robertson and Alex Nedeljkovic were named finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy on Thursday.
The award is given annually to the best rookie in the NHL as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and the winner will be announced as part of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone during the Stanley Cup Semifinals or Stanley Cup Final.
Kaprizov, a 24-year-old forward, led NHL rookies in goals (27), points (51), power-play goals (eight) and shots on goal (157) in 55 games for the Minnesota Wild. He finished second in even-strength points (38) and power-play points (13), and was tied for third in plus/minus rating (plus-10). He led the Wild in goals, points, points per game (0.93) and overtime goals (two), and scored three game-winning goals. Kaprizov, who averaged 18:18 of ice time per game and had a shooting percentage of 17.2 percent, scored the most goals, assists and points by a rookie in Wild history.
Kaprizov, who led Minnesota (35-16-5) to a third-place finish in the Honda West Division and a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, would be the first Wild player to win the award.
“Obviously, [winning] would make it a little bit easier, having such a tough season and leaving in the first round of the playoffs, obviously it would make things a little bit better,” Kaprizov said. “But honestly I’m the type of person that doesn’t really look for personal accolades. I’d much rather have the team win and have the team do better than my own personal gains.”
Robertson, a 21-year-old forward, led NHL rookies in assists (28) and even-strength points (39), and was tied for first in plus/minus (plus-13) in 51 games for the Dallas Stars. He was second in points (45) and tied for second in goals (17). Robertson was second on the Stars in points behind Joe Pavelski (51) and third in shots on goal (127) in 16:53 of ice time per game.
Robertson would be the third Stars/Minnesota North Stars player to win the award, joining Bobby Smith in 1978-79 and Danny Grant in 1968-69.
Nedeljkovic, a 25-year-old goalie, was 15-5-3 for the Carolina Hurricanes and tied for the NHL rookie lead in shutouts (three) with Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders. Nedeljkovic’s 1.90 goals-against average and .932 save percentage led all NHL goalies who played at least 20 games. He allowed two goals or fewer in 16 of his 23 starts and helped the Hurricanes (36-12-8) finish first in the eight-team Discover Central Division.
Nedeljkovic would be the second Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers player to win the award and first since Jeff Skinner in 2010-11. He also would be the first goalie to win the Calder since Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008-09.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar won the Calder Trophy last season.
NHL.com independent correspondent Jessi Pierce contributed to this report