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Your All-Rookie Team

EDMONTON (Sept. 21, 2020) – The National Hockey League announced today the 2019-20 NHL All-Rookie Team, including the three players voted as finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League’s top rookie: defensemen Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche as well as forward Dominik Kubalik of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Also named to the 2019-20 NHL All-Rookie Team are goaltender Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets and forwards Victor Olofsson of the Buffalo Sabres and Nick Suzuki of the Montreal Canadiens.

Voting was conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association after the conclusion of the regular season. Following is a summary of each NHL All-Rookie Team member’s outstanding campaign:

GOALTENDER

 

Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets

Merzlikins, a third-round pick (76th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, led rookies and ranked among the top five goaltenders in the entire NHL in shutouts (t-2nd; 5), goals-against average (5th; 2.35) and save percentage (5th; .923) in 33 contests. He went 13-9-8 overall, highlighted by an eight-game winning streak from Jan. 11 – Feb. 7 during which he recorded all five of his shutouts (1.00 GAA, .967 SV%). In doing so, Merzlikins became the sixth NHL goaltender (rookie or veteran) to earn five shutouts in a span of eight or fewer appearances since 1929-30 (when forward passing was permitted inside all three zones) – a feat last achieved by Brian Boucher, who blanked five straight opponents from Dec. 31, 2003 – Jan. 9, 2004 (w/ PHX). The 26-year-old Riga, Latvia, native is Columbus’ first All-Rookie Team representative since teammate Zach Werenski in 2016-17 and the second Blue Jackets goaltender to make the list, following Steve Mason in 2008-09.

 

DEFENSEMEN (in alphabetical order)

 

Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks

Hughes, the seventh overall choice in the 2018 NHL Draft, posted 8-45—53 in 68 games to become the third defenseman in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to top all rookies in scoring (outright or tied), joining Bobby Orr (1966-67 w/ BOS) and Brian Leetch (1988-89 w/ NYR). His 53 points were the most by any rookie blueliner since 1991-92, when Nicklas Lidstrom compiled 11-49—60 in 80 appearances (w/ DET), and three shy of Dale Tallon’s single-season franchise record for a rookie defenseman, set in 10 more games in 1970-71 (14-42—56 in 78 GP). Hughes also led all 2019-20 rookies in assists (45), power-play assists (22) and power-play points (25), while ranking among the top five in average time on ice (2nd; 21:53), total time on ice (2nd; 1,488:09) and shots on goal (5th; 126). The 20-year-old Orlando, Fla., native is Vancouver’s third All-Rookie Team selection in as many seasons, following teammates Brock Boeser in 2017-18 and Elias Pettersson in 2018-19, and the first Canucks defenseman to receive the honor since Mattias Ohlund in 1997-98.

 

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

Makar, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, made waves in his first full NHL season, topping rookies with 0.88 points per game (12-38—50 in 57 GP). Only three other rookie blueliners in NHL history have averaged as many points per game in a single season (minimum: 50 GP): Leetch (1.04 in 1988-89 w/ NYR), Larry Murphy (0.95 in 1980-81 w/ LAK) and Al MacInnis (0.88 in 1983-84 w/ CGY). The 21-year-old Calgary native also finished among the 2019-20 rookie leaders in game-winning goals (t-1st; 4), assists (2nd; 38), points (2nd; 50), power-play assists (2nd; 15), power-play points (2nd; 19), average time on ice (3rd; 21:01), goals (6th; 12), power-play goals (t-6th; 4), plus/minus (7th; +12), shots on goal (8th; 121) and shooting percentage (8th; 9.9%). Makar – a unanimous selection – is Colorado’s first All-Rookie Team representative since teammate Nathan MacKinnon in 2013-14 and the third Avalanche/Nordiques defenseman to make the list, following Bruce Bell in 1984-85 and John-Michael Liles in 2003-04.

 

FORWARDS (in alphabetical order)

 

Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks

Kubalik, a seventh-round pick (191st overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2013 NHL Draft, led all rookies with 30 goals in 68 games (30-16—46), making him the fifth rookie in Blackhawks history to reach the 30-goal milestone after Steve Larmer (43 in 1982-83), Darryl Sutter (40 in 1980-81), Eric Daze (30 in 1995‑96) and Artemi Panarin (30 in 2015-16). The 25-year-old Plzen, Czech Republic, native became the first Czech-born player in NHL history to pace rookies in goals as well as the third to reach the 30‑goal plateau, joining Petr Klima (32 in 1985-86) and Petr Prucha (30 in 2005-06). Kubalik, who topped all 2019-20 rookies and ranked seventh in the entire NHL with a 19.1 shooting percentage, also placed among the top 10 freshmen in shots on goal (1st; 157), points (3rd; 46), power-play goals (t‑6th; 4), game-winning goals (t‑6th; 3), assists (t-9th; 16) and power-play points (t-10th; 8). He is Chicago’s fourth All-Rookie Team honoree in the past decade, joining Corey Crawford (2010-11), Brandon Saad (2012-13) and Panarin (2015-16).

 

Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres

Olofsson, who entered the season with two goals in six games (both on the man-advantage), became the first player in NHL history to score each of his first eight career goals via the power play (March 28 – Oct. 16, 2019: 8-4—12 in 13 GP). He ultimately topped rookies and shared 11th place in the entire NHL with 11 power-play goals in 2019-20 (54 GP) – the most by a Sabres rookie since 2005-06 (Thomas Vanek: 11 in 81 GP). Olofsson, a seventh-round selection (181st overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, also placed among the top five rookies in game-winning goals (t-1st; 4), goals (t-2nd; 20), power-play points (3rd; 17), shooting percentage (3rd; 15.7%), points (4th; 42), shots on goal (4th; 127) and assists (5th; 22). The 25-year-old Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native – who scored his first even-strength goal during the 2019 NHL Global Series in Stockholm (Nov. 9 at TBL) – is Buffalo’s second All-Rookie Team selection in as many seasons, following Rasmus Dahlin in 2018-19, and the first Sabres forward to make the list since Jack Eichel in 2015-16.

 

Nick Suzuki, Montreal Canadiens

Suzuki, the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft (by the Vegas Golden Knights), led rookie forwards in total time on ice (1,135:16) and even-strength time on ice (960:02) in 71 appearances. He finished sixth among all rookies with 41 points – the most by a Canadiens freshman since 2003-04, when Michael Ryder collected 63 in 81 contests. Suzuki also ranked among the top five rookies in shots on goal (2nd; 138), power-play goals (3rd; 6), assists (4th; 28), power-play points (4th; 14), goals (5th; 13) and power-play assists (5th; 8). The 21-year-old London, Ont., native is Montreal’s first All-Rookie Team honoree since teammate Brendan Gallagher in 2012-13 and the seventh Canadiens forward to make the list since it was introduced in 1982-83. The others: Mats Naslund (1982-83), Kjell Dahlin (1985-86), Gilbert Dionne (1991-92), Oleg Petrov (1993-94), Ryder (2003-04) and Gallagher (2012-13).

 

*           *           *           *           *

 

2019-20 NHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM VOTING

(1 point per vote)

 

GOALTENDERS

 

 

 

Points

1.

ELVIS MERZLIKINS, CBJ

92

2.

Mackenzie Blackwood, NJD

75

3.

Ilya Samsonov, WSH

3

 

DEFENSEMEN

 

 

 

Points

1.

CALE MAKAR, COL

170

2.

QUINN HUGHES, VAN

167

3.

Adam Fox, NYR

3

 

FORWARDS

 

 

 

Points

1.

DOMINIK KUBALIK, CHI

169

2.

VICTOR OLOFSSON, BUF

163

3.

NICK SUZUKI, MTL

134

4.

Denis Gurianov, DAL

29

5.

Martin Necas, CAR

15

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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