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Bedard, Faber, Hughes voted Calder Trophy finalists

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Chicago Blackhawks phenom Connor Bedard, Minnesota Wild workhorse Brock Faber, and New Jersey Devils blue-liner Luke Hughes are the trio of finalists in contention to take home the Calder Trophy, the league announced Tuesday.

The Calder Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association at the end of the regular season. The honor is presented annually "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition."

The battle for the hardware was largely a two-horse race between Bedard and Faber all season long.

Bedard lived up to the hype as the 2023 first overall pick, leading all rookies with 22 goals, 61 points, and 206 shots in 68 outings while seeing just under 20 minutes of ice time per contest.

The 18-year-old was a key driver of the struggling Blackhawks offense, factoring in on 34% of the team's 178 goals on the campaign. He also had a seven-point lead on Philipp Kurashev for the most on the team, which becomes even more impressive given that Bedard missed 14 games with a fractured jaw.

Bedard posted the best campaign by a teenage rookie in franchise history since Patrick Kane in 2007-08. Artemi Panarin is the latest Blackhawk to win the Calder Trophy after taking it home in 2016, but he was 24 years old at the time.

As a rookie defenseman, Faber's play may not have been as flashy as Bedard's, but he put together a Calder-worthy campaign in his own right. He tied Bedard for the most assists in the rookie class (39) and matched Hughes for the second-most points (47) while appearing in all 82 contests. Faber was also the league's busiest first-year player; he averaged 24:58 minutes of ice time per game, 3:30 minutes more than Hughes in second place.

Those minutes weren't easy, either, as Faber was tasked with handling top opposing players on a nightly basis. The 21-year-old revealed he was playing with broken ribs for the final two months of the season.

Kirill Kaprizov won the Calder Trophy in 2021 and is the last Wild player to do so.

Hughes, meanwhile, showed off his penchant for dynamic, offensive play during his first full NHL season. He led all rookie defensemen with nine goals while admirably pacing the Devils in average ice time (21:28), which was a requirement given the injuries on New Jersey's blue line.

The 20-year-old registered the second-most points by a rookie rearguard in franchise history, trailing only Barry Beck's 60-point campaign in 1977-78 as a member of the Colorado Rockies.

Scott Gomez was the last Devil to win the Calder Trophy in 2000.

Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers was awarded the hardware last season.

Details surrounding the 2024 NHL Awards have yet to be announced, but reports indicate they'll be held June 27 in Las Vegas.

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