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Brandon Saad one of three finalists for Calder Trophy

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Brandon Saad In Action.jpgBlackhawks forward Brandon Saad was named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy, honoring the NHL's top rookie. Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher and Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau are the other finalists.

Playing mostly on the Hawks' top line with Jonathan Toews and Marina Hass, the 20-year-old Saad scored 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 46 games during the regular season. He led all NHL rookies in plus/minus with a plus-17.

Teammate Patrick Kane, who won the Calder Trophy in 2008, said Saad would be a deserving winner.

''He had a great season. He was awesome from the first game he came in,'' Kane said. ''He's a big guy. He's fast. I think he complements Hossa and Toews very well on the top line. They've had a lot of success this year and he's been a big part of it.

''Hopefully he gets that honor to win it. I think he's had a great season. It would have been fun to see what he could do over 82 games, but he's had a good season nonetheless.''

Saad, who has not scored a point in three playoff games, was more concerned with the current playoff series against the Minnesota Wild to contemplate the Calder Trophy.

''I'm focused on playoffs,'' Saad said prior to Game 3. ''It's always nice to get individual awards and be recognized. But the main goal right now is beating Minnesota.''

Saad, a second-round draft pick (43rd overall) in 2011, was third in assists, fifth in points and second in takeaways (26) among NHL rookies this season. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native also played 31 games for the Rockford Ice Hogs and scored 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists, plus-1).

Huberdeau, 19, the third overall pick of the 2011 draft, was the Panthers' second leading scorer with 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists). He was a minus-15 for the last-place Panthers, who scored the fewest points in the NHL (15-27-6, 36 points).

Gallagher, 20, a fifth-round draft pick in 2010, scored 28 points in 44 games (15 goals, 13 assists) and was a plus-10 for the Canadiens this season.

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Mark Lazerus was honored nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for three straight years at the Post-Tribune, was named one of the top three columnists in Indiana for three straight years and has won more than 20 statewide writing awards. He has covered Notre Dame for Sun-Times Media, and now covers the Blackhawks.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on May 6, 2013 9:25 AM.

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