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Auston Matthews Is First U.S.-Born Player To Win NHL Rookie Of The Year Since 2010

By Gary R. Blockus | June 21, 2017, 11:58 p.m. (ET)

Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs poses after winning the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) during the 2017 NHL Awards and Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena on June 21, 2017 in Las Vegas.


Auston Matthews, the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, capped off a phenomenal rookie season by winning the 2017 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year Wednesday during the 2017 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

The 6-foot-3, 219-pound Matthews, who was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, helped Team USA to a bronze medal finish at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship held in Helsinki Finland.

He also led the Team USA U18s to world titles in 2014 and 2015.

Matthews is the first Maple Leafs player to win the Calder Trophy since Britt Selby in 1966, and the first U.S.-born player to win it since defenseman Tyler Myers in 2010 with the Buffalo Sabres.

In his brief acceptance speech, Matthews acknowledged fellow finalists Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets, a friend, and Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets.

He also thanks his family, friends and the entire Maple Leafs’ organization.

“To the City of Toronto, you guys are the best fans in the league, so thank you,” he said.

Matthews scored 40 goals and 29 assists and led all rookies with 69 points, which tied him for 20th overall in NHL scoring. His 40 goals were the most by an NHL rookie in the modern era, and he led the entire NHL with 32 even-strength goals. He also helped blaze a trail that saw the Maple Leafs go from last in the NHL in 2015-16 to making the playoffs this past season.

"I knew he was good, I just didn't know how good," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.

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Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames won the Lady Byng Trophy as the player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.

Craig Anderson, a goalie with the Ottawa Senators from Park Ridge, Illinois, who took time off during the season to be with his wife Nicholle, who is battling cancer, won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy as the player who exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He is the first Senator to win the Masterton.

John Tortorella, a Boston native and head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach for the second time. His first win came in 2004 when he led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup championship.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.