Gardiner Named To 2011-12 All-Rookie Squad
The National Hockey League announced the 2011-12 NHL All-Rookie Team on Wednesday night, including the three players named as finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League's top rookie: forwards Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers.
Also named to the All-Rookie Team are Buffalo Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth and Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Justin Faulk, as well as Jake Gardiner of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Voting was conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season. Following is a summary of each NHL All-Rookie Team member's outstanding season:
Jhonas Enroth, Buffalo Sabres: Enroth earned a full-time spot with the Sabres in 2011-12 after spending a majority of the previous three seasons with the Sabres' AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine. The 23-year-old led all NHL rookie goaltenders with 26 appearances, posting an 8-11-4 record, 2.70 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Enroth provided early-season support for starting goaltender Ryan Miller by posting wins in his first six starts, allowing two goals or fewer each time.
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes: Faulk made a successful transition to the NHL from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he captured an NCAA national championship in 2010-11. He made the Hurricanes' roster as a 19-year-old and went on to lead all NHL rookie defensemen in average ice time per game (22:50). He also tied for the lead in goals (eight) and ranked first in power-play goals (five). Faulk is the second Hurricanes' pick from the 2010 NHL Draft in as many seasons to earn NHL All-Rookie honors, joining 2011 Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner.
Jake Gardiner, Toronto Maple Leafs: Selected in the first round (No. 17) by Anaheim in 2008 and traded to Toronto in February 2011, Gardiner made his NHL debut following three standout seasons at the University of Wisconsin and a brief late-season stint with the AHL's Toronto Marlies in 2010-11. He led NHL rookie defensemen in scoring, tallying 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) in 75 games. He ranked third among first-year players in average ice time per game (21:35), registering over 20 minutes of ice time in 56 games.
Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils: A third-round pick by the Devils in 2008 and winner of back-to-back Memorial Cups with the OHL Windsor Spitfires in 2009 and 2010, Henrique filled a crucial void in the Devils' lineup following an Achilles injury to No. 1 center Travis Zajac, who missed all but 15 games this season. Henrique made the most of his opportunity by tallying 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists) in 74 games. He led all rookies in assists and shorthanded goals (four), ranked third in rookie scoring and posted the NHL's longest point streak among freshmen (seven games, Nov. 25 to Dec. 8).
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche: Selected second overall at the 2011 NHL Draft, Landeskog assumed a leading role on an Avalanche club that improved by 20 points over its 2010-11 total. Landeskog posted 52 points (22 goals, 30 assists) in 82 games, capturing the rookie scoring title in a tie-breaker over Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18-34--52) on the basis of more goals. Landeskog ranked second among rookies in goals and third in assists, making him the only rookie among the top three in all three categories. He led all rookies and set a Colorado franchise record with 270 shots on goal and was the only rookie to lead his club in goals.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers: A tremendous start to his NHL career quickly ended speculation where Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, would spend the 2011-12 season. He notched the game-tying goal in the season opener against Pittsburgh, tallied a hat trick in his third career game and became the first 18-year-old in League history to tally five assists in one game, against Chicago on Nov. 19. Nugent-Hopkins went on to finish in a tie for first place among rookies in points with 52 (18 goals, 34 assists) despite missing 20 games due to injury. His points-per-game average of .84 was the best among rookies.