Photo courtesy of www.chicagoblackhawks.com
Las Vegas, Nev. (June 18, 2009) -- Western Conference players have taken five of six places on the 2008-09 NHL All-Rookie Team, the League announced today. An All-West forward line features St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund, Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg, and is joined by Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. The lone selection from the Eastern Conference is Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn. 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:
Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets
Designated Columbus’ goaltender of the future, Mason’s career soared ahead of schedule when he won his first three NHL starts Nov. 5, 7 and 8 to seize the Blue Jackets’ net. Named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for both November and December, he posted a franchise-record three straight shutouts in late December during a four-game winning streak in which he stopped 94 of 95 shots. Mason finished strong, going 8-2-4 from Mar. 7-Apr.8 as Columbus captured the first playoff berth in franchise history. His 10 shutouts led the League and his 2.29 goals against average ranked second to Tim Thomas’ 2.10 for Boston.
DEFENSEMEN (in alphabetical order)
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
The second overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, Doughty led all NHL rookies and the Kings in ice time with an average of 23:49 per game. He played at least 20 minutes in 76 of 81 games, logged more than 25 minutes 34 times and recorded a season-high 29:04 Nov. 22 against Colorado. Doughty tied for the assists and points lead among rookie defensemen, tallying 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) -- the most by a Kings rookie defenseman since Lubomir Visnovsky registered 7-32--39 in 2000-01. Doughty also ranked second among rookies in blocked shots with 114.
Luke Schenn, Toronto Maple Leafs
Chosen fifth overall in the 2008 Entry Draft, Schenn didn't know whether he'd spend this season with the Maple Leafs or head back to junior hockey. With his hard-nosed play from his first NHL shift four weeks shy of his 19th birthday, Schenn earned the right to stay in Toronto. The stay-at-home defenseman led the Maple Leafs and NHL rookie defensemen in hits with 206, led all rookies in blocked shots with 119 and was second in average ice time per game (21:32). Schenn logged over 20 minutes of ice time in 49 games, including a season high of 27:37 on Mar. 7 against Edmonton.
FORWARDS (in alphabetical order)
Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues
A first-round pick of the Blues in 2006 and a star for Sweden at the 2008 World Junior Championships, Berglund lived up to lofty expectations with St. Louis in 2008-09, his first season in North America. Berglund ranked fourth on the Blues with 21 goals, becoming the 10th rookie in franchise history to reach the 20-goal milestone. He was fourth among NHL rookies in scoring with 47 points (21 goals, 26 assists) and second in power-play scoring (7-15--22). He led the Blues and ranked second among NHL rookies in plus-minus (+19), posting an even-or-plus rating in 66 of 76 games.
Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
The second overall selection in the 2005 Entry Draft, Ryan got his first taste of NHL competition by playing in 23 games for the Ducks in 2007-08. He built upon that experience this season to lead all rookies with 31 goals and 57 points in only 64 games. Ryan surged in the middle of the season, earning Rookie of the Month honors for January when he scored 11 goals with five assists in 14 games. On Jan. 8 at Los Angeles, he erupted for three goals in 2:21, the third fastest hat trick by a rookie in NHL history. With goals in five straight games from Jan. 17-28 he set an Anaheim rookie record.
Kris Versteeg, Chicago Blackhawks
Versteeg joined teammates Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as the third Blackhawk in the past two seasons voted a Calder Trophy finalist. Versteeg led all NHL rookies this season with 31 assists as part of the young core that drove Chicago to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. His four shorthanded goals also were tops among League rookies and fourth overall. He recorded points in five consecutive games (four goals, four assists) from Nov. 14-22. In the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009 on New Year’s Day at Wrigley Field, Versteeg scored a goal and assisted on another.