All three NHL rookie of the year candidates have skated at the Rockford MetroCentre
Rockford, Ill.- Chicago Blackhawks Left Wing Kris Versteeg was named one of the three finalists for the NHL rookie of the year award, the Calder Memorial Trophy, the National Hockey League announced Wednesday.
The former Rockford IceHogs skater finished the regular season fourth on the Blackhawks in scoring with 22 goals and 31 assists after making the Blackhawks squad out of training camp. He started the season with seven goals and 20 assists in his first 20 games, sitting at or near the top of the rookie scoring leader board for the entire 2008-09 season.
In 2007-08, Versteeg appeared in 56 games with the IceHogs, earning his first NHL recall on Nov. 19, 2007 and making his NHL debut on Nov. 22, 2007 in Calgary. He recorded his first NHL goal on Jan. 3, 2008 in Phoenix in his second career recall.
Versteeg was drafted #134 overall (round 5) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins and appeared in 56 games with the Providence Bruins before being traded to the Blackhawks organization for Brandon Bochenski on Feb. 3, 2007. In 138 career AHL games, the winger has recorded 46 goals and 81 assists.
He is one of eight former IceHogs currently on the Chicago Blackhawks roster as they face the Flames in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The two other finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, Columbus’ goalie Steve Mason and Anaheim’s right wing Bobby Ryan also skated on Rockford MetroCentre ice.
Mason and the Syracuse Crunch beat the IceHogs 3-2 on Nov. 1 in his second professional game. He appeared in one more contest with the Crunch before being recalled to the Blue Jackets.
Ryan notched two assists in two games against the IceHogs before being recalled to Anaheim on Nov. 15, 2008. He appeared in the Iowa Chops’ first game at the MetroCentre on Oct. 12, 2008.