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Swansea's Clayton Keller is finalist for NHL's Calder Trophy

Arizona Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller (14), a native of Swansea, Ill., handles the puck as St. Louis Blues' Jaden Schwartz watches during the first period of Keller’s first NHL game on Monday at Scottrade Center.
Arizona Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller (14), a native of Swansea, Ill., handles the puck as St. Louis Blues' Jaden Schwartz watches during the first period of Keller’s first NHL game on Monday at Scottrade Center. AP

Clayton Keller, the Swansea-raised first-year center for the Arizona Coyotes, has been named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced Sunday.

Twice the NHL's Rookie of the Month this past season, the 19-year-old led his team and was second among rookies with 23 goals and 42 assists.

Other finalists for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the league's top first-year player, are New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal and Vancouver Canucks wing Brock Boeser. The winner will be announced at the 2018 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20.

"I'm incredibly honored to be selected as one of the NHL's Calder Trophy finalists," Keller said in a statement issued by the team. "Congratulations to Mathew and Brock, who are both great players and had fantastic seasons. Thanks to all of the PHWA members for voting for me and thanks to all of my teammates and coaches. Without them this wouldn't have been possible."

The Coyotes made Keller their top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft at No. 7 overall out of Boston College. He made his NHL debut in St. Louis against the Blues on March 27, 2017, the day after signing a three-year worth just over $5 million. He picked up his first NHL point with an assist in his next game, also against the Blues.

Keller got off to a fast start in his first full season, scoring 15 points in his first 13 games, including nine goals and six assists, even as the Coyotes got off to a 1-11-1 start.

His 65 points in 2017-18 set a Coyotes' franchise record. His 10-game point streak from March 11-18 is tied for third in franchise history. Keller became the franchise’s first rookie to record at least nine goals in one month since Teemu Selanne had 20 goals in March 1993. He also is the first to 15 points in a month since Selanne and Keith Tkachuk did so in March 1993, when the team was still called the Winnipeg Jets.

Barzal led all rookies with 82 points and became the seventh rookie in NHL history to record at least 20 goals and 60 assists in one season, according to a release from the NHL. The last player to do so was Sidney Crosby in 2005-06.

Boeser scored 29 goals, the second-most among rookies, and 55 points, despite playing in only 62 games. He was named the NHL All-Star Game MVP in January.

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