Matty Beniers of Kraken wins NHL’s rookie of the year award

Jun 26, 2023, 6:39 PM | Updated: 6:45 pm

Seattle Kraken Matty Beniers...

Matty Beniers celebrates a goal for the Seattle Kraken against Dallas on March 11, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Matty Beniers was the first NHL Draft pick in Seattle Kraken franchise history, but he’s making sure he will be referred to as much more than that when all is said and done.

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Beniers became the first NHL award winner in Kraken history when he won the Calder Memorial Trophy, given annually to the league’s rookie of the year, on Monday night during the 2023 NHL Awards in Nashville, Tenn.

The Seattle Kraken reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in just their second season of existence in 2022-23, and Beniers’ contributions played a key part. After appearing in 10 games at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, the 20-year-old Beniers shined in his first pro season. In 80 games played, he led all rookies in goals (24), points (57), plus-minus (plus-14), multipoint games (18) and shooting percentage (16.2%), and he ranked second among rookies with 33 assists.

Per, Beniers is the first rookie to win the Calder Memorial Trophy within the first two seasons of an expansion team’s history since the Quebec Nordiques’ Peter Stastny in 1980-81.

Beniers beat two other finalists for the award: Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power. Beniers and Power were teammates at the University of Michigan, were selected first (Power) and second (Beniers) in the 2021 NHL Draft, and made their NHL debuts on the same night (April 12, 2022) immediately following the end of the 2021-22 Wolverines season.

Seattle’s Dave Hakstol was also one of three finalists Monday for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year. Boston’s Jim Montgomery took the honor.

The Kraken will continue to be busy in Nashville with the two-day NHL Draft set to begin Wednesday.

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