Shayne Gostisbehere is one step closer to more Flyers history.
The NHL announced Monday night Gostisbehere is one of three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, an annual award given to the league's best rookie.
Blackhawks left winger Artemi Panarin and Oilers center Connor McDavid join the Flyers' defenseman as the three finalists. The award, voted on by members of the professional hockey writers association, will be presented at the 2016 NHL awards on June 22.
"I’m very humbled. It truly is an honor," Gostisbehere said on a conference call. "Having the season I did last year, just to be associated with this award and the moment right now, it’s truly humbling. I didn’t expect to be where I am right now. It’s a compliment to my teammates, the coaching staff and the front office for believing in me all the way."
Gostisbehere entered the 2015-16 season coming off a torn ACL, limiting him to five AHL games in 2014-15.
"You set goals during your rehab," Gostisbehere said. "My first year pro, I only played seven games. It wasn’t the year I wanted to have — anyone, their first year of professional hockey."
Gostisbehere praised his "great rehab crew," featuring team staffers Dr. Peter DeLuca, who performed Gostisbehere's surgery, director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin and assistant athletic trainer/strength & conditioning coach Sal Raffa.
"They’re truly the guys behind this team who don’t get enough credit really, just the way they stuck with me not only physically but mentally," Gostisbehere said. "They don’t talk about hockey — they talk about football and keep my mind away. They keep me focused, as well. They really got me back in top shape and gave me the opportunity to have the season I did.
"Of course I didn’t think I was going to have this sort of season, especially coming off a debilitating knee injury. Just the support system I have with my teammates, the training staff, the coaches, my family, my girlfriend — it’s unbelievable."
No Flyers player has ever won the Calder trophy.
Gostisbehere, who turned 23 years old on April 20, had a record-setting season, helping push the Flyers into the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs once called up on Nov. 14 from American Hockey League affiliate Lehigh Valley. The Pembroke Pines, Florida, native racked up 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in 64 regular-season games. The blueliner's season was highlighted by a 15-game point streak from Jan. 19 to Feb. 20, the longest ever by a Flyers rookie and first-year NHL defenseman. He also recorded four overtime goals, most ever in a single season by an NHL rookie.
Gostisbehere, a product of Union College, was selected by the Flyers in the third round of the 2012 draft.
"Union means a lot to me," Gostisbehere said. "It is where I started right out of prep school, being a no-hair-on-your-face 18-year-old."
Five years later, Gostisbehere is a finalist for some prestigious NHL hardware.
"It'd definitely be cool to be the first Flyer," he said. "Anything for the Flyers' organization and the fans."