The Western Hockey League has announced its nominees for the 2020 Bill Hunter Trophy to be awarded to the player best representing a high-level, all-round ability at his position on the blueline. Nominated as the Western Conference Defenceman of the Year is Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs, while Brandon’s Calen Addison has been named the Eastern Conference Defenceman of the Year.
This past week, Addison was also selected as a WHL First Team All-Star, following his 2019-20 COVID-19 shortened campaign that saw the mobile rearguard collect 10 goals and 52 points in just 50 games for the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The fourth-year defenceman missed considerable time while away winning gold at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship this past December/January.
The past four seasons of WHL play have been outstanding for the Brandonite, as Addison’s points-per-game mark continued to climb. Following a rookie season that saw the defender put up nine goals and 33 points, Addison put up nearly identical 11-goal, 65-point campaigns in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Despite playing 17 fewer games this year, the offensive blueliner was on pace for a new career high in both goals and points.
The 2019-10 saw the Hurricanes’ alternate captain collect four power play markers, two game-winning goals and a plus-seven +/- ranking, while finishing seventh in defencman scoring. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound spitfire collected his first career WHL hat trick back in late November, while also earning 19 points in a span of 11-straight games.
Addison was selected 53rd overall in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before being dealt to the Minnesota Wild as a major piece in the Jason Zucker to Pennsylvania deal at this past trade deadline. He is signed to a max three-year, $925K, entry-level NHL deal and will look to earn a spot on Minnesota’s blueline in 2020-21.
The winner of the 2019-20 WHL Defenceman of the Year award will be determined by a vote amongst the 22 WHL general managers and head coaches. It will be announced on Tuesday, May 19.