Finalists named for Pearson Award

April 28, 2003 at 1:48 PM
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TORONTO, April 28 (UPI) -- Peter Forsberg of Colorado and Markus Naslund of Vancouver are two of the three finalists for the NHL's Lester B. Pearson Award.

Forsberg plays center for the Avalanche, and Naslund is the left wing for the Canucks.

Boston Bruins center Joe Thornton is the other finalist named Monday for the award, which goes to the most outstanding player during the regular season in a vote by members of the NHL Players' Association.

Forsberg, 29, had three points in the final game of the regular season to finish with 106, becoming the first Swede to capture the Art Ross Trophy. He had 29 goals and 77 assists for his highest total since the 1995-96 season, when he recorded a career-high 116 points. He also tied teammate Milan Hejduk for the NHL lead with a plus-52 rating.

Forsberg can become the third member of the Avalanche in four years to win the Pearson Trophy. Center Joe Sakic won it in the 2000-01 season, and goaltender Patrick Roy the following season. Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla won it last year.

Naslund, a boyhood friend of Forsberg, had career highs with 48 goals, 56 assists, and 82 games. He led the league with 12 game-winning goals.

No Swedish-born player has ever won the Pearson Award.

Thornton finished third in scoring, totaling 36 goals and 65 assists in 77 games. He also was the third Bruin ever, and the first player in the NHL, with 100 points and 100 penalty minutes in the same season since Eric Lindros in 1995-96. Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr was the last Bruin to win the award in 1974-75.

The award, which is named after the former Prime Minister of Canada, will be presented at the Hockey Hall of Game in Toronto on June 12.

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