As the mid season mark of the lockout shortened season approaches, it’s time to look at who would take home the NHL Awards. (I’ve chosen to leave out the King Clancy)
Hart Memorial Trophy, MVP -Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
Crosby is proving once again that he’s the best player on the planet, leading the league with 36pts in 23 GP. This number could be even higher if the Penguins were clicking on the power play. Crosby’s lone weakness this year has been the fact that he only has 2 Power Play Points, but on the other side of the coin he has been absolutely dominant 5 on 5. Crosby has been maturing his game over the last couple seasons as evidenced by his measly 8 PIM this year. He has been a do-it-all player for the Penguins as per usual; he’s also among the league leaders in face-off’s, winning 56.8% of his draws and is a +11 , good enough for second best on the team.
Runner Up’s: Steven Stamkos (TB), Jonathan Toews (CHI)
Vezina Trophy, best goaltender, – Corey Crawford, Chicago
Corey Crawford has not lost a game in regulation this year. Wow. He is also boasting a mind blowing 1.53 GAA and a .940 SV%. Those are some godly numbers. Yes, he has a good team playing in front of him, but the fact of the matter is, Crawford is playing the best hockey of his career and it seems the entire Blackhawks team is peaking at the right time. There has been some great goaltending this year, but it’s hard to deny Crawford at this point. (Had Craig Anderson not been injured, he most likely would’ve had my vote)
Runner Up’s: Carey Price (MTL), Craig Anderson (OTT)
James Norris Memorial Trophy, best defenseman – Oliver Ekman Larsson ,Phoenix
With Nick Lidstrom retiring, Erik Karlsson hurt, and Shea Weber not producing, there seems to be an opportunity for another first time Norris Winner. Look no further than Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman Larsson. At just the ripe age 21, Ekman Larsson has really stepped into his own this year. On a Phoenix team that is bereft of stars, they’ve certainly found one in the making in Ekman Larsson. He leads his team with 16pts and is among the league leaders in plus/minus with a +9. Ekman Larsson is also averaging a whopping 25:26 TOI/game and is playing against the other team’s top line. Don’t be surprised if you see his name in this category for the next 15 years. (If you watch him play you’ll understand this selection)
Runner’s Up: Kris Letang (PIT), Zdeno Chara (BOS)
Calder Memorial Trophy, best rookie – Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida
The Florida Panthers were a great surprise team last year, and if they didn’t have so many injuries this year, they might’ve kept everything going. One of the few bright spots for the Panthers this year may be the debut of Jonathan Huberdeau. Leading all rookies with an impressive 11 goals, while averaging a minuscule 16:46 TOI/game. Huberdeau has been able to keep up with the NHL pace in his first pro season and is producing without a strong supporting cast around him. Cory Conacher has been a great story and to many would be a fine choice, but factor in the fact that Huberdeau is 3 years younger and playing in his first pro season, and I believe he’s the clear choice.
Runner Up’s: Cory Conacher (TB), Brendan Gallagher (MTL)
Frank J. Selke Trophy, defensive forward – Patrice Bergeron, Boston
Patrice Bergeron will be a Selke nominee for years to come and this year is no different. Bergeron trails only Paul Gaustad, who has played far fewer games, for Face-off Winning %. Bergeron currently boasts a 61.3% Winning Percentage, which I would call league best. He also sits among the top in Short-Handed Face-Off Wins, which to me is underrated stat. Bergeron goes up against tough match-ups every night and currently sports a +14 plus/minus rating, good enough for 3rd best in the league.
Runner Up’s: Pavel Datsyuk (DET), Jonathan Toews (CHI)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, most gentlemanly – Patrick Kane, Chicago
Another Blackhawk on the list. What a shocker! Patrick Kane has had his fair share of off ice troubles, but there seems to be certain maturity in his game this year. Kane has been everything and more for the Blackhawks during there record setting point streak. Whether it be game tying goals to shoot out winners, Kane has been great this season. What is more is that he has done all of this with only 1 penalty to his name! One could say he’s even a being a model citizen….Citizen Kane….Ha! God I’m witty.
Runner’s Up: Sidney Crosby (PIT), Marty St. Louis (TB)
Jack Adams Award, coach – Joel Quenneville, Chicago
I promise this will be the last member of the Chicago Blackhawks in this piece…but how can you not? Quenneville has his Blackhawks at an astonishing 20-0-3 record, and are on a current 10 game win streak. Imagine if the Blackhawks didn’t have to give away Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd for nothing?! This team would be even scarier. This choice was fairly obvious, as the Blackhawks look as though they just might never lose a game!
Runner’s Up: Bruce Boudreau (ANH), Randy Carlyle (TOR)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey -Andrei Markov, Montreal
I can’t think of a player that’s had worse luck then Markov in the last 2 years. He missed 72 games in 2010-2011, and then 65 games in 2011-2012, both with a bad right knee injury which required several surgeries. But alas, Markov made his long awaited return this season and is making the most of it, with an impressive 14 PTS in his first 23 GP, and has amassed 5PPG (power play goals), good enough to lead the league. He has also been a integral part of Montreal’s first half success which has them leading the Eastern Conference.
Runner’s Up: Matt Duchene (COL), Manny Malholtra (VAN)
In my next post I will be revealing my candidates for Breakout Player of the Year, stay tuned.