Will Arnett should kill this as host, if you follow hockey at all, make sure you tune in tonight and give it a watch. Should be a fun night with some less than sober hockey players (I’m looking right at you Jiri Hudler).
Let’s take a look at the awards and who’s been nominated:
Given to the top goaltender
Nominees: Braden Holtby (WSH), Ben Bishop (TB), Jonathan Quick (LAK)
The Breakdown: Holtby was sensational and this is going to be Holtby’s award. Bishop had a great season, as did Quick, Holtby was just on a whole different level, and he did it all year. He tied Brodeur’s single season wins record with 48 and posted a stat line of .922 SV% and 2.20 GAA.
My Pick: Holtby, Holtby, Holtby. He will no doubt win this one.
HART MEMORIAL TROPHY
Player deemed most valuable to his team
Nominees: Jamie Benn (DAL), Sidney Crosby (PIT), Patrick Kane (CHI)
The Breakdown: Jamie Benn had a second straight season averaging more than a point a game and led the Dallas Stars to a division championship. Patrick Kane ripped apart opposition defenses and goalies all year, putting up 106 points in 82 games. That’s crazy and he did it with rookie linemate Artemi Panarin. Sidney Crosby started off the year painfully slow, but as he heated up so did his Penguins, showing that when he’s the on his game, he brings up that entire team. This one will be a very close award.
My Pick: This was tough, I debated around all 3 of the nominees, but at the end this award doesn’t go to the best player (Kane) it goes to the most valuable to his team and that was no doubt Sidney Crosby. When he struggled the team struggled and when he caught fire, that team caught fire and battled their way to the 2nd in the Metropolitan division. He led the team and proved he was the most valuable player to his team, in the league.
JAMES NORRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY
Given to the top defenseman
Nominees: Brent Burns (SJ), Drew Doughty (LA) Erik Karlsson (OTT)
The Breakdown: Brent Burns was a surprise to many this year with his play at both ends (and his beard). He was a physical beast, but I don’t think he was on the level as the other two in the regular season. Drew Doughty logged crazy minutes, regularly playing over 25 minutes and night, and even topping 30 minutes 18 times (?!?!?!?). Insane, he also was dominant offensively, putting up 51 points. Then there’s Erik Karlsson, going for his 3rd Norris in 5 years. He had an offensive season for the record books, with 82 points in 82 games. There is always concern about his defensive game, but the best defensive is a good offense, and Karlsson lives up to that saying.
My Pick: Drew Doughty has never won a Norris, often coming close. This year he takes it. His play at both ends and those insane time on ice numbers were enough to convince me. What a year by DOughty, definitely deserving of a Norris nod.
CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY
Most outstanding rookie
The Nominees: Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI), Artemi Panarin (CHI), Connor McDavid (EDM)
The Breakdown: Connor McDavid was the best rookie this year, no doubt. Years from now we will look back on this and go “How did McDavid not win the Calder?” But he didn’t play enough games, injuries derailed a large chunk of his season. Panarin put up the most points and had the best wire to wire season. But he also had the luxury of playing with Patrick Kane. Panarin is a very good talent, and as far as rookie seasons go, he had one of the best in recent memory, even if he is 24 years old. Shayne Gostisbehere had a quiet but exceptional rookie year. He kept his CF% over 50% and as great at both ends of the ice for a rookie. He didn’t get a lot of recognition apart from his unreal run of game winning goals. But he was a huge part of the Flyers making the playoffs.
My Pick: McDavid was the best rookie in terms of talent, but I’m giving my vote to Shayne Gostisbehere. A 23 year old anchored a blue line that made the playoffs and put up 46 points in 64 games. His advanced numbers were solid, he had a 15 game point streak 9 a record for rookie dmen) and 5 game winning goals. He deserves this award, it’s still a toss up if he will actually get it.
LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY
Sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct with high standard of playing ability
The Nominees: Aleksander Barkov (FLA), Loui Eriksson (BOS), Anze Kopitar (LAK)
My Pick: Kopitar kept his PIM’s down, was his team’s best forward and still played a hard style of hockey. Barkov gets my runner-up vote, but Kopitar should no doubt win this award.
FRANK J SELKE TROPHY
Forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game
The Nominees: Patrice Bergeron (BOS), Ryan Kesler (ANA), Anze Kopitar (LAK
My Pick: Kopitar was the best two way forwards, but the award is strictly for defense so I expect Patrice Bergeron to pick up his 3rd straight Selke Trophy. He wins faceoffs, he’s put on the ice in all scenarios. They should pretty much just name this award the Patrice Bergeron Trophy.
JACK ADAMS AWARD
Coach judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success
The Nominees: Gerard Gallant (FLA), Lindy Ruff (DAL), Barry Trotz (WSH)
My Pick: Gerard Gallant instilled a belief in this year’s Florida Panthers. He was passionate behind the bench but was still an emotional rock and that worked so well with a lot of the young core in Florida. His team was also second in PDO, and it seems like that’s all you need to win this award now a days.
Here are the rest of the awards I’ve rattled off quickly:
BILL MASTERTON MEMORIAL TROPHY
Exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey
The Nominees: Pascal Dupuis (PIT), Jaromir Jagr (FLA), Mats Zuccarello (NYR)
My Pick: Pascal Dupuis
TED LINDSAY AWARD
MVP as voted by members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association
The Nominees: Jamie Benn (DAL), Braden Holtby (WSH), Patrick Kane (CHI)
My Pick: No one knows how good Patrick kane is like those who have to play against him, I have a feeling the players voted for Patrick Kane to win this one.
MARK MESSIER NHL LEADERSHIP AWARD
Exemplifies great leadership qualities both on and off the ice
The Nominees: Alexander Ovechkin (WSH), John Tavares (NYI), Shea Weber (NSH)
My Pick: Ovie does a lot in the Washington Community, and he’s their heart and soul on the ice. I’m going to take Alex Ovechkin.
NHL GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD
GM judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success
The Nominees: Brian MacLellan (WSH), Jim Nill (DAL). Jim Rutherford (PIT)
My Pick: It’s tough to judge a GM’s success based on one year, but Rutherford’s acquisitions clearly worked as they won the Stanley Cup. Kessel, Bonini and Hagelin were his best line and he brought them all in over the last calendar year. Daley for Scuderi deal was very good as well.