Last year, through the Professional Hockey Writers Association, I was honored to be part of the voting body responsible for most of the major NHL Awards. Following the end of the lockout shortened season, I posted my selections, as submitted, with brief comments. The article was well received, so I thought I’d offer my thoughts again this year…
“To the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition”
1. Nate MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
2. Jakob Trouba – Winnipeg Jets
3. Ondrej Palat — Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Valeri Nichuskin — Dallas Stars
5. Olli Maatta – Pittsburgh Penguins
Comment: No 18 year old should be able to do what he does, including playing all 82 regular season games and scoring 24 goals.
“To the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”
1. Duncan Keith — Chicago Blackhawks
2. Shea Weber — Nashville Predators
3. Zdeno Chara — Boston Bruins
4. Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
5. Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings
Comment: Could see the argument for either of the top two being the winner. Overall though, those are the top five defensemen in the NHL at the moment – regardless of how you arrange them.
LADY BYNG TROPHY
“To the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”
1. Ryan O’Reilly — Colorado Avalanche
2. Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
3. Teemu Selanne — Anaheim Ducks
4. Marcus Johansson – Washington Capitals
5. Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings
Comment: Can’t see anybody else winning the Lady Byng this year.
“To the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”
1. Anze Kopitar – LA Kings
2. Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
3. Marian Hossa — Chicago Blackhawks
4. Ryan O’Reilly — Colorado Avalanche
5. David Backes – St. Louis Blues
Comment: Kopitar has never had the support like he does this year, especially coming off his performance at the Winter Olympics a few months back – which is actually reminiscent of Drew Doughty’s rise to national attention following the 2010 Games in Vancouver. That swell in attention could push him to a win, but more likely he will have to settle for his first nomination.
“To the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”
1. Sidney Crosby — Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Ryan Getzlaf — Anaheim Ducks
3. Tyler Seguin — Dallas Stars
4. Claude Giroux — Philadelphia Flyers
5. Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay Lightning
Comment: Crosby played in 80 games for only the third time in his career. Think about that one for a second.
JACK ADAMS AWARD
“Adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success”
NHL broadcasters submit their list of nominees in the category. However, if given a vote, I would have selected Patrick Roy. My second place vote would have gone to Craig Berube, even though many want to say if it isn’t Roy who wins, the award should go to Mike Babcock.
Goaltender who is “adjudged to be the best at this position”
NHL General Managers are given the honor of selecting the winner in this category. If given a vote, I would have selected Tuukka Rask (maybe even Ben Bishop).
Let the debates begin.
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