NHL Midseason Awards: PHWA Official Results vs. My Ballot

For a second straight year, the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) polled their constituents to determine midseason winners in 10 categories related to the 2018-19 NHL campaign.

Established in 1962, the PHWA has grown to around 300 hockey media members based in North America. I’m honored to have been among the more than 125 PHWA members who voted on the Midseason Awards this month. In April, PHWA members vote on the following seven NHL Awards: Hart Trophy, Calder Trophy, Selke Trophy, Lady Byng Trophy, Norris Trophy, Masterton Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy, in addition to NHL All-Star and All-Rookie teams. For the Midseason Awards, writers also looked at the Vezina Trophy, as well as two non-traditional awards – the Rod Langway Award, for best ‘defensive defenseman,’ and Comeback Player of the Year, awarded to a player who has returned to a previous high level of performance that was interrupted by subpar play, long-term injury or major illness.

The Midseason Awards were a regular feature of hockey coverage through 1968, when the practice became somewhat obsolete due to the growth of the NHL All Star Game. In an effort to reconnect with fans and increase discussion among those in the hockey world, an effort was brought forth to resurrect the PHWA’s Midseason Awards last January; and those results – along with a healthy debate of Drew Doughty vs. Victor Hedman – can be seen here.

“Halfway through the season, the stars begin to emerge,” PHWA president Mark Spector said. “Our PHWA members dig into the stats to give readers a glimpse of who will be in Vegas on Awards night in June.”

Writers representing all 31 chapters of the PHWA completed ballots this time around, and the full results for the 2018-19 Midseason NHL Awards are outlined below:

HART TROPHYto the player adjudged to be most valuable to his team
1. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
3. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
My Ballot: Gaudreau, Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)

NORRIS TROPHYto the defenseman who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position
1. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
2. Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
My Ballot: Rielly, Giordano, Burns

SELKE TROPHYto the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game
1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
2. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
3. Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators
My Ballot: Stone, Barkov, Ryan O’Reilly (St. Louis Blues)

CALDER TROPHY to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition
1. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks
2. Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres
3. Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars
My Ballot: Pettersson, Dahlin, Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa Senators)

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. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
2. Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames
My Ballot: Barkov, Colton Parayko (St. Louis Blues), Sam Girard (Colorado Avalanche)

VEZINA TROPHYto the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position
1. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
3. Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs
My Ballot: Gibson, Robin Lehner (New York Islanders), Anderson

JACK ADAMS AWARDto the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success
1. Barry Trotz, New York Islanders
2. Bill Peters, Calgary Flames
3. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning
My Ballot: Exactly the same – Trotz, Peters, Cooper

GM OF THE YEAR AWARDto the General Manager adjusted to have contributed most to his team’s success
1. Brad Treliving, Calgary Flames
2. Doug Wilson, San Jose Sharks
3. Lou Lamoriello, New York Islanders
My Ballot: Treliving, Lamoriello, Wilson

ROD LANGWAY AWARDto the defenseman who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game
1. Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators
2. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
3. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
My Ballot: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks), John Carlson (Washington Capitals), Josh Manson (Anaheim Ducks)

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDto the player who returned to a previous high level of performance that was interrupted by subpar play, long-term injury or major illness
1. Robin Lehner, New York Islanders
2. Jeff Skinner, Buffalo Sabres
3. Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
My Ballot: Max Domi (Montreal Canadiens), Skinner, Tomas Tatar (Montreal Canadiens)

Of note, half of the PHWA’s 2018 Midseason Award winners mirrored the end-of-season results (tallied in mid-April and presented at the NHL Awards in June). It will be interesting to see how the above votes stack up against the end of year ballots in about five months.

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