MayorsManor: Thoughts on the 2015 NHL Awards Nominees

Clader-2015Through the Professional Hockey Writers Association, I was honored to be part of the voting body responsible for most of the major NHL Awards a few years ago. However, once I started writing prospect profiles for the LAKings website, there was a conflict of interest, and I no longer have the opportunity to vote in any official capacity. Still, as in past years, I’ll offer up my selections, along with some brief comments. We’re also adding a new dimension to our Awards article this year, as my radio co-host, Jonathan Davis, has shared his winners for each category, as well.

Please note: Our LA Kings specific awards were posted here. Also, this article was originally scheduled to run earlier in the week, but was pushed back a few days due to logistical issues. All voting was done prior to the playoffs beginning on Wednesday, and Davis and I did our tallies separately, neither was influenced by the other.

CALDER TROPHY
“To the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition”

1. Aaron Ekblad – Florida Panthers
2. Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
3. Mark Stone – Ottawa Senators
4. Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
5. Mike Hoffman – Ottawa Senators

Comment: At the Christmas break, this looked like it was Forsberg’s race to lose, and he did. After a great first half, there just wasn’t much left in the tank for the second-half of the season. Conversley, Stone came on real strong over the final few months of the season. However, when you judge the year as a whole, Ekblad had the best season. Further, defensemen typically blossom later, so to do what he did on the blueline as an 18/19-year-old is pretty special.

Davis’ pick: Ekblad

NORRIS TROPHY
“To the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”

1. Mark Giordano – Calgary Flames
2. Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings
3. Shea Weber — Nashville Predators
4. Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
5. PK Subban – Montreal Canadiens

Comment: If those top three are the trio nominated for the award, I’d be a little shocked. Voters will likely find a way to get Subban in there, which means Doughty, Weber, and Suter get marginalized unfairly. Also, some will take exception to Gioradno missing so many games. No complaint here. He was the best defenseman in the NHL this season.

Davis’ pick: Doughty

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. Jiri Hudler – Calgary Flames
2. Ryan O’Reilly — Colorado Avalanche
3. Matt Moulson – Buffalo Sabres
4. Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings
5. Sean Monahan – Calgary Flames

Comment: This one is always a bit of a crap shoot and could easily go to anybody in the top five.

Davis’ pick: Monahan

SELKE TROPHY
“To the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”

1. Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
2. Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
3. Anze Kopitar – LA Kings
4. David Backes – St. Louis Blues
5. Sean Monahan – Calgary Flames

Comment: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Kopitar is so, so close to winning this trophy – it just won’t be this year.

Davis’ pick: Beregeron

HART TROPHY
“To the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”

1. Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
2. John Tavares – New York Islanders
3. Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
4. Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
5. Ryan Getzlaf — Anaheim Ducks

Comment: On the surface, it may seem crazy to have two goaltenders in the top three (and it will certainly upset some traditionalist, who don’t think netminders should be up for this award). However, Price is the clear-cut winner and Dubnyk has to be included when considering how he saved Minnesota’s season. I say it every year, Tavares is criminally underrated.

Davis’ pick: Price

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 Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators. Some will say his job was made easier by having an all-world goalie between the pipes. True, but, it’s not easy taking over from a legend like Barry Trotz. Laviolette also had to work with a completely revamped Preds roster. My second place vote would have gone to Bob Harley of the Calgary Flames. Third place would have been Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice.

Davis’ pick: Maurice

VEZINA TROPHY
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 Carey Price, followed by Pekka Rinne and Devan Dubnyk.

Davis’ pick: Price

Until the Awards in June, let the debates rage… or just keep reading by checking out the links below.

RELATED CONTENT:

LA Kings 2014-15 End of Season Awards; Our Picks and Yours

MayorsManor: Thoughts on the 2014 NHL Awards Nominees

MayorsManor: Ballot Submitted for 2013 NHL Awards Nominees

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