2013 Season Predictions: Individual Awards Edition

With the puck set to drop on Saturday night, the 2012/2013 NHL season will finally (FINALLY!!!) get under way!

As is befitting of the quiet before the storm, everyone has their predictions for the coming season. Which teams will excel, who is in line for a break out year and which sorry souls will suffer at the foot of the standings.

And so, for your consideration, I dish out my own predictions for the coming campaign – starting with the individual awards.

Hart Trophy

Evgeni Malkin
Malkin was a comfortable winner last season (though I still think Jonathan Quick was robbed) and it’s hard not to figure the Russian superstar will not be in the mix again this term.

The return of another Penguins other superstar (see below) can only seek to boost Malkin’s powerplay scoring opportunities, as well as taking a little focus off the two time Art Ross winner as opponents have to deal with the worlds top two stars.

Rick Nash
After spending his entire career in Ohio, a lack of progress in the Blue Jackets camp finally triggered a trade request from franchise star Nash – leading to a move to Broadway.

The Rangers are stacked this season; giving Nash two things he’s never had before – support and space, as he is no longer the sole focus of opposing defences.

Don’t think he is a Hart candidate? Just consider how good he’s been in international competition when there’s actually been some other talent along side him…

Sidney Crosby
Cliché as it may be, how can a healthy Crosby not be a Hart contender?

If the one thing the lockout has given the NHL is a healthy Sid the Kid, then in some twisted respects then maybe it was worth it. There is no bigger star than Crosby when Canada’s favourite son is at his best.

***

Norris Trophy

Shea Weber
No Suter? No problem! If he isn’t already the best defenceman in the game, he’s bloody close.

An all round machine on the Preds blue line, don’t be surprised if he leads the team in almost every category this year and wins his first Norris trophy.

Zdeno Chara
Like Weber, the giant Slovak contributes at both ends of the ice. Whilst playing on a significantly better team means Chara is unlikely to lead the Bruins in any categories there is no denying his quality.

Drew Doughty
The Kings started slow, as Doughty did after a drawn out contract negotiation last summer. When the smooth skating blue liner hit his stride in the post season, well, his shiny new Cup ring speaks for itself.

With an extended summer break, expect the LA star to be right in the mix come awards time

***

Vezina Trophy

Henrik Lundqvist
That last year was the affable Swede’s first Vezina speaks highly of the competition in previous years. But the Blueshirts stalwart is poised to lock up the award in a way only the likes of Brodeur and Hasek have done in the last two decades.

Jonathan Quick
The LA stopper had progressively got better each year before not so much breaking out, but completely smashing his way to the top of the NHL last season.

By the definition of the Hart Trophy (the player judged to be most valuable to his team) Quick should have been ‘league MVP’ for his stellar early season play, which helped guide a some times creaky LA ship in to the post season – what they did when they got there is in the history books

Ryan Miller
With a nod to Pekka Rinne (I don’t want to say Nashville is a two man team, but when the third guy is Carrie Underwood’s purse holder…), the Sabres stopper is only a couple of years removed from being the clear top stopper in the world.

After an extended break, and a John Scott to protect him from wild Lucic attacks, don’t be shocked to see the Team USA man back among the leagues elite again.

***

Rocket Richard Trophy

Steven Stamkos
156 goals in three seasons. Nuff said.

Alexander Ovechkin
A new more offensive minded coach, a new fiancée, a recipe for happiness for the Great 8?

Sidney Crosby
Much like his, and Malkin’s, Hart credentials having each other (and Kris Letang) on the powerplay must surely lead to scoring opportunities?

***

Frank J Selke Trophy

Pavel Datsyuk
Perennial contender. With the Wings losing Lidstrom, a share defensive responsibility is likely to engulf the Detroit dressing room. Expect the highly skilled Russian to be front and center for the Selke again.

Jonathan Toews
The Blackhawks skipper has developed in to one of the best all round players in the world, a fantastic leader for a historic club and must surely be on the cusp of being the next ‘annual winner’ of the Selke?

Patrice Bergeron
The defending champion as it were, the Bruins man will be a candidate for the best defensive forward again this season

***

Calder Trophy

Chris Kreider
A strong showing in the 2012 play-offs promised a bright future for the Rangers winger. Expect him to hammer home his NHL credentials this season.

Alex Galchenyuk
After a stand out World Junior tournament with winners Team USA, even on the worst teams someone scores. Why not Galchenyuk for the sad sack Habs?

Justin Schultz
For some, the Edmonton blue liner already has his name engraved on the Calder. A superb showing in the AHL during the lockout, and plenty of minutes on offer on a thin Oilers blue line will give Schultz plenty of opportunity to claim the rookie of the year award.

Phew, and there we go. Now I’m off to prepare my flame proof coat as Crosby gets concussed in the first week, Ryan Miller crumbles and Just Schultz is a -50…

Agree? Disagree? Think I am a moron? Tweet me (@RobMcGregor35), drop a comment or write an angry letter to your MP or Senator.

Tomorrow; team predictions! Division by division break downs, analysis and crack pot theories over who will fly and who’ll crash and burn.

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About Rob

Software engineer by day, Elite League Media man by night, Rob also blogs about cricket for One Stump Short, hockey for In Goal Magazine and video games for Outpost Delta as well as hosting the One Stump Short Podcast.

Posted on January 17, 2013, in Hockey, NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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