One Puck Short Mid-Season Awards
As I love to do (fuel my ego! FUEL IT! MWAH HA HA HA HA etc), before the new season kicked off I did a standard (i.e. everyone does it) prediction blog on who I thought would be in the frame for the individual awards this season.
At the midway stage of this 48 game schedule, time to revisit those predictions and see how hilariously wrong I was (or not in some cases – back slaps for me), as well as picking my mid-season award winners.
Hart Trophy – Sidney Crosby
(Pre-season Picks: Evgeni Malkin, Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby)
My brief case for Sid the Kid as a Hart contender prior to the seasons first puck drop:
“Cliché as it may be, how can a healthy Crosby not be a Hart contender?“
To say he might not have been a bad pick seems something of an understatement at this stage. The Penguins Captain leads the league in points (45) and assists (33) and was the catalyst for one of the best GIFs of the season on Backhand Shelf! This play is the very definition of wanting the puck – watch and learn kids!
Runners Up – Patrick Kane and Ryan Getzlaf
Kane was ridiculously good through the Hawks incredible start to the season, whilst Getzlaf has been instrumental in the Ducks own strong start (netting himself a lucrative new contract in the process)
Honourable Mentions – Matt Duchene (Shameless homer alert, but Duchene has been friggin’ unbelievable on a stuttering Avs team!), Craig Anderson and John Tavares (both also unbelievable on unfancied teams)
Norris Trophy – Kris Letang
(Pre-season Picks: Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty)
Two for two for the Pens, but Letang has had a great season thus far and just shades it for me. He leads defencemen in points with 26 and quaterbacks arguably the best powerplay in the league (is it even an argument?).
Runners Up – Zdeno Chara and Niklas Kronwall
The Bruins captain has been a defensive rock for his club whilst logging 24 minutes a night. Kronwall meanwhile is perhaps the only truly recognisable D man on the Red Wings roster thanks to a combination of injuries and retirements. The hard hitting Swede has stepped up his game to help lead Detroit to 5th in the West
Honourable Mentions – Erik Karlsson, who probably would have been in the mix again were it not for a freak injury, and PK Subban
Vezina Trophy – Craig Anderson
(Pre-season Picks: Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller)
Despite missing time through injury, Anderson remains my pick for the Vezina because of his truly ridiculous level of play prior to getting hurt.
In 15 games he went 8-4-2 to help an modest Sens make a strong start to the year, posting a 1.49 GAA and a mind boggling save percentage of .952!
Runners Up – Antti Niemi and Tuukka Rask
Is this the year Niemi truly flourishes in to a bona fide NHL number 1? On a Sharks team that has lurched from triumph to disaster he has been the one constant, whilst Rask leads the league in wins. Being on a strong team helps, but Rask has been playing like the top ‘tender the Bruins needed him to be if they are to challenge for another Cup.
Honourable Mentions – Pekka Rinne, the corner stone of the defensive minded Predators. When the team only averages 2.08 goals per game your goalie needs to be frikkin’ good every single night!
Rocket Richard Trophy – Steven Stamkos
(Pre-season Picks: Steven Stamkos, Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby)
Stamkos has 19 goals to the 17 of Jeff Carter, Chris Kunitz and James Neal – and hey, don’t the latter two share one pretty useful team mate?
Frank J Selke Trophy – Jonathan Toews
(Pre-season Picks: Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron)
Basically Toews has been exceptional in all situations. What more can I say? He wins draws, has 11 goals and 23 points and plays in every key situation. It’s not even a debate at this stage, Toews basically has the Selke sewn up already.
Runners Up – Patrice Bergeron and Eric Staal
Bergeron is the second best face-off man in the league (0.1% behind Antoine Vermette!), and is a ridiculous +17 (albeit on a very good team). Staal meanwhile has once again established himself as ‘the man’ in Carolina as he continues to help his team at both ends of the ice
Honourable Mentions – Pavel Datsyuk; mainly because he is Pavel Datsyuk and like the three men mentioned above he is bloody good in both ends!
Calder Trophy – Jonathan Huberdeau
(Pre-season Picks: Chris Kreider, Alex Galchenyuk, Justin Schultz)
Boy was I wrong about Kreider. As a minor injury and a slow start led to being bounced between the Rangers and their AHL affiliate.
Huberdeau on the other hand has been the stand out on a brutal Panthers team, whom he leads in both goals and points. He’s proving to be one of the few bright spots in a miserable year for Florida, as they likely face a future without star center Stephen Weiss.
Runners Up – Brendan Gallagher and Justin Schultz
With a nod Galchenyuk, a team mate and a pre-season pick of mine, Gallagher has had a superb start to his NHL career in Montreal netting 7 goals and 15 points. Schultz meanwhile is logging more than 20 minutes per night in Edmonton, no mean feat for a rookie D man on any team let alone a bad one.
Honourable Mentions – Cory Conacher; who has made a surprisingly sleek leap to the NHL with Tampa Bay.
Jack Adams – Paul MacLean
I didn’t do pre-season picks for the Adams, simply because I felt it was just too hard to truly make those kinds of predictions. But there is a clear leader at the mid way point in my eyes.
26 games in, and playing at least part of the season without star center Jason Spezza, reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and number 1 goaltender Craig Anderson, MacLean has somehow kept the
Binghamton Ottawa Senators inside the top 8; despite many feeling they’d miss the cut even with the aforementioned stars in the line up.
Runners Up – Joel Quenneville and Michel Therrien
Former Avs coach Quenneville deserves a gold star for helping the Hawks make one of the best starts in NHL history. Therrien’s return to Montreal is proving an inspired move as the clubs sits 1st in the East at the half way mark.
Honourable Mentions – Bruce Boudreau.
General Manager of the Year – Marc Bergevin
Partly due to Therrien’s success (see above), partly due to getting the deal with club wanted when they re-signed PK Subban and a small part being at the head of an organisation enjoying a resurgence after a disastrous 2011/12 season.
Bergevin may not have made any monumental moves, but the two subtle but important moves he did make have made a big difference to the Habs.
Runners Up – Stan Bowman and Garth Snow
Bowman, much like Quenneville deserves a high five for getting the best out of an admittedly good Blackhawks. Bowman resisted the urge to tinker and is getting his reward now. Snow on the other hand has few luxuries with which to make the Islanders better; but he’s pulled together a group of players and prospects that are just 3 points outside the play-offs!
Posted on March 12, 2013, in Hockey, NHL and tagged Craig Anderson, Jonathan Huberdeau, Jonathan Toews, Kris Letang, NHL Awards, Paul MacLean, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.