Even though the ¨stats awards¨ have been handed out already, there are still many trophies left to be awarded. The Puck Talk Live boys have predictions about who will win the other major awards.
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player deemed most valuable to their team.
Noah's prediction: Leon Draisaitl
Draisaitl has proved everyone wrong this year by playing on his own line and absolutely dominating without McDavid. He won the Art Ross Trophy (awarded to the player who has the most points), with 110 points, even though many people thought McDavid was a shoo-in winner. He also led the league in assists with 67, and was only 5 goals behind Ovechkin and Pastrnak, who each scored 48. Draisaitl has proven to be capable of being the best player on just about any team, who does not need another superstar on his line to succeed.
Draisaitl has been the best player in the league this year, even without McDavid on his line. Photo: Edmonton Journal
Logan’s prediction: Leon Draisaitl
Artemi Panarin may have jump-started a once dull Rangers forward lineup, but Leon Draisaitl defied the critics and led the league in points. With 110 to his name, he played most of the season away from superstar teammate Connor McDavid. Nobody saw his point production being as high as it was without McDavid on his line. He may not have had a positive corsi percentage, but a little over half the time he started a shift in the offensive zone, helping him and his team put pucks in the net, and giving him the Hart Memorial Trophy.
Raffi’s prediction: Artemi Panarin
Many people make the argument that the Hart trophy is the most valuable player in the National Hockey League (NHL). However, the Hart Trophy’s description is that the award is given to the player who is of most value to their team. Although Leon Draisaitl was by far the best player in the league, Edmonton was sitting comfortably in the playoffs for most of the season. The Rangers constantly were fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch, and without Artemi Panarin, the Rangers season wouldn’t have the resurgence they had before the shutdown. The Rangers went from basically a team looking like they were going to keep rebuilding this season, into a playoff contender. That is largely thanks to the offseason signing of Artemi Panarin.
Panarin looks to cut off a pass from the opposing team. Photo: Yahoo! Sports
The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goaltender in the league.
Noah's prediction: Tuukka Rask
Rask has been the most dominant goaltender this season. He leads the league in GAA, and is second in the league in save percentage and shutouts. He only allows an average of 2.12 goals per game, and saves 92.9% of the shots he faces. On top of all of that, he has held the other team scoreless five times this season. Even at 33 years old, Rask continues to show why he is the best goaltender in the league.
Logan’s prediction: Connor Hellebuyck
No goalie played a better game than Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. The American born netminder started behind a lackluster and young Jets defensive corps. Putting up a .922 save percentage and a 2.57 goals against average. His numbers were, by textbook definition, elite. Looking deeper though, you can see his efforts through the season. Watching him play is like watching Picasso paint a picture. He was purposeful in each of his strides and had an eye on the puck almost every shot that came his way. He faced the most shots of any goalie this season, and saved the most as well. Those are categoric pieces of evidence to his deserving of the award this season.
Connor Hellebuyck has been a dark horse candidate for the Vezina all season, and has played extremely well behind a weak Jets defense. Photo: Arctic Ice Hockey
Raffi’s prediction: Tuukka Rask
First off, TUUUUUUUUUK. Now that that’s out of the way, here is why Tuukka Rask deserves to win the Vezina this year. On a star studded Boston Bruins team, Tuukka Rask was remarkable this season posting a .929 save percentage this season which was 2nd in the league (right behind Anton Khudobin), and had the best goals against average in the league with 2.12 GAA. With that, he was tied for the second most shutouts this season (only trailing Connor Hellebyuck), and was a highlight reel caliber goalie this season. Although Boston had plenty of stars, to really go above and beyond like they did this season, it’s crucial to have an amazing goalie and Tuukka Rask was that, and much more.
The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded to the best defensemen in the league.
Noah's prediction: John Carlson
This one might be the most obvious one out of all the trophies. John Carlson has really exploded this year, ending the season with 75 points in 69 games, the most out of any NHL defensemen. He is also the Capitals' all-time point leader for defensemen, passing Calle Johansson who had 474 points. While Carlson only scored 15 goals, he accounted for 60 assists, proving his impactful contributions to the team.
Carlson has been one of the best players on the Capitals this year, and looks to close it out with a Norris trophy. Photo: TheHockeyNews
Logan’s prediction: Roman Josi
Unlike my counterpart above me, the award won’t be easily handed out to Carlson. I believe Roman Josi has played a great enough season to earn himself the coveted award. Besides being the best defenseman the Predators have, and a fantastic leader for the league, he has played a fantastic season. He played just under 26 minutes a night through 69 games played. He notched 65 points this season, 23 coming from the powerplay. While off of the puck, his corsi relative to the team was 3.8. That means that while he was on the ice, more shots were being generated. He also has an offensive zone start time of just over 50 percent as well. Both are contributing factors to the team's offensive production. Compare that to Carlson, and Josi has a slight edge, which to me gives him the award.
Raffi’s Prediction: John Carlson
John Carlson was absolutely stellar on offense this season with 15 goals and 60 assists with a +/- of + 12. At the rate he was heading at, he would’ve finished with 89 points, putting him not only in the top 30 in points by a defenseman in a season, but also he would've had the most points by a defenseman in one season since the 1993-1994 season. As amazing as those stats are, the Norris is awarded to best all around defensemen, not just offensive defenseman. Carlson was the backbone of the Capitals defense this season logging just over 20 minutes per game. Carlson was a huge reason why his team got a bye in this season’s playoffs, and could be a dark horse for the Conn Smythe trophy if he continues his play in the playoffs.
The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded to a forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive aspect of the game (in other words: the best defensive forward).
Noah's prediction: Sean Couturier
Once again, Couturier is proving to be one of the Flyers' most valuable players. He is one of the team's leaders in plus/minus (+21) and faceoff win percentage (59.6%), both key aspects of a great defensive forward's game. He is not the biggest point-producer, but he hustles back on defense and is usually on the first penalty kill unit. Many times these players' impacts are not seen on the scoresheet, and Couturier's impact is certainly not all in the numbers.
Sean Couturier has been a rock for the Flyers defensively, while still doing his job as a forward. Photo: Broad Street Hockey
Logan’s prediction: Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier was head-and-shoulders the best forward on the defensive side of the ice, next to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron is an obvious pick for ballot voters, but there's something about a defensive forward’s offensive capabilities that should be put into consideration. Bring in Sean Couturier. Sporting 59 points this season in 69 games played, Couturier helped the Flyers in that nine-game winning streak that propelled them into the top portion of the conference. Defense may win championships, but points still have to be scored, which is why Couturier gets the nod for this one.
Raffi’s prediction: Patrice Bergeron
As much as I would love to make the case for Anthony Cirelli being the Selke winner, I can’t see him getting more votes this season than guys like Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier, and Anze Kopitar. One day Cirelli will be one of the top 2 way centers in the league, but today is not that day yet. Patrice Bergeron had a very nice +/- this season with a + 23, and although the argument can be made that he was on the best first line in the league, it’s important to realize the values Bergeron has beyond his offensive skills. Even though Sean Couturier had a higher faceoff percentage by 2%, Bergeron was a huge reason why the Boston Bruins not only had a top 3 power play in the league, but a top 3 penalty kill as well. This year’s Selke nomination will for sure be a toss up, but ol’ reliable 4 time Selke winner Patrice Bergeron has made sure he has given the voters a solid reason to choose him as the winner once again.
Bergeron is always in the running for a Selke nomination, and this year is no different. Photo: The Boston Globe
The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded to the best rookie in the league.
Noah's prediction: Quinn Hughes
Remember in the beginning of the season when we all thought Cale Makar was a lock for the Calder? Hughes has really stepped up as the year wore on. He leads all rookies in points with 53 and in assists with 45 (7 more than Makar). To add on, Hughes is playing on a worse team than Makar, meaning his teammates aren't as good at enabling him to put up these numbers. Comparing their defensive games, Hughes is a much better defenseman than Makar. Sure, the Avalanche rookie is much more capable with his offensive skill set, but I would take Hughes defending a one-on-one nine times out of ten over Makar.
Quinn Hughes has made the Vancouver defense and offense look much better once he joined the team. Photo: The Hockey Writers
Logan’s prediction: Cale Makar
There are minimal flaws in Cale Makar’s game. He was a force to be reckoned with on the puck, and you had to fight for every inch of ice you needed when he was off of it. He scored 50 points this season, not the leader among rookies, but still really impressive in a defensmen’s first season in the NHL. When on the ice, there was rarely a time where the puck was in the defensive end, owning a 62.3 percent offensive zone start rate. With a positive corsi rating as well, the team's offensive production benefited while he was on the ice. He played significant minutes every game, including being part of the Avlanche’s explosive power play unit. From interviews, one can tell that he’s a stand-up guy off the ice as well. Regardless of this, however, the Calder will go to a defenseman
for the first time since Aaron Ekblad in 2015.
Raffi’s prediction: Cale Makar
If you had told me last year the two top finalists for the Calder were Quinn Hughes or Cale Makar, I would’ve thought you were crazy not because I didn’t think they’d have great seasons this year with Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko coming into the league. However, here we are with a playoff star from last year, Cale Makar, and the other Hughes brother, Quinn Hughes, in the neck and neck race for the Calder. Both had stellar seasons offensively, but from watching the two play, I felt Cale Makar was a bit more well rounded in the defensive zone than Quinn Hughes was. It’s going to be a close one for this award, but I believe Cale Makar made less mistakes and had a more complete game than Quinn Hughes this year.
Makar looks to pass to a teammate while walking the blue line. Photo: TheHockeyNews
The Jack Adams Award is given to the best coach in the league.
Noah's prediction: Mike Sullivan
How could you have the best coach on one of the best teams in the league? Wouldn't that make their job extremely easy? Well, it's not that simple. The Penguins had the injury bug this season, making their star-studded roster difficult to manage. Jake Guentzel, Zach Ashton-Reese, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Patric Hornquivst, Brian Dumoulin, and John Marino were just some of the injuries the Penguins experienced this year, and many of those were for extended periods of time. It takes an experienced and special coach to be able to manage an ever-changing roster and still keep the team fighting for a top spot in the Metro. Slotting new players and returning players in and out of the roster and managing to keep team chemistry nearly perfect is an incredible skill. One that Mike Sullivan has mastered this season.
Logan’s prediction: Alain Vigneault
The Philadelphia Flyers, like seasons before, dug themselves out of a serious hole. This was in large part to stellar goaltending by Carter Hart, explosive play by their veteran forward corps, as well as a huge swing of momentum towards the end of the season with a nine-game win streak down the stretch. All of this couldn’t be possible without Head Coach Alain Vigneault. The Franchise’s 21st head coach came into the season looking to spark a fire under a competent line up in the city of brotherly love. They were competitive from the get go, and under his guidance they excelled at the right time to put them in a top spot in the eastern conference.
Vigneault directs his team from behind the bench. Photo: Sportsnet
Raffi’s prediction: John Tortorella
After losing super stars Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene, and Artemi Panarin, Columbus was projected to be a lottery team come this season. However, with Tortorella running the show, he was able to still make the pieces he had work, and even with losing 3 outstanding players, Columbus fought for a playoff spot all of the season, even when the injury bug was taking out guys like Seth Jones and Joonas Korpisalo. Even with a lackluster power play, Columbus was still great defensively on their penalty kill, which was just outside the top 10 in the league. No matter what the score was entering the third, Tortorella was constantly able to get his team to come out with at least a point in most of their games. Although Columbus had 15 overtime losses this season, it’s better to have those 15 points in a tight playoff race than only have 5 or 10. Many new or inexperienced coaches would have taken Columbus as a rebuilder, but with a guy like Torts, the teams he coaches can become at least a contender if not more in the NHL and it showed this season with a potential playoff berth come late July.