With the first half of the NHL season behind us, it’s time to look around the league and see who should be picked to win the various major awards in the NHL. It’s been an exciting first half, filled with some surprising (and not so surprising) performances. Let’s look at who is getting the job done right now, and who isn’t.
Masterton Trophy (sportsmanship, perseverance, dedication to hockey): Josh Harding
Likely the easiest award I will give out. Harding exemplifies what this award is all about. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the offseason, Harding is fighting hard every day to be back on the ice with his teammates and playing the game he loves. In his first game this season, he even posted a shutout, giving us one of the feel good moments of the year. Let’s hope Harding can continue to live his dream and make an impact in the NHL, while being an inspiration to others with this horrible disease.
Runners Up: Andrei Markov, Teemu Selanne
Selke Trophy (best defensive forward): Patrice Bergeron
The Bruins continue to battle for a spot at the very top of the NHL and Bergeron is a big reason why. He plays against the top players on opposing teams, keeps them in check, wins faceoffs, kills penalties, and even provides a little offence of his own. One of the most complete players in the National Hockey League, Bergeron is a key cog in making the Bruins a feared opponent once again.
Runners Up: Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews
Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year): Paul MacLean
Paul MacLean currently has the Senators in 5th place in the Eastern Conference and solidly in a playoff spot. This is despite the fact that they have been without their #1 centre, and best forward Jason Spezza for all but a few games; their #1 defenceman, Norris Trophy Winner, and team MVP Erik Karlsson for well over a month now; and their star goaltender Craig Anderson for over 3 weeks. MacLean is leading this “no name” group of Senators to things no one would have thought possible, and thus is the coach of the year in my mind.
Runners Up: Joel Quenneville, Bruce Boudreau
General Manager of the Year: Stan Bowman
A relatively new award compared to its counterparts on this list, but one that will grow in prestige as the years go by. Bowman is recognized for his work in retooling the Hawks following their stint in Cap Jail after the 2010 Stanley Cup Win. The Hawks are a powerhouse as seen by the 24-game unbeaten run which ended recently and the work of Bowman in surrounding a good core with quality depth through smart trades and draft picks is the reason why.
Runners Up: Marc Bergevin, Bryan Murray
Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year): Jonathan Huberdeau
With the injury to Vladimir Tarasenko, and Cory Conacher slowing down from his early season pace, Huberdeau has seized the opportunity to take the lead in this award. Playing on a Florida squad that has been decimated with injuries, Huberdeau has become one of the key offensive contributors for the Panthers. Huberdeau’s slick moves and all world talent have him atop the Rookie charts with 12 goals, while his 17 points are second to Conacher.
Runners up: Cory Conacher, Justin Schultz,
Vezina Trophy (top Goaltender): Pekka Rinne
Rinne has a 2.00 goals against average, a .924 save percentage with 5 shutouts. On a Nashville team that isn’t known for putting up big offensive numbers, Rinne is forced to keep the goals against very low to give his team a chance to win every night. He’s been up to the challenge yet again this season. Rinne is the number one reason Nashville remains competitive year in and year out, and continue to be right in the mix in the Western Conference playoff race. Craig Anderson could challenge for this award, but he’s going to need to repeat his stellar early season numbers once he returns from injury.
Runners Up: Craig Anderson, Victor Fasth
Norris Trophy (top Defenceman): P.K. Subban
Probably the biggest surprise on this list and one of the closest races in my mind. Subban leads all defencemen with 7 goals, and is second in the league with 20 points in 21 games, as he missed the first six games of the season in a contract holdout. Subban is also +5 and is now averaging over 22 minutes per game. That number is rising however, as it appeared it took PK a few weeks to find his endurance. He’s been playing increasingly more minutes, and the tough match-ups lately as his ice-time spiked to a season high 31 minutes last night vs Ottawa. Subban seems to be getting better and better as the young season goes on, and is a massive reason for the Habs turnaround from worst to first this season. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, defensive scoring leader Kris Letang will certainly give him a run for his money in the second half.
Runners Up: Kris Letang, Zdeno Chara
Hart Trophy (MVP) & Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player): Sidney Crosby
It’s a clean sweep for Crosby as he wins the NHL’s two most prestigious individual awards. Crosby is quite simply the best player in the game right now. He’s running away with the scoring title and has led his Penguins to the top of the NHL’s Atlantic Division (and fighting for the top of the Eastern Conference). Crosby leads by example, and never takes a shift off. He’s deadly in all areas of the ice, and does more than just score points as he is also a top faceoff man, and good defensively. Right now Sid has no equal in the NHL, and he deserves all the accolades he gets, including these awards.
Runners Up: Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane
So there you have it, my picks for the midseason NHL awards. Agree/Disagree? Leave your comments below.
Interested in blogging for LastWordOnSports? Find more info at our “Join Our Team” page.