The date is arriving to announce the winners of all the NHL Awards, and the finalists have now all been decided. The Hart Trophy finalists were announced last night, and all the others before that. Let’s take a quick look back at all the awards, the finalists, and the season that each of them had to be recognized.
Recap of the NHL Awards Finalists
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is given to the player who exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. Don’t let the first half of that statement fool you, the playing ability and statistics play a huge role.
Gaudreau had a solid season for a Calgary Flames squad that was able to squeak into the Stnaley Cup Playoffs. Despite the fact that he had a significant point drop-off from the 2015-16 season, he was still able to rack up 61 points over 72 games this season.
While Gaudreau did have a drop-off, and he likely wasn’t even the best forward on Calgary, his play puts him in the running for a very prestigious trophy.
Granlund had himself one heck of a season for a Minnesota Wild team that was surprisingly good. Granlund got himself 26 goals and 43 assists, both career highs by a long shot, over 81 games this season. He was undeniably one of the better stories of the season for the Wild.
Consistently known to be a great locker room guy, and a great role model, Granlund is well-deserving of being included for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
The young Russian, unsurprisingly, had himself another great season in 2016-17 for the St. Louis Blues. Tarasenko had 39 goals and 36 assists on the season, the assists were tied for a career high. He was a pivotal part of the second half of the season revitalization of the Blues.
It would be a smart bet to make to pick Tarasenko to win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Frank J. Selke Trophy
The Frank J. Selke Trophy is given to the forward who exhibits the best defensive ability.
Bergeron is a finalist for the Selke Trophy for the sixth time in his NHL career, having won it in 2012, 2014, and 2015. Known as one of the most disciplined and best defensive forwards in the game, this came as no surprise to anyone who pays even the slightest bit of attention.
A point to prove what kind of impact Bergeron has defensively was that his CA60 of 44.38 this season was the best in the league for forwards who played over half a season worth of games.
Kesler is another mainstay for finalists in the Selke Trophy talk, being a finalist on five occasions and winning the trophy once back in 2011 with the Vancouver Canucks. Kesler’s 51.39 Corsi-For Percentage is a testament to his ability to help his team take more shots than the opposition when he’s on the ice. His face-off skills are another strong point for him being name a finalist for the award as well.
Koivu is the only first-time finalist on this list, but don’t count him out when debating the winner. His numbers aren’t nearly as impressive as the latter two finalists, but his defensive contributions for the Wild this season are worthy of recognition.
Jack Adams Award
McLellan has helped to turn a perennial punching bag into a team vying for a spot in the Western Conference Finals. While this can be largely attributed to the fact that they have a generational talent in Connor McDavid, the coaching staff deserves their fair share of credit.
While the award is more than likely going to end up with one of the other two coaches names engraved on it, McLellan is well worth being named a finalist.
Babcock has done a fantastic job in changing the atmosphere in Toronto in his first two seasons. Much like McLellan, Babcock has been graced with a generational talent in Auston Matthews to help him along the way.
Babcock is undoubtedly in the running for the Jack Adams alongside John Tortorella.
Tortorella, much like Babcock, has done a fantastic job of changing the atmosphere in Columbus. He has turned a young, inexperienced team into a strong Stanley Cup Playoff team. Despite the first round exit, Tortorella has turned this team into something completely different than what previous expectations had them set as.
The 16-game winning streak, second longest in NHL single-season history, definitely won’t hurt his case when deciding on who should win.
Calder Memorial Trophy
The Calder Memorial Trophy is given to the best player in their rookie season, and there are three very good options to choose from this year.
Had it not been for missing nine games this season, Laine would have been in with a serious chance in leading all rookies in goals and points. However, despite missing those games he was still able to score 36 goals and add 28 assists to his point tally in 73 games. His 36 goals and 64 points were both second among all rookies, trailing only Auston Matthews.
Laine would be well-deserving of winning the Calder Trophy, but it is looking highly unlikely that he will.
Werenski was a revelation on the blue line for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. To give you a better idea, Werenski broke the Blue Jackets rookie points record, previously held by Rick Nash, with 47 points on the season. He played much of the season on the first pairing alongside Seth Jones, and was a huge reason as to why the Blue Jackets were able to have the season they did.
Thought by many to be the odds-on favorite to win the Calder Trophy this year, Matthews has a strong case for it. His 40 goals, 69 points, and 279 shots on goal were all tops among rookies. Matthews is undeniably a generational talent, and he played a pivotal role in Toronto making the playoffs this season.
The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the goalie adjudged to have had the best overall season across the NHL.
Price started off the first half of the season on fire, even in relation to his standards. Price started the season 10-0-0, with a .957 save percentage. He did, however, slow down a bit, until Claude Julien came on the scene. Price finished the 2016-17 season with a 37-20-5 record, a 2.23 goals against average, and a .923 save percentage.
Price has won the Vezina Trophy once before, back in 2015. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy that season.
Holtby is once again among the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, and rightly so. Alongside Bobrovsky, Holtby finished top five in save percentage (.925) and goals against average (2.07), finishing second and fourth respectively in those categories. His 42-13-6 record is also massively impressive.
Holtby is one of the two names on this list that is likely to win the Vezina Trophy, with voting likely to be neck-and-neck. Holtby won the Vezina Trophy one time before, winning it last year.
It would be less than surprising to see Bobrovsky win the Vezina Trophy for the second time in his career, with his first coming back in 2013. Bobrovsky finished the season with a 41-17-5 record, a 2.06 goals against average, and a .931 save percentage, with the wins and GAA both being career best numbers for the Russian.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
The Tampa Bay defenseman has been named a finalist for the first time in his career. With 16 goals and 56 assists in 79 games this year, it’s hard to make a case against Hedman not being one of the best defenseman in the league. On top of his ability to produce goals, he has earned a reputation as a shutdown defenseman, putting him rightly in the running with the other two names on this list.
Unsurprisingly enough, Brent Burns is among the finalists for the Norris Trophy for the second straight year. Burns led all defenseman in goals and points, with 29 and 76 respectively, alond with leading the entire NHL in shots on goal, with 320 on the season. He is undeniably one of the most threatening two-way defenseman in recent history, and for that he is yet again a finalist for the Norris Trophy.
Karlsson played in 77 games this season, scoring 17 goals and adding 54 assists in the process. Despite this being a drop in point production from last year, he was still third among all NHL defenseman in total points. Karlsson’s ability to create in 5-on-5 and powerplay situations makes him a potent weapon to have.
If Karlsson wins the trophy this year it will be the third of his career, having won it back in 2012 and 2015.
Hart Memorial Trophy
The finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy are among the least surprising, as two of them are generational talents, and one of them could very well come out of the NHL Awards to be judged as the best goaltender in the league.
It would be surprising, to say the least, to see Bobrovsky come out of the NHL Awards banquet with both the Vezina and the Hart Trophy. Despite it being unlikely that he wins, it’s less than surprising that he was included in the finalists with the absolutely stellar season he had in 2016-17.
Crosby almost seems a given when talking about the Hart Trophy every season, and that’s not for no reason. His 89 points this season was tied with Patrick Kane for second in the NHL, trailing only fellow Hart Trophy finalist Connor McDavid. Crosby finished the season with 44 goals, his highest total since 2009-10 when he bagged 51.
While it would come as no surprise to see Crosby lift the Hart Trophy for the third time, he won it in 2007 and 2014, it’s looking unlikely with the competition he has from another generational talent out of Edmonton.
Connor McDavid led the NHL in scoring in only his second season in the league, with 100 points. His 70 assists this season were good for first in the NHL as well, and his 30 goals wasn’t too shabby either. His ability to create something out of nothing has Edmonton looking like serious candidates to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup. It’s safe to say that he has been this year’s best player, and he should rightly win the Hart Memorial Trophy because of that.
Ted Lindsay Award
After being nominated for the Hart Trophy, and being considered the driving force behind McLellan’s Jack Adams nomination, it should come as no surprise that McDavid’s peer value his contributions just as highly. The Oilers all-star produced highlight-reel play after highlight-reel play all while leading the league in points. It would be impossible to not take notice.
While McDavid was leading the way it was impossible to ignore Sidney Crosby hot on his tail. The Penguins centre transformed every linemate into bonafide stars, all while clipping along at one of the best goals per game rates of his career. Crosby is typically impossible to ignore, but this season he stepped his game up another notch, and it’s only logical the rest of the NHL took notice.
Anytime a defenseman has nearly 30 goals, it’s going to be a season to remember. When his team flounders at the exact same time he goes on a goalless drought, it becomes impossible to ignore. Burns was undoubtedly the driving force behind the San Jose Sharks this season, and it is unsurprising that his teammates, and league-mates took notice of his outstanding play.