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NHL Awards: What say ye?


-AJ-

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NHL.com has been doing a series of plausible award winners as of the half-way point of the season, which inspired me to do my own evaluation. Over the last few days, I've done a fair bit of digging and research to find what I believe are my picks for each award. I believe that some of mine might be a bit off the board, so I'm expecting a bit of push back on a few of them, so I'd be interested to see some discussion on that.

 

*Note - This is about my personal picks and your picks, not predictions. Pick who you think deserves to be in the discussion, not who you think will be in the discussion.

 

**Note II - I didn't make a poll for the Calder because I think we all know how that would go (and the limit is five questions).

 

Norris:

3rd Place - Drew Doughty

 

Prior to this year, I believed Doughty to be one of the more overrated defensemen in the league, but he's proven me wrong this year. He has improved drastically and is a very solid all-around defenseman.

 

2nd Place - P.K. Subban

 

Not only is Subban outstanding offensively, but despite his 40.1% offensive zone faceoff starts, he has a Corsi over 50%, meaning that he's doing a lot to transition the play from his zone where he starts, to the offensive zone where his team gets shots on net. Subban and Rinne are doing wonders for Nashville and are huge parts of why they are doing so well.

 

1st Place - Alex Pietrangelo

 

Pietrangelo doesn't seem to have the fine-tuned strengths that other defenders may have, but he seems to have absolutely no weaknesses. Doughty has poor takeaway and giveaway numbers and Subban doesn't block shots, but Pietrangelo? He does everything. You can count on Pietrangelo to do anything and everything a defenseman could possibly have to do.

 

Selke:

3rd Place - Aleksander Barkov

 

Barkov has been in the discussion for the Selke before, but he's continuing to improve in this department. He blocks a ton of shots for a forward and has a Corsi % of over 53%, despite taking many defensive-zone face-offs. Speaking of face-offs, Barkov is good in that area too, with a 53.8% success rate.

 

2nd Place - Sean Couturier

 

Like Barkov, Couturier has also been mentioned in the Selke talks in the past, finishing 8th in voting two years ago. Couturier excels in many of the same areas as Barkov, with a slightly worse face-off percentage and a slightly better Corsi rating and giveaway total. Honestly, it's extremely close between Barkov and Couturier.

 

1st Place - Patrice Bergeron

 

Unlike between Barkov and Couturier, it's not close when Bergeron enters the picture. Like last year, Bergeron continues to be far and away the best defensive forward in the NHL. Begeron is strong in every category and is exceptional in +/-, Corsi, and face-off percentage, finishing 3rd out of the 50 players I evaluated in all three categories. He finished 7th in blocked shots. 

 

Vezina:

3rd Place - Pekka Rinne

 

As mentioned earlier, Rinne is one of the big reasons that Nashville is doing so well. His .924 save percentage and three shutouts are among the best in the league.

 

2nd Place - Jonathan Quick

 

Like with Doughty, I've believed Quick to be overrated as well in past years, but he's also changed my mind. Quick has exceptional numbers this year, including a sparkling .926 save percentage and 2.31 GAA.

 

1st Place - Andrei Vasilevsky

 

Vasilevsky is the top goaltender is every category, making him a no-brainer for this award so far. He's first in wins (27), save percentage (.933), GAA (2.10), and shutouts (6). It's hard to justify anyone else over him.

 

Ted Lindsay:

3rd Place - John Tavares

 

Tavares has 51 points in 43 games including 22 goals. He's on pace for 42 goals, 55 assists, and 97 points.

 

2nd Place - Nathan MacKinnon

 

MacKinnon is carrying the Avalanche on his back with his incredible performance with 52 points in just 41 games. He's on pace for 36 goals and a whopping 68 assists for 104 points.

 

1st Place - Nikita Kucherov

 

There's absolutely no doubt that Kucherov is the NHL's most outstanding player as of now as he remains on pace for over 50 goals and 114 points.

 

Hart:

3rd Place - Johnny Gaudreau

 

I suspect I'll get more push back on the Hart than anything else, but hear me out: The Hart trophy is to be award to the player most valuable to his own team. Gaudreau is one of the only reason the Flames are even close to a playoff spot. He has 49 points in 42 games and is on pace for 96 points. Next behind him on the Flames is Monahan who's on pace for 20 points less at 76 points. Below that is Tkachuk at 53 points. Gaudreau provides a massive percentage of Calgary's offense and they'd collapse without him.

 

2nd - Nikita Kucherov

 

Despite what I said earlier, Kucherov is just that good. The Lightning have an unbelievable team and could survive even if a lot of their star players went down, but no Kucherov would be a real big blow to them. He's by far their best player currently.

 

1st - Nathan MacKinnon

 

No player is more crucial to their team so far this season than Nathan MacKinnon. Not only does he have the second highest points-per-game (1.27), but he doesn't have nearly as strong of a supporting cast as Kucherov, making him more vital to Colorado's team. The Avalanche are on a 5-game winning streak right now and MacKinnon has 12 points in those last five games. It's no coincidence; the Avalanche live and die with Nathan MacKinnon.

 

Calder:

 

3rd - Mikhail Sergachev

 

Sergachev's number have fallen off a bit recently, so I've almost slipped him out of my top three, but not quite yet. He's still on pace for almost 50 points, which is almost unheard of for rookie defensemen.

 

2nd - Matthew Barzal

 

The only player close to my #1 pick is Barzal. He's lead rookies in assists for a long time and continues to do so with 26 assists in 43 games. He's an extremely skilled offensive player.

 

1st - Brock Boeser

 

You all saw this one coming. Boeser currently has one more point than Barzal in three less games. Not only that, but Boeser is carrying this Canucks team so hard that I think he should be in the discussion for the Hart trophy--not a finalist, but at least in the discussion. He is by far the best player on the Canucks so far this season.

 

Who are your picks? 

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Norris - Pietrangelo - he's been great for them and even better without Shattenkirk

Selke - Barkov - will likely be Bergeron, but Barkov is worthy of winning at some point

Vezina - Vasilevskiy - no one really stands out, and I think Vas is a product of his team, still best choice though

Lindsey - Kucherov - been the best player in the league

Hart - Kopitar - carrying his team with Carter out

Calder - Boeser - his goal scoring prowess should give him the edge over Barzal/Keller/anyone else

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Boeser for everything purely on the fact that he probably could do everything. 

 

Norris - Pietrangelo, somewhat underrated imo.

Selke - Bergeron, wanna say Barkov but lets be honest this award should be renamed when Bergeron retires.

Vezina - Vasilevsky, goes without saying.

Hart - MacKinnon. His play has taken a major step forward and coincidentally his team has done a complete 180 since last year.

Lindsay - Kucherov, man is a stud nuff said

Calder - Boeser if he keeps scoring. I know people have Barzal close but I value goals more than assists. When it comes to rookie goal scoring it's Boeser well up on the rest. He has goals and the points in his favour.

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