6.21.2011

2011 NHL Awards Preview

Nicklas Lidstrom: 6 time Norris winner and 11 time nominee. (Getty Images)
The NHL awards are tomorrow, so here's my preview of who will be going home with what awards...

The Hart Memorial Trophy (Awarded to the most valuable player to his team)
⊳ Nominees: Daniel Sedin (LW, Vancouver Canucks), Corey Perry (RW, Anaheim Ducks), Martin St. Louis (RW, Tampa Bay Lightning)
⊳ Last year Daniel's twin brother Henrik went home with the Hart, and this season, I think Daniel will do the same. While I think that Martin St. Louis may have been the absolutely most valuable player to his team out of these three, all the NHL awards are voted on by the media and I think that Daniel will receive the most votes, especially since he also won the Art Ross (most points) and was one of the top goal scorers this season.
⊳ Prediction: Daniel Sedin
⊳ 2010 Winner: Henrik Sedin

The James Norris Memorial Trophy (Awarded to the NHL's best defenseman)
⊳ Nominees: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings), Shea Weber (Nashville Predators)
⊳ I think this year's Norris is going to Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom has already won six, and especially considering that the voted was finished before Lidstrom announced he would play next season, this award will be his for a combination of reasons: the fact that Lidstrom is still a top defenseman at age 40, the fact that Lidstrom was unsure whether he would retire or not (so the award would be a career achievement one as well), and because Lidstrom has already won six so he is the easy pick. Lidstrom will go home with his seventh Norris, tying him with Doug Harvey for second most overall, only behind Bruins great Bobby Orr (who has eight).
⊳ Prediction: Nicklas Lidstrom
⊳ 2010 Winner: Duncan Keith

The Vezina Trophy (Awarded to the NHL's best goaltender)
⊳ Nominees: Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins), Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators), Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks)
⊳ Tim Thomas is winning the Vezina, completing the trifecta of Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, and Vezina in the same season, which few have achieved (Bernie Parent did it in 1974 and 1975, and Billy Smith did it in 1983). Thomas deserves this, especially for his record setting save percentage as well as his stunning 2.00 goals against average.
⊳ Prediction: Tim Thomas
⊳ 2010 Winner: Ryan Miller

The Calder Memorial Trophy (Awarded to the NHL's best rookie player)
 Nominees: Logan Couture (C, San Jose Sharks), Michael Grabner (RW, New York Islanders), Jeff Skinner (C, Carolina Hurricanes)
⊳ I think Jeff Skinner is going home with the Calder this season. While his goal scoring numbers (31, compared to Grabner's 34 and Couture's 32) were slightly lower than the other two (yet still tied for 21st in the NHL), Skinner's total points were higher (63, compared to Grabner's 52 and Couture's 56). In addition to his slight statistical superiority, Skinner has one attribute which I think will push him over the top in voting; his age. Jeff Skinner played all of last season as an 18 year old, only turning 19 in the middle of May. Grabner turned 23 in October, and Couture turned 22 in March. The fact that a player could come in and do so well at such a young age is worthy of the Calder trophy in my mind.
⊳ Prediction: Jeff Skinner
⊳ 2010 Winner: Tyler Myers

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct)
⊳ Nominees: Nicklas Lidstrom (D, Detroit Red Wings), Martin St. Louis (RW, Tampa Bay Lightning), Loui Eriksson (LW, Dallas Stars)
⊳ Honestly, I really have no idea who I'm picking for this award. I think it'll end up going to either St. Louis or Lidstrom, but which one is unclear. St. Louis had fewer PIMs (12) than Lidstrom (20). St. Louis also was the winner last season. But, seeing as no defenseman has won the award in over 50 years, I'll go with Lidstrom. 
⊳ Prediction: Nicklas Lidstrom
⊳ 2010 Winner: Martin St. Louis


The Frank J. Selke Trophy (Awarded to the best defensive forward)
⊳ Nominees: Pavel Datsyuk (C, Detroit Red Wings), Ryan Kesler (C, Vancouver Canucks), Jonathan Toews (C, Chicago Blackhawks)
⊳ Pavel Datsyuk has won the last three Selke awards. While Ryan Kesler's Canucks did allow the fewest goals this season, I don't recall Datsyuk really changing anything in his game too drastically. If he was worthy of it the last few seasons, why not this season?
⊳ Prediction: Pavel Datsyuk
⊳ 2010 Winner: Pavel Datsyuk


The Jack Adams Award (Awarded to the NHL's best coach)
⊳ Nominees: Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh Penguins), Barry Trotz (Nashville Predators), Alain Vigneault (Vancouver Canucks)
⊳ One of these years, Barry Trotz is going to win the Jack Adams for consistently doing more with less in Nashville. However, this season Dan Bylsma will be going home with it, mainly for managing to scrape away shootout wins without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, even though he had a good defense and a great goalie. I'm not a Penguins fan, nor do I think Bylsma deserves this, but I think the fact he won without a couple of star players will allow him to win. 
⊳ Prediction: Dan Bylsma
⊳ 2010 Winner: Dave Tippett



The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Awarded for dedication to hockey)
⊳ Nominees: Ray Emery (G, Anaheim Ducks), Daymond Langkow (C, Calgary Flames), Ian Laperriere (RW, Philadelphia Flyers)
⊳ Daymond Langkow received a slapshot to the neck and missed over a year before returning from a spinal cord injury. Ian Laperriere was unable to play last season because of post-concussion syndrome and instead works with the Flyers on more managerial stuff. Ray Emery had a disease that only two athletes had ever come back from, underwent successful surgery, and managed to return to the NHL and help lead the Anaheim Ducks into the playoffs as the 4th seed. Emery had the biggest impact while also overcoming quite a lot, so he's going to win the Masterton. 
⊳ Prediction: Ray Emery
⊳ 2010 Winner: Jose Theodore

The Ted Lindsay Award (Awarded for the best player as voted by the players)
⊳ Nominees: Corey Perry (RW, Anaheim Ducks), Daniel Sedin (LW, Vancouver Canucks), Steven Stamkos (C, Tampa Bay Lightning)
⊳ I think Stamkos was very impressive last season, and was more of the leader on the Bolts' offense than Daniel Sedin or Corey Perry was on their respective teams. Sedin winning wouldn't surprise me, but I'm going with Stamkos here. One note: Henrik Sedin didn't win last season, even though he was the Hart winner.
⊳ Prediction: Steven Stamkos 
⊳ 2010 Winner: Alexander Ovechkin

The Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award (Awarded by Mark Messier to the best leader)
⊳ Nominees: Zdeno Chara (D, Boston Bruins), Shane Doan (RW, Phoenix Coyotes), Nicklas Lidstrom (D, Detroit Red Wings)
⊳ I'll take Lidstrom for this one. Just feel like he's the better leader than either Doan or Chara, though I could see either one of them winning as well. Fun fact: Chara and Lidstrom are the only European captains to lead their team to a Stanley Cup championship.
⊳ Prediction: Nicklas Lidstrom
⊳ 2010 Winner: Sidney Crosby

The NHL Foundation Award (Awarded to the player who applies core hockey values to help his community)
⊳ Nominees: Dustin Brown (RW, Los Angeles Kings), Mike Green (D, Washington Capitals), Daniel & Henrik Sedin (LW & C, Vancouver Canucks)
⊳ Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. I'm a Caps fan, so I'll take my boy Mike Green.
⊳ Prediction: Mike Green
⊳ 2010 Winner: Ryan Miller

The GM of the Year Award (Awarded to the best NHL general manager)
⊳ Nominees: Mike Gillis (Vancouver Canucks), David Poile (Nashville Predators), Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
⊳ The Tampa Bay Lightning surprised everyone last season. Yzerman also made many shrewd moves during the season (Roloson, Brewer, etc.), so I'm giving this to Mr. Stevie Y. 
⊳ Prediction: Steve Yzerman
⊳ 2010 Winner: Don Maloney

Finally, the awards that have already been decided:
⊳ The Stanley Cup: Boston Bruins
⊳ The Prince of Wales Trophy (Eastern Conference playoff champions): Boston Bruins
⊳ The Clarence S. Campbell Bowl (Western Conference playoff champions): Vancouver Canucks
⊳ The Presidents' Trophy (Team with most points in the regular season)Vancouver Canucks
⊳ The Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP): Tim Thomas
⊳ The Art Ross Trophy (Most points in the regular season): Daniel Sedin
⊳ The Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy (Most goals in the regular season): Corey Perry
⊳ The Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award (Highest regular season save percentage): Tim Thomas
⊳ The William M. Jennings Trophy (Goaltender(s) on the team with the fewest goals allowed in the regular season): Roberto Luongo & Cory Schneider
⊳ The NHL Plus-Minus Award (Highest +/- in the regular season): Zdeno Chara

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