Awards. Everyone complains about who wins every award every year. I generally do, but usually with the understanding that my picks are rarely going to match up with those of the masses. Awards are subjective, and if you're reading this you likely have your own ideas too. I would love to hear them. My picks are below.
Calder Memorial Trophy: NHL's top rookie: Jonas Brodin, D Minnesota Wild
Honorable Mentions: Nail Yakupov, F Edmonton Oilers
Jonathan Huberdeau, F Florida Panthers
Brodin's debut season for the Wild has been excellent. He has taken the tough minutes on a nightly basis as a rookie while skating with Minnesota's $100 million free agent signing, Ryan Suter.
You would think Suter is making Brodin look good, but in fact it has been the other way around. The pairing is a 50% possession duo when together. Without Suter on the ice Brodin is plugging along at 60%. Without Brodin Suter sits around 46%. Outside of the statistical community Brodin is going to get little play, but he is a very legitimate NHLer.
Jack Adams Award - NHL's top coach: Darryl Sutter Los Angeles Kings
Honorable Mentions: Adam Oates Washington Capitals
Joel Quenneville Chicago Blackhawks
The top coach in the NHL generally goes to the coach of the team with the best record in hockey or some team that has risen up out of nowhere. This year it's going to go to Darryl Sutter of the defending champion Kings. When he took over last year he got the Kings to get their shots from closer to the net, and since then they've been among the league's truly elite teams.
James Norris Memorial Trophy NHL's best defenseman: Kris Letang - Pittsburgh Penguins
Honorable Mentions: Dion Phaneuf Toronto Maple Leafs
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Phoenix Coyotes
Kris Letang's time has come. He plays top minutes for the Penguins and does so while producing at a very high rate. He is probably the best defender in the league to have not yet won the Norris. He, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin are the Pittsburgh Penguins. His first Norris this year should begin to give him the notoriety he deserves.
Frank J. Selke Trophy NHL's top defensive forward: Boyd Gordon - Phoenix Coyotes
Honorable Mentions: David Backes St. Louis Blues
Pascal Dupuis Pittsburgh Penguins
The Selke can sometimes turn up some strange candidates. Backes stands a good chance of winning this year, but the underrated Gordon would be a high quality pick. He takes almost three minutes a night of penalty kill duty while seeing crazy difficult even strength minutes. The main difference for me between Gordon and Backes is the penalty killing time. You really can't go wrong with either guy.
Vezina Trophy NHL's top goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky Columbus Blue Jackets
Honorable Mentions: Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers
James Reimer Toronto Maple Leafs
Corey Crawford is going to get a lot of play for for Vezina, but it will be criminal if Bobrovsky doesn't win the award. The Philadelphia Flyers dealt Bobrovsky to the Blue Jackets for a song this past off season. He ended up with almost a .950 even strength save percentage, and carried the otherwise mediocre Columbus club to the brink of the playoffs. Not only has he been the best goalie in the league this year, but...
Hart Memorial Trophy NHL MVP: Sergei Bobrovsky, G Columbus Blue Jackets
Honorable Mentions: Alex Ovechkin, F Washington Capitals
John Tavares, F New York Islanders
An argument can be made for a goalie winning the Hart every year. There are a number of good candidates. You can't go wrong selecting Ovechkin here, but the night in/night out battle Bobrovsky had keeping the mediocre Blue Jackets in the playoff race is too much for me to ignore.
Dallas Stars specific end of season awards are around the corner. In about two months we'll see how close I got to nailing the actual awards. Chances are pretty good that I'll get two at most, but maybe the voters will do something outlandish.
Josh Lile isn't hugely argumentative by nature, but if you'd like to discuss these picks, he'll be glad to spar with you over Twitter at @JoshL1220.
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