Skood Sports’ Picks the Top NHL Awards

Posted: April 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

nhl awards

Hart Memorial Trophy

The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player judged to be most valuable to his team over the course of the regular season.

claudegiroux

1. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
3. Patrice Bergeron, Boston
4. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim

Yes, Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world. He’s also enjoying the best statistical season of anyone in the NHL. However, the Hart Trophy is not an award given to the player with the most points. Instead, it’s bestowed to the man judged to be the player most invaluable to his team. Without Claude Giroux, it’s not only unlikely that Philadelphia is a playoff team. But, the Flyers are probably one of the five worst teams in the Eastern Conference without their captain.

After a dismal start to his season (4 goals in his first 26 games), Giroux erupted right around the same time that he predicted that Philadelphia would still make the playoffs despite their 1-7 start. “Captain Clutch” scored 7 game winning goals this season. Crosby notched only 5. Keep in mind that the latter also missed major time due to injury in 2011 and 2012, and Pittsburgh still managed to finish near the top of the Eastern Conference in both seasons. Any of the four players listed would be deserving of this honor. But, Giroux is the player that his team could least afford to lose.

Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goalkeeper during the regular season.

rask

1. Tuukka Rask, Boston
2. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay
3. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado
4. Carey Price, Montreal

Rask, Bishop, and Varlamov all have serious claims to the Vezina Trophy this season. The Bruins’ netminder is the man between the pipes on the best team in hockey. He leads the league in shutouts, ranks fifth in goals against, and places third in save percentage. Some would argue that he benefits from Claude Julien’s defensive system. But, none of the goalies in consideration for this award suffer from porous defensive systems or corps.

James Norris Memorial Trophy

The Norris Trophy is awarded to the best defenseman during the regular season.

sheaweber

1. Shea Weber, Nashville
2. Duncan Keith, Chicago
3. Ryan Suter, Minnesota
4. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay

Weber seems to be considered an also-ran by most prognosticators, and might not even be a nominee once they’re announced next week. But, the fact of the matter is that Weber is the only legitimate star in Nashville. His 21 goals leads the league amongst defenseman, and his defensive skills are as refined as ever. Keith may lead the league in points among blue liners. But, he benefits from playing on a team with numerous prolific scoring forwards. Keith, after all, has just 6 goals to go along with a staggering 55 assists. Either player would be a solid selection. But, Weber’s role in Nashville is much more crucial than Keith’s in Chicago.

Jack Adams Award

The Jack Adams Award is awarded to the best coach during the regular season.

patrickroy

1. Patrick Roy, Colorado
2. Claude Julien, Boston
3. Craig Berube, Philadelphia
4. Mike Babcock, Detroit

When Patrick Roy was traded to the Avalanche from Montreal in 1995, he immediately turned a franchise formerly known as the Quebec Nordiques into a Rocky Mountain sensation. The Avs’ would go on to win the Stanley Cup that season, eventually winning another in 2001 with Roy between the pipes. Now, in his first season at the helm back in Denver, Roy has led the Avalanche from one of the worst records in the NHL to the postseason. That fact alone is enough to earn him this honor, despite spirited competition from the other candidates on this list.

Calder Memorial Trophy

The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player enjoying the best regular season during his first NHL campaign (Rookie of the Year).

mackinnon

1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado
2. Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay
3. Torey Krug, Boston
4. Olli Maata, Pittsburgh

This is probably the least arguable award at this point. Nathan MacKinnon has emerged as a force during his first NHL campaign. Selected by the Avalanche just 10 months ago in the NHL Draft, MacKinnon has proven his worth to one of the most impressive teams in the league. His 24 goals leads the league amongst rookies, as does his spectacular +24 rating. Palat has put up the points in Tampa. But, he comes nowhere near touching MacKinnon for this honor.

Frank J. Selke Trophy

The Selke Trophy is awarded to the forward who excels best in the defensive aspects of the game.

berg

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston
2. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles
3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago
4. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado

This is another no-brainer. Yes, Kopitar and Toews are phenomenal players. But, Patrice Bergeron represents a defenseman in a forwards body. His staggering +37 rating is all the more impressive when one considers how often Boston plays him against the opponent’s top line and on the penalty kill. Without Bergeron, the Bruins would still be a playoff team. But, they’d be nowhere near as dominant a force as they’ve become. In a league where defense is becoming more of an afterthought amongst forwards, Bergeron represents a flash back to the old days, where stars were counted on to be the best player on the ice in every facet and every situation of each game.

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