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WCS NHL Awards

 

The NHL Awards Finalists accoring to me:

Jack Adams Trophy: Coach of the Year

Ken Hitchcock St. Louis Blues

John Tortarella New York Rangers

Kevin Dineen Florida Panthers

I think these three coaches are the only real contenders this season.  Dineen did a marvelous job down in Florida.  The Panthers are in the playoffs for the first time since the NHL work stoppaged and did it with a roster full of castoffs.  Tortarella is a firery m-effer and no team personifies their coach more than the Rangers.  They had a great season playing physical. smart, defensee -first  hockey.  Coach of the year has to be Ken Hitchcock though.  Took over early in the season when the Blues were dead in the water and seemed to instantly turn them into a Presidents Trophy contender.

Calder Trophy: Rookie of the Year

Gabriel Landeskog Colorado Avalanche

Adam Henrique New Jersey Devils

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Edmonton Oilers

Landeskog was deemed the “most NHL-ready” heading into last year’s draft, and that proved to be true.  Power forwards, especially foreign born powerforwards, tend to take longer to develope.  However, Landeskog was an impact player from the Avalanche from day one.  Nugent-Hopkins and Henrique also had great seasons.  I didn’t think that RNH would even make the Oilers given his small frame, but he thinks the game at an exceptional level.  Definitely worthy of the first overall pick, but not taking home the Calder.  That goes to Landeskog.

Norris Trophy: Top NHL Defenseman

Shea Weber Nashville Predators

Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators

Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins

A legitimate argument can be made for any of these three players, but in the end I am giving it to Weber.  I think he has the most complete game of the three.  Karlsson probably wins one of these eventually.  Super dynamic, but needs to tighten up his game in his own end.  I am not a proponent of giving these awards strictly to offensive players.

Selke Trophy: Best Defensive Forward

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins

David Backes St. Louis Blues

Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings

I know most experts don’t have Datsyuk as a finalist for the Selke this year, but I don’t care.  Nobody is more dangerous when the other team has the puck.  However, because he missed a 12 games this year and his numbers don’t quite stack up I can’t give him the award this year.  Backes is a finalist for the first time in his career he was the catalyst for the Blues in the Ken Hitchcock system.  Big, physical, nasty, he is everything you could ever want in a shut-down center.  However, this is Bergeron’s year.  Kills penalties, wins face-offs, plays the shutdown role and leads the NHL in +/-. It’s his year to win it. Toews next year.

Vezina Trophy: Most Outstanding Goaltender

Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings

Mike Smith Phoenix Coyotes

Hank Lundqvist New York Rangers

Leave the Jennings Trophy(fewest goals against) for the Blues’ goalies Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak.  If I can’t determine who is the best on your own team then I certainly can’t put you in the top 3 no matter how great their numbers are.  Same goes for Luongo and Schneider up in Vancouver.  All three of these guys should get some Hart Trophy consideration too.  Quick is the only reason the Kings aren’t in the lottery and Mike Smith finally became the goalie everyone thought he would be.  Both great stories.  Hank is Hank.  He is probably the best, but he is also playing on the best team of the three guys listed.  I am going with Quick who is now probably the front runner to start in net for Team USA at the 2014 Olympics.

Hart Trophy: MVP

Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins

Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers

Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators

Tremendous year for Karlsson.  Being a finalist for the two biggest awards is quite the honor.  There is simply no way the Sens sniff the playoffs without Karlsson jump starting their offense from the back end.  That is why he is on the short list for the Hart.  Giroux gets consideration because the Flyers blew up their entire team and rebuilt it around him.  Giroux responded big time.  93 points in 77 games while becoming a team leader.  Nobody comes close to Geno Malkin though.  Easily the most dominant offensive player in the game and did it for most of the year without Sid Crosby sharing the load.  It’s Geno all the way for this awar. (NOTE: I am sure that Stamkos will be a finalist, but I don’t like giving out MVPs to guys on 10th place teams.

 

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