The NHL regular season has come to an end, and the qualifying round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to begin on July 30th. A few NHL award winners are already known with the conclusion of the season.
The Boston Bruins won the President’s Trophy with an even 100 points at the stoppage (.714 point percentage). Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak will share the Rocket Richard Trophy with 48 total goals each. Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers won the Art Ross Trophy by tallying 110 points. So, what about the rest of the awards?
Hart Memorial Trophy
The Hart Trophy is the NHL Most Valuable Player Award. The Hart Trophy has been awarded 92 times to 56 different players. Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote to determine who wins the award.
1. Leon Draisaitl – Edmonton Oilers – Draisaitl was the best player in the NHL this season. He put up 110 points in the shortened season and was on pace for 127 points in a full 82 game season. Draisaitl was the only player to tally over 100 points this year. Even when Connor McDavid was out of the Edmonton lineup, Draisaitl continued to produce at a normal and even somewhat accelerated pace over McDavid’s absence.
2. Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche – MacKinnon is part of the deadly first line in Colorado. He had to overcome injuries to both his line mates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen and still produced at an MVP level. MacKinnon led Colorado in points with 93, which was 43 more than any of his other teammates. One can make the argument that MacKinnon had single-handedly put the Avalanche in a position to win it all.
3. Artemi Panarin – New York Rangers – Panarin has turned out to be the best signing of this past summer, as he put up a career high 95 points in 69 games. The Bread Man had more assists and points per game with 1,000-plus minutes played at even strength than any other qualifying player. Panarin, along with teammate Mika Zibanejad, have propelled the Rangers into 11th in the east and have given New York tons of momentum going into the playoffs.
Projected Hart Winner: Leon Draisaitl
Norris Memorial Trophy
The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded to the NHL’s best all-around defenseman. The Norris Trophy has been awarded 61 times to 26 different players. Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote to determine who wins this award.
1. John Carlson – Washington Capitals – Carlson was the favorite to win the Norris at the start of the season in October and nothing has changed since then. All though he has since regressed from the insane 100-point pace he was on during the first two months of the year, Carlson was still looking to eclipse the 90-point mark in a full season. This would have been the most since Ray Bourque put up 91 points in 1993-94. Along with being an offensive weapon, Carlson is also the Capitals’ best defender.
2. Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning – Hedman had yet another strong defensive season which was overlooked because of the consistency he brings to the blue line. Along with the solid defensive campaign that included 73 hits and 98 shot blocks, Hedman put up 55 points in the offensive end. Tampa’s number one defenseman might just be the most consistent in the NHL.
3. Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues – Pietrangelo was instrumental in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run in 2019 and continued his success into 2020. He was on pace to shatter his career high in points and finished the year with 16 goals and 52 points. In a contract year, Pietrangelo not only produced offensively, but made good on his role as a shutdown defender.
Projected Norris Winer: John Carlson
The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the regular season’s best goaltender. The award was handed out for the first time following the 1926-27 season and is named after late Canadians’ goaltender Georges Vezina. The 31 NHL General Managers vote to determine the Vezina winner.
1. Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg Jets – Hellebuyck is a dying breed in the NHL; a workhorse goalie. Hellebuyck played in 58 out of 71 games for the Jets this season. With 31 wins and a goals against average of 2.57, Hellebuyck showed he is more than worthy of being named the NHL’s best goalie. In addition to his already impressive numbers, the Winnipeg goalie posted a league high six shutouts.
2. Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins – Rask is one of the most consistent goalies in the NHL. At first glance, Rask’s number appear better than Hellebuyck’s, but it must be remembered that Rask has a much better defense in front of him. With this in mind, and the fact that Rask had an easier workload because of backup Jaroslav Halak’s playing time, Rask had an “easier” year than Hellebuyck.
3. Darcy Kuemper – Arizona Coyotes – Kuemper was sensational before a knee injury caused him to miss time in the middle of the year. Upon returning from said injury in March, Kuemper picked up where he left off. His injury and the fact that backup Antti Raanta played well in Kuemper’s absence are the only two things keeping the Arizona goalie from taking home the hardware.
Projected Vezina Winner: Connor Hellebuyck
Calder Memorial Trophy
The Calder Trophy is awarded to the NHL’s rookie of the year. This trophy has been awarded since the 1936-37 season, and the winner is voted on by the National Hockey Writers’ Association.
1. Quinn Hughes – Vancouver Canucks – Hughes is one of only two rookie defensemen to hit the 50-point mark since 1993. Hughes tallied 8 goals and 45 assists for a grand total of 53 points this year but ended as a -10. In a normal year, Hughes is a lock to win the Calder…
2. Cale Makar – Colorado Avalanche – …but Cale Makar was also a rookie this season. Makar joins Hughes as one of the only two rookie defensemen to hit the 50-point mark. Makar found the back of the net 12 times and assisted on another 38 goals for a total of 50 points and ended the year as a +12. The margin between these two young stud defensemen is razor thin.
3. Dominik Kubalik – Chicago Blackhawks – If there is a winner out of left field, it would be Kubalik. He scored 30 times this season and assisted on 16 other goals for the Hawks. Among qualified forwards, Kubalik was first in goals per game in even strength situations and had the fourth highest shooting percentage in the NHL.
Projected Calder Winner: Cale Makar
Jack Adams Award
The Jack Adams Award is given to the NHL’s coach of the year. The winner is not necessarily the league’s best coach, but the one who either exceeded expectations for his team, or overcame many hurdles to keep his team in a good position.
1. Mike Sullivan – Pittsburgh Penguins – The Penguins have only played 40 minutes with a completely healthy team this season, yet they still played well enough to get the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference. Every single player on Pittsburgh’s top 3 lines and top 2 defensive pairs has missed time this year, yet Sullivan has been able to juggle his lines and make plug-and-play replacements work as great temporary fixes.
2. Alain Vigneault – Philadelphia Flyers – Vigneault turned one of the worst defensive teams in the Eastern Conference into a brick wall on the backend. It does help that young goalie Carter Hart found himself this season, but not without Vigneault’s guidance. The improved Flyer defense also led to an uptick in scoring that propelled Philly into a first round bye and made them a formidable playoff opponent.
3. John Tortorella – Columbus Blue Jackets – The Jackets lost Hart Trophy candidate Artemi Panarin, starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, and first-liner Matt Duchene in the offseason. On top of all those losses, the Jackets led the league in man games lost this season. Tortorella and his “rag-tag” crew found ways to win this year time after time and pushed themselves into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference at the time of the stoppage.
Projected Jack Adams Winner: Alani Vigneault
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