Hello all! As this is the last day of the season, it's about time to think about the end of the year awards. Now I've already thought about the Masterton trophy. I did so here. Now I have better lists and the season is (pretty much) over (I'm writing this in between NBC's 3rd and 4th games). Obviously, if you need a refresher on what each trophy is, take a look here. I obviously won't list the awards which are statistical, because they really aren't up for a vote. Now, on to the awards.
Hart Trophy- Evgeni Malkin, Penguins. This isn't really even up for debate. He has single-handedly kept the Penguins in contention for the Atlantic division while Sidney Crosby was out, along with Jordan Staal, who was hurt for a large portion of the year as well.
Lady Byng Trophy- Kyle Wellwood, Jets. While the Cooke for Lady Byng drive probably won't pan out, he does deserve recognition (and a Masterton nomination) for turning his game around from goonishness to good play. Kyle Wellwood has been one of the top scorers for the Jets with only 4 PIMs all year. That's pretty good.
Veznia Trophy- Pekka Rinne, Predators. I admit, I've been on the Rinne for Veznia bandwagon for multiple years. But that's part of it. He has been a dominant goaltender his entire career, each and every game he plays, he does well. There are other legitimate candidates, like Henrik Lundquist in New York (also a very dependable goaltender) and Jonathan Quick in LA (another one who has been good multiple years), but I think it's Rinne's time.
Calder Trophy- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers. Obviously you expect the number 1 pick to be good, but RNH has been very good, albeit for a bad team. I'm a little surprised Andrew Shaw (from the Blackhawks) isn't being mentioned. He didn't start the year in Chicago, but he has really played well, especially for a smaller guy.
Norris Trophy- Shea Weber, Predators. I think Weber is one of the best all around defensemen in the NHL. He plays well in his own zone (better than other likely candidates like Erik Karlsson) and has one of the best shots in the league. It depends on whether the voters decide to go with a more offensive defenseman or a defensive defenseman.
Masterton Trophy- Max Pacioretty, Canadiens. There are many good candidates (Mike Smith in Phoenix, the aforementioned Matt Cooke, Brian Elliot, Manny Malhotra), none have come from such a low low to a high high. After suffering a massive injury which broke one of his vertebrae, and came back to having his best year, posting his first 30 goal season EVER. Very few players could ever say that.
Selke Trophy- Patrice Bergeron, Bruins. The NHL's Plus/Minus leader, and a pretty good scorer, with over 60 points. Admittedly, there are multiple Bruins forwards you could plug in here, as the top 5 leaders in the plus/minus category play in Boston (though Zdeno Chara is number 3).
Jack Adams Trophy- Ken Hitchcock, Blues. An absolute no brainer. He took a team that wasn't good last year (10th in the West) and was only 6-7 when Davis Payne was replaced to a contender for the the number 1 seed in the West. He had a good system for the players on the roster, and the players bought into it. He's showing why he's been coaching almost nonstop since 1995.
GM of the Year- Dale Tallon, Panthers. Well, he built a team that went from 15th in the East to the 3rd seed in the playoffs, and he did it really without any superstars (unless you count guys like Kris Versteeg or Brian Campbell to be superstars). Yes he got some surprising performances, like Washington's apathy and Jose Theodore's resurgence, but he still built a team that could win and ended the longest postseason drought in the league.
There's a few I didn't do, but this is a pretty decent list.
If you have any thoughts, please put them in the comments.