Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Hockey Spy's NHL Awards Choices and New Trophies Revealed!

With the quest for Lord Stanley just underway, I thought it appropriate to look (revisited from my March article) at the leading candidates for select trophies, along with trophies I feel should be added to the mix to honour not only current players, but legends of the past as well.

The NHL actually just announced in March the Awards show is heading to Vegas - on a three year deal starting this year on June 18, with the post-season gala taking place at the Palms Hotel.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated, "Las Vegas specializes in shining the spotlight on outstanding performers. Its innate energy offers an exciting setting for our celebration of excellence."

Current Awards (Top 3 candidates and The Hockey Spy's current choice)

Art Ross: Malkin, Ovechkin, Crosby
Winner = Malkin

Rocket Richard: Ovechkin, Carter, Parise
Winner = Ovechkin

Hart Trophy: Malkin, Ovechkin, Parise (Was the 1st NHLer this year to 40G-40A this season was also +30)
Projected Winner = Parise

Vezina: Tim Thomas, Steve Mason, Niklas Backstrom
Projected Winner = Steve Mason - put Chara and Wideman in front of this guy and his GAA would be <1.80 and he'd have 15 shutouts at this point. Mason makes the Blue Jackets a very dangerous playoff team.

Calder: Steve Mason, Bobby Ryan, Pekka Rinne
Projected Winner = Steve Mason - should be 1st guy since Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour to win Vezina & Calder in same season.

Selke: Datsyuk, Mike Richards, Mikko Koivu
Projected Winner = Mike Richards

Lady Bying: Pavel Datsyuk, Patrick Marleau, Dennis Wideman (like to see a d-man win this award)
Projected Winner = Patrick Marleau - to break Datsyuk's 3-yr hold

Jack Adams: Claude Julien, Joel Quenneville, Brent Sutter
Projected Winner = Claude Julien

Masterton: Phil Kessel, Craig Conroy, Rod Brind'Amour
Projected Winner = Phil Kessel - battled cancer and has had a major breakthrough offensive year proving naysayers wrong about his attitude and his zest for the game. Conroy is my darkhorse, taking less money to stay with the Flames.

Lester B. Pearson: Ovechkin, Steve Mason, Malkin
Projected Winner = Ovechkin

Norris: Mike Green, Niklas Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara
Projected Winner = Mike Green

The Hockey Spy's Proposed Awards:
Bobby Orr Trophy (Replace Norris Trophy, but find another way for the NHL to honour James Norris):
Projected Winner = Mike Green

Rod Langway Trophy
(Best Defensive D-man - see Mirtle's interesting post for a stat-based analysis of this suggested award): Duncan Keith, Paul Martin, Nik Lidstrom
Projected Winner = Keith

Wayne Gretzky Trophy (Most Assists Per Game with >70% games played): Malkin, Crosby, Datsyuk
Projected Winner = Malkin

Mario Lemieux Trophy
(Most Creative Offensive Player - as voted by NHL peers, weighted on goalie and d-man picks): Malkin, Datsyuk, Crosby
Projected Winner = Datsyuk (Malkin could easily take it home and appropriate since, of course, he's a Penguin).

Mark Messier Trophy
(Most Effective Leader/Captain): Iginla, Mike Richards, Niklas Lidstrom
Projected Winner = Iginla

Sam Pollock Trophy (Best GM)
: Peter Chiarelli - Boston, Darryl Sutter - Calgary, Lou Lamoriello - New Jersey
Projected Winner = Chiarelli - Boston. Ken Holland of Detroit could probably win this award every year and would likely win this award in reality. I'm basing candidates on what they've done this year and more recently to shape current team. Chiarelli is deserving on multiple levels. Firstly, the signing of Chara and Savard a couple years back now look brilliant indeed, along with off-season signing of former Coyotes draftee Blake Wheeler. Secondly, drafting gems beyond the 1st round: Bergeron, Krejci and Lucic are all major contributors. Thirdly and lastly, even without blockbuster trades the Bruins have made very effective trades which shape the current team. Dennis Wideman for Brad Boyes has worked out for both teams, but Wideman emergence this year as an elite d-man gives Beantown the nod in this one. Bringing in Recchi and Montador at the trade deadline were not the blockbusters trade rumour generators alike were predicting, but should prove effective for the stretch run and post-season. Maybe the best decision by Chiarelli was a NON-move at the trade deadline. Not giving up Phil Kessel for Pronger was the right move!

Post your comments and award winners below!


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