Having recently posted my top-10 teams headed into the 2013 NHL season, I figured I’d get a little bolder and attempt to pick who I think will be bringing home some hardware at the end of the season. I don’t mean the Stanley Cup or Conn Smythe, I’m talking about the NHL’s regular season awards.
The awards are in no particular order and I’m only doing the ones that I feel to be the “major” awards.
Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP) – This is always a tough trophy to judge and I know I just got started with this list but I’m going to cop out early on this one. My pick will be Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I know, really breaking the mold with this pick. Just, I feel the Penguins will finish as one of the top-2 teams in the league and in my opinion Crosby is the best player on the team when healthy so he gets the MVP. Shotty logic I know but we’re just getting warmed up.
Art Ross Trophy (Most points by a player) – Another tough trophy to call as there are about 10 guys that could finish atop this list. I’ll go with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last year Stamkos showed us he is an elite scorer by being the only player in the league to reach the 60-goal mark. Stamkos has never recorded less than 90 points in his brief 3-year NHL career and I think this year he finishes with the most in the league. Stamkos is also my pick to win the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy (most goals).
James Norris Memorial Trophy (Best defenseman) – As someone who has played defense his entire life, I wasn’t really a fan of Erik Karlsson winning this award last year. There is no denying his talent and numbers but to me he wasn’t a complete defenseman, more like a fifth forward that could hold his own in the defensive end but not dominate. He also didn’t spend much time on the Ottawa Senators PK unit. That said, I feel teams will game-plan around Karlsson this year with the Senators complete lack of depth and talent on defense leaving the door open for someone else to win the award. My pick to do just that is the Nashville Predator’s Shea Weber. In my opinion he is the best all-around d-man in the league and will show everyone that this season, without Ryan Suter.
Vezina Award (Best goaltender) – This pick is the only one that seems kind of easy for me which means I’ll probably end up being way off. I choose Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers. King Lunqvist is a wall in net as well as a workhorse, a shortened season shouldn’t be a challenge for this guy. Not to mention the Rangers, who finished 1st in the Eastern Conference last year, actually got better (on paper anyways) and Lundqvist should reap the benefits. He is always in the conversation as the league’s best goaltender and this year shouldn’t be any different.
Calder Memorial Trophy (Best rookie player) – Most people have already given this award to the Edmonton Oilers Justin Schultz. I’m going to branch out a bit and go with Todd Cordell of HockeyBuzz.com and go with the Minnesota Wild’s Mikael Granlund. Like Cordell himself states (a bit more eloquently than me), the kid will get top-6 minutes in Minnesota with a lot of talent around him and he should be able to take full advantage as Granlund is very talented himself. Keep an eye on Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues as he is a very strong candidate as well.
Frank J. Selke Award (Best defensive forward) – Commonly referred to as the “Pavel Datsyuk” award, but I think the man who won it last season will win it again, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. Bergeron does it all for the Bruins and at both ends of the ice. I was happy to see him finally recognized for his efforts last season. He is an unsung hero and definitely someone who does all the little things right. If he doesn’t win, I think it’s safe to say he probably fell short to Datsyuk, again.
Jack Adams Award (Best coach) – This award I’m going with Cordell again and will select Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. With the losses of Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom, many have begun counting the Red Wings out. Why? I don’t know, as long as I’ve been alive they’ve found a way it done and will once again find a way. They could finish in the top-5 in the Western Conference and Babcock will get the award for “surprising everyone”.
There you have it! As always feel free to share your comments and opinions below, I love to see what other fans from around the world are thinking and how they view certain players. So please feel free to disagree and share your disagreements. I can’t wait to see the size of the crow I’ll be eating at the end of the season!