16 April 2014

2013-14 NHL Awards

(USA Today)
The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs kick off tonight (see my predictions here), so let's mark the occasion by handing out some hardware. Here are my awards for  the 2013-14 NHL season, just for you and you only.

Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player) - Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
You can use any metric you want but this is an easy choice and perhaps the easiest choice of the awards season. The Penguins lost a number of key guys to injuries all season, leading the league in games lost to injury. Meanwhile, Crosby only missed two games and was utterly brilliant on the ice, the sole player to score more than 100 points.
Runner-Up: Ryan Getzalf, Anaheim Ducks

Norris Trophy (Best all-around defenseman) - Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Zdeno Chara is a yearly contender for this award, but I think Keith is ultimately going to win and I think that he should. Keith's offensive numbers are tremendously tremendous for a defensemen and he played a key role in quarterback the power play and setting up the talented Chicago wings. Plus, he has played a huge part in solidifying a solid defensive unit for a team that could very well win in the Cup.
Runner-Up: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Vezina Trophy (Best goaltender) - Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche
A strong field as always dots the Vezina crop, but I have to give it to the Avs goalie. Nobody has seen anywhere close to the goals Varlamov has seen this year, being the only goalie to see more than 2,000 shots and thus he had over 100 more saves than anybody else. Varlamov led the league in wins and has sterling save percentages of .927 overall and .933 at even strength.
Runner-Up: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

Selke Trophy (Best defensive forward) - Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Does a guy like Bergeron benefit by playing in a strong defensive system as well as a defensive force like Zdeno Chara and an excellent goaltender in Tuukka Rask? Absolutely, but that does not mean Bergeron is not a brilliant defensive forward. He took a significant amount of faceoffs and won a big percentage of them plus he played a key role for an excellent penalty kill unit in Boston.
Runner-Up: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) - Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
This one is easy and everybody knows that MacKinnon is going to win this award and correctly so. All the kid, the youngest kid on the resurgent Avs no less, did tied for the rookie lead in goals, led all rookies in points, and broke a record held by none other than Wayne Gretzky in going on a 13-game point streak for an 18-year-old.
Runner-Up: Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning

Jack Adams Trophy (Coach of the Year) - Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings
This is a tough award to hand out this year because you have three excellent candidates in Babcock, Jon Cooper and Patrick Roy. But while Roy led a young team that was 29th in points a year ago to a division title and did an excellent job, as did Cooper in Tampa turning that franchise around, but both also have the advantages of awesome goaltending (and Colorado has had a strong amount of luck this year). The job Babcock has done getting the Wings back to the playoffs again with all the injuries their top players have suffered, including Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg not playing in March, has been sensational as they had to rely on some talented but untested youngsters.
Runner-Up: Patrick Roy, Colorado Avalanche

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