13 April 2016

2015-16 NHL Awards

(Getty)
The 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs kick off tonight and with that in mind, let's hand out some hardware. Here are my NHL Awards for the season that was 2015-16.

Hart (Most Valuable Player) - Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks (2000 - Pres)Barring something pretty surprising, Kane is going to win this award and frankly, he deserves it. He was the first American ever to win the Art Ross Trophy and he scored 17 more points than anybody else. Even as the Blackhawks have sputtered somewhat since the calendar turned to 2016, Kane has been consistently brilliant all year long. You could make a case that if you subtract him from the mix, the Hawks may not have made the playoffs.
Runner-up - Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

Vezina (Top goaltender) - Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals (2008 - Pres)You could make legitimate cases for a number of guys like Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop, New York's Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago's Corey Crawford and any of them could end up winning the award. And I know that some folks may shy away from Holtby considering that he was as good the past couple of months as he was earlier in the season. But for facing the sixth most shots in the league, his .922 save percentage is very impressive as is his record 48 wins.
Runner-up - Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

Norris (Top defenseman) - Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators (2012 - Pres)Who knows how bad the Senators would have been this season without Karlsson. Karlsson, who has been getting some MVP buzz despite playing for a team that missed the playoffs. He gets unfairly labeled as exclusively an offensive player when he is better on that end than he often gets credit for. But mince no words about it, the reason why Karlsson wins this award is due to his strong offensive output. He is the first defenseman to finish in the top five in scoring since Paul Coffey in 1986 and the first defenseman to lead the league in assists since Bobby Orr in 1975.
Runner-up - Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

Calder (Rookie of the Year) - Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers (1974 - 1979)I know that it is hard to discount the fact that McDavid barely played in more than half of his team's games but if you had to tell me who the best rookie was this season regardless of that, I find it hard to believe that your answer wouldn't be McDavid. There were only two guys to best his points per game total than McDavid's 1.07 and they were the aforementioned Kane and Jamie Benn. Artemi Panarin and Shayne Gostisbehere are solid candidates in their own rights but in a vaccuum, McDavid should be the winner.
Runner-up - Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks

Washington Capitals (2008 - Pres)Jack Adams (Coach of the Year) - Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals
You know, it wasn't that long ago that the Capitals were either an offensive team with minimal defense, or a defensive club with minimal offense but in only his second year as coach of the Caps, Trotz has fused the two. Washington had 11 more points than anybody else this season, even with a bit of a stumble down the stretch.
Runner-up - Dave Hakstol, Philadelphia Flyers

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