Thursday, December 2, 2010

Awards Watch: December

At the beginning of each month, I plan to give a quick rundown of the awards races to date. Here's my take two months into the season.

Hart Trophy:
  1. Sidney Crosby--leads the league in points, continues to have good competition with a solid relative Corsi, takes plenty of shots, etc etc. Moreover, leads the NHL in even strength points by a mile.
  2. Steven Stamkos--he's in a similar boat as Crosby, but gets a bump for his goal scoring and a huge minus for his Corsi and luck in that the Tampa powerplay only scores when he's involved in the goal. Read this for more.
  3. John-Michael Liles--Colorado and Liles sucked in terms of Corsi last season. Well, Liles is playing really well right now, leading all defensemen in points while playing tougher minutes. His Corsi Rel has fallen by about 10 over the last few days, unfortunately, but is still in the black.
  4. Brian Gionta--the newly-minted captain of the Montreal Canadiens faces extremely tough competition with good teammates, but sports a fantastic Corsi Rel. I don't care all that much about his more lackluster point production, especially since his most frequent linemate is Scott Gomez: whether or not you produce points, playing tough competition is a very valuable skill to have.
  5. Dustin Byfuglien--see Liles.

Just missed: Patrick Sharp, Alexander Semin, Tim Connolly (just check this out)

Norris Trophy:
  1. Nicklas Lidstrom--points? Check. Reputation? Check. Play in all situations? Check.
  2. Kris Letang--I originally had him fifth, but this is tough to argue with. Tough competition, outscores competition, out-Corsies competition by quite a bit, plays well on the PP, second in points, etc etc.
  3. John-Michael Liles--Liles gets bumped higher on the Hart list because of the lack of talent on his team (although Milan Hejduk and Chris Stewart are quietly playing very well too).
  4. Dustin Byfuglien--see Liles, and substitute "Tobias Enstrom" for Hejduk and Stewart, and add in that Byfuglien already has four game winning goals.
  5. Jordan Leopold--this last one is tougher to figure out. Plenty of guys have good point and Corsi totals playing good competition with good teammates. Leopold gets a bump because Tyler Myers is thus far having a sophomore slump, it seems, meaning Leopold really has to pick up the slack. And he has.

Just missed: Brent Seabrook, Mike Green, Tobias Enstrom, Lubomir Visnovsky, Ryan Whitney

Vezina Trophy:
  1. Carey Price--This shouldn't be a surprise. Price has been all over the headlines for playing strongly in the midst of a lot of doubt about Montreal's decision to keep him over Jaroslav Halak.
  2. Tim Thomas--this shouldn't be a surprise. Thomas, maybe unfairly, gets docked for Boston trying to start Tuukka Rask quite frequently. Price is the undisputed #1 in Montreal and has been. Thomas' numbers carry less weight without those seven extra games played (22 to 15) that Price has.
  3. Ondrej Pavelec--since his scary moment against Washington earlier this season, he's been stellar. His save percentage is .946, just behind Thomas. He gets docked for not playing as many games, though, just like Thomas.
  4. Sergei Bobrovsky--sorry Bob, I'm just not a believer in you yet. The D corps in front of you has two pairings anchored each by a top-15 defenseman and the third has two of the league leaders in plus-minus, plus the forwards you have are defensively aware, for the most part.
  5. Jonas Gustavsson--he's been hot since overlapping JS Giguere for the #1 job in Toronto. While he doesn't have the wins or the starts, he does have the save percentage, once you overlook that PK save percentage (which you should--Toronto's PK is a putrid 73%, second-to-last).
Just missed: Jonathan Quick, Tomas Vokoun, Cam Ward, Antero Niittymaki, Niklas Backstrom

Selke Trophy:
  1. Brian Gionta--see above
  2. Artem Anisimov--you'll see him playing tough minutes. He was part of NYR's power versus power top line while Gaborik was out, and NYR was winning a lot during that time.
  3. Wayne Simmonds--he plays tough minutes as well. I've only seen him play a couple of times this season though, so I can't enlighten you much. He has good Corsi with tough QoC.
  4. Ryan Callahan/Brandon Dubinsky--It's tough to separate out defensive contributions between players that play a lot, but both these guys are excellent PKers too, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Jochen Hecht--see Simmonds.
Calder Trophy:
  1. Sergei Bobrovsky--see above
  2. Jeff Skinner--highest scoring rookie, and he looks like he really belongs. His skating concerns were way overblown, as was his height. He's the real deal.
  3. Jordan Eberle--I read a piece on Copper and Blue saying that the only way Eberle would be a star in the NHL, given his good-not-great skills and technique, was elite hockey sense. Boy, does he ever have elite hockey sense.
  4. Taylor Hall--Good Corsi, generates chances like he's Alex Ovechkin 05-06 (hyperbolizing, of course, but he's been really good), and really is the only good offensive threat on Edmonton aside from Dustin Penner.
  5. John Carlson--Although his scoring has tailed off, he and Karl Alzner have been stellar for Washington, actually even becoming the shutdown pairing for a few weeks. You really have to watch to understand how good Carlson really is. I'm thinking his upside is Andrei Markov.
Just missed out: Derek Stepan, Logan Couture, Tyler Ennis, Michal Neuvirth, Kevin Shattenkirk

Jack Adams Award:
  1. Guy Boucher (TBL)
  2. Mike Babcock (DET)
  3. Scott Arniel (CBJ)
  4. John Tortorella (NYR)
  5. Jacques Martin (MTL)
Just missed out: Dan Bylsma (PIT), Bruce Boudreau (WSH), Peter Laviolette (PHI), Craig Ramsay (ATL), John Maclean (NJD)

If you didn't say "What???" then read that last "just missed out" again. Yeah, just kidding.

Richard Trophy:
  1. Steven Stamkos--I don't think he's going to win it, frankly. Too much reliance on the power play.
  2. Sidney Crosby
  3. Alexander Semin--he'll fall off eventually. Eventually.
  4. Patrick Sharp
  5. Daniel Sedin/Rick Nash
Art Ross Trophy:
  1. Sidney Crosby
  2. Steven Stamkos
  3. Alex Ovechkin
  4. Alexander Semin
  5. Martin St. Louis

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