Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Awards Watch: Pre-Season

With most rosters final or close to final, here's how I see the races. This is basically anybody I feel might deserve the award or would ride to contention based on reputation (or both). Sorry if I missed your favorite player.

Hart Trophy

Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Steven Stamkos

"Needs some help"
Sidney Crosby: he needs to get healthy
Evgeni Malkin: the longer Crosby out, the more opportunity he has
Marc-Andre Fleury: since the media thinks the Penguins are talent-less aside from Sid and Geno
Carey Price: few in the MSM appreciates the talent Price plays behind, so Price can take credit
Ryan Miller: the American media has a collective boner when he steps on the ice
Jonathan Toews: got some favorable bounces last season; can that continue?

"Should be in there, but won't get enough credit"
Eric Staal: a great power versus power outscoring center without much two-way help on his wings
Jonas Hiller: the Ducks have a top line, a second line, a top four, and a bunch of AHLers players.
Ryan Getzlaf: great per-game stats, but of course will be in Corey Perry's shadow
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg: there are no better options to throw out there against the other team's top line. And putting up above average first-line counting stats? These guys are amazing.

Corey Perry is so special he gets his own category. I don't think Perry is going to score 50 goals next season, and I'd be surprised if he hits 40.

Ok, maybe Thomas gets in there too. I would've given him my Hart vote five months ago, but I highly doubt either he or Rask can put up that sort of season anytime in the future. It's just that Thomas' season was underrated to begin with. He didn't win the Hart in his historic season, so I don't see him as a real contender.

Norris Trophy
Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom, Duncan Keith, Mike Green, Drew Doughty

"Needs some help"
Mark Streit: health
Andrei Markov: health
Lubomir Visnovsky: did you see last season? He needs that much help again
Kris Letang: needs some oh-fense in front of him

"Should be in there, but won't get enough credit"
Ryan Suter: I think he's better than Weber, but the physical presence overshadows
Matt Carle: he was more effective without Pronger than with him and led NHL D in ESP
Dan Boyle: who in the East realizes who the shutdown pair in San Jose is? Boyle gets little credit.
Victor Hedman: he's grown very quickly so far, so this type of season wouldn't surprise me.

The voters aren't actually that terrible here. I think Pronger is in decline more than people realize, though, but small sample caveats on that. I'm not sure Brent Burns is in for a Norris-worthy season like people seem to think he is, either, considering he's still behind Boyle offensively and won't take toughs like Boyle and Murray, either. Ditto with Ehrhoff.

Vezina Trophy

Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne

"Needs some help"
Carey Price: some good luck, and his hype will carry him a long way
Antti Niemi: see Price
Tim Thomas: he'd better hope he can hold up and that Tuukka Rask doesn't catch him
Semyon Varlamov: a lot of good luck and he'll put up those stellar numbers in more GP.

"Should be in there, but won't get enough credit"
I'd pick Jonas Hiller over any other guy in this section. And Vokoun, since his success will be attributed to the Capitals' great defense...wait, what?

Miikka Kiprusoff has been declining for awhile.

Selke Trophy

Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Jordan Staal

"Needs some help"
Henrik Zetterberg--Datsyuk's shadow is big
Marian Hossa--he needs to bounce back in a big way
Jonathan Toews--needs some good luck so his counting stats are elite again

"Should be in there, but won't get enough credit"
Anze Kopitar--not with Richards there, too
Ryan Callahan--seriously, he's really good. Just no elite numbers
Frans Nielsen--see Callahan.
Jay McClement: what does it mean when I began typing in "McClement" instead of "Selke?"
Joel Ward--see Callahan
Eric Staal--no one watches the Hurricanes, so no one realizes that Staal plays top lines
Tomas Plekanec--no Americans watch the Canadiens, so they don't realize how good Pleks is
David Legwand--see E. Staal, but substitute "Predators" for "Hurricanes"
David Backes--see Legwand, but with "Blues"
Manny Malhotra--see Backes. LeBrun was the only guy with Malhotra over Kesler on his Selke ballot.

There are a lot of underrated defensive forwards. It's tough to know who is actually the best, because they all seem to have help--Datsyuk/Zetterberg Lidstrom, Toews/Hossa Keith, Kopitar Doughty, etc.

At least they pick guys who are great defensively. I'd put Kesler here, though, because he likely won't have a really high qualcomp this season.

Calder Trophy

Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brayden Schenn, some random goalie

"Needs some help"
David Rundblad--needs some offense in front of him
Ryan Ellis--needs to prove that he doesn't need to develop as slowly as Weber or Suter
Nino Niederreiter--currently doesn't have a spot in the Isles' top-six
Zac Dalpe--he's more of a two-way forward, but needs to put up big numbers to get attention
Andrei Loktionov--see Niederreiter, but for the Kings, not Islanders
Sean Couturier--he needs to get ahead of all the Flyers' talented incumbents for offensive ice time

"Should be in there, but won't get enough credit"
Tim Erixon--defensive maturity...but he should get out of the AHL first
Erik Gudbranson--I have a feeling he'll have a good year, but he's already prowled off the radar.

Can't think of anybody here

Jack Adams Award


"Needs some help"

"Should be in there, but won't get enough credit"

None. It's an open field, as always

Richard Trophy

Alex Ovechkin, Daniel Sedin, Steven Stamkos

"Needs some help"
Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby

Corey Perry, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Kesler

Art Ross Trophy

Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Steven Stamkos

"Needs some help"
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Martin St. Louis, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Toews

Corey Perry

1 comment:

  1. This post is two weeks old nearly, but I am curious why you think Jonathan Toews was lucky last year.