Monday, April 29, 2013

Awards picks

Hart Trophy 
Will win: Crosby
Should win: Crosby
My other finalists: Bobrovsky, Ovechkin 

  • Sidney Crosby
    • For: he finished near the top of the scoring leaderboard (only being overtaken in the final week of the season), he was a dominant possession player (so he had significant defensive value, via "offense is the best defense"), and raised the games of linemates Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis.
    • Against: the Penguins barely missed a beat without him, in terms of record. He got almost 75% of his points via assists.
    • My take: think about it--do you actually think the Penguins are a better team without Crosby? Even if they're fine for 12 games, doesn't mean they'd be fine over the other 36--teams would adjust. Almost all of his helpers were primaries.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky
    • For--he almost carried Columbus to the playoffs. Sported a .930+ save percentage.
    • Against--Columbus didn't make the playoffs.
    • My take--he put up a great save percentage behind a poor defense (although Columbus wasn't as bad as in years past). .930+ seasons aren't common--we've been spoiled by Thomas/Rinne/Quick/Lundqvist. He should be a finalist.
  • Antti Niemi
    • For--the Sharks forgot how to score after the second week of the season, but Niemi stepped in with the best season of this career, and was also very good in helping the Sharks register six shootout wins. (You may not want to value them very much, but they do count in the standings.)
    • Against--He was great, not amazing. San Jose helped him out a lot with their strong possession game.
    • My take--He didn't go .930+ like Bobrovsky and didn't face all that much rubber. He's a little down the list for me.
  • Jonathan Toews
    • For--leadership, intangibles, team won President's Trophy, finished 13th in scoring with a +28, tied for NHL lead in ES goals.
    • Against--finished 13th in scoring.
    • My take--he's being outscored by one of his teammates. Shouldn't that disqualify him?
  • Patrick Kane
    • For--Team won President's Trophy, finished 5th in scoring
    • Against--Party animal.
    • My take--a teammate was better this year. Shouldn't that disqualify him?
  • Martin St. Louis
    • For--won the Art Ross Trophy
    • Against--Tampa was awful. Plays with Steven Stamkos.
    • My take--I don't understand why St. Louis should be docked for how good Tampa is when he's not on the ice--something completely out of his control. If we do, then the Hart Trophy is not truly an individual award. Anyway, I think Stamkos and MSL help each other out a lot, and should be docked accordingly.
  • Steven Stamkos
    • For--finished near the top of the scoring race. Scored a lot of goals.
    • Against--didn't win the Richard or Ross. Plays with MSL.
    • My take--I think he should have gotten stronger consideration last year (60 goals in this age is top-10 all-time, era-adjusted). But he wasn't on the same torrid pace this year.
  • PK Subban
    • For--led all D in scoring.
    • Against--"Is an offensive defenseman," didn't play as much as other top D.
    • My take--he was great, but not special enough to warrant Hart consideration, I think.
  • John Tavares
    • For--supposedly carried the Islanders to the playoffs. Finished 3rd in goals.
    • Against--finished 17th in scoring.
    • My take--Matt Moulson and the rest of the Islanders get too little credit. (Just like the Caps back when people thought they were a one-man team despite having four point-per-game players two years in a row.)
  • Alex Ovechkin
    • For--led league in goals, power play goals, and shots. Finished near the top of the scoring leaderboard. His race up the goals leaders coincided with the Caps' rise into the playoff picture.
    • Against--there were other significant factors in the Caps' climb up the standings--puck luck, a collapse by Carolina, and Braden Holtby being a ~.930 goalie for a few weeks. Also only seem rejuvenated once reunited with Backstrom.
    • My take--He relied a little too much on the PP (and passes from Backstrom and Ribeiro) for my liking. He's back to being a good ES player, but he's not dominant quite yet. That's one of my prerequisites (for skaters) for winning the Hart.
Norris Trophy
Who should win: Subban
Who will win: Subban
My other finalists: Suter, Letang
  • PK Subban
    • For--led D in scoring despite missing some time early on.
    • Against--he relied quite a bit on the PP for scoring, and his TOI average is low for a Norris winner. Also is a punk for RFA holdout (and just in general)
    • My take--Every voter that says Subban is an offensive defenseman (in a way that implies he's poor defensively) should have their PHWA membership revoked immediately.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson
    • For--quietly got great results against top lines, finished just 2 points of out T-3rd in ES scoring (but actually finished 17th--they're tightly bunched), fits mold of underrated smooth-skating Swedish D
    • Against--wasn't amazing offensively.
    • My take--He'll get at least one. Not this year, though.
  • Kris Letang
    • For--only D to score at a point-per-game rate, and did almost all of that at ES, too.
    • Against--a lot of that was no doubt thanks to Crosby.
    • My take--Crosby is really good.
  • Ryan Suter 
    • For--finished 2nd in D scoring, has a better reputation than Subban.
    • Against--partner Jonas Brodin has better fancystats.
    • My take--We knew he was good.
  • Duncan Keith
    • For--1D on top regular season team.
    • Against--finished only 15th among D in scoring, despite playing on a top offensive team
    • My take--reputation nomination. Meh
  • Alex Pietrangelo
    • For--1D on an elite team.
    • Against--didn't have the stud offensive totals.
    • My take--maybe in the future. 
  • Francois Beauchemin
    • For--took somewhat harder zone starts and competition for Anaheim and came out ahead. Finished 20th among D in scoring and 1st in plus-minus.
    • Against--Tied for 1st in that category with teammate Sheldon Souray. Also, 20th isn't Norris-level.
    • My take--He's ridden momentum from the early part of the season into the conversation, but really shouldn't be in it--he isn't the guy that drives the pairing (unlike guys like Green, Keith, Carlson, Pietrangelo, Subban, Weber, etc), he's just a competent half of it.
  • Zdeno Chara
    • For--1D on an elite team.
    • Against--didn't have the stud offensive totals.
    • My take--he already got his lifetime achievement award. 
Selke Trophy
Who should win: Kopitar
Who will win: Toews
My other finalists: McClement, Datsyuk
  • Jay McClement
    • For--he's faced Malhotra starts for years and has been a standout on the Leafs' massively improved PK. (By scoring chances, the PK appears legitimately better, not just getting puck luck.)
    • Against--no offense nothing?
    • My take--Good to see this guy get some recognition. Since Pass It To Bulis wrote that piece on Malhotra and zone starts, seems like players like Malhotra, Bolland, and McClement have been getting a little more Selke love, and rightfully so.
  • Jonathan Toews
    • For--Great possession numbers, can play power versus power and win easily.
    • Against--wasn't deployed like a shutdown forward.
    • My take--seems like everyone has been itching to give Toews some individual award, as if the Conn Smythe, Stanley Cup, and gold medal (all in 2010) weren't enough.
  • Patrice Bergeron
    • For--see Toews
    • Against--missed some time.
    • My take--voting for Bergeron is just a reflex for most voters, it seems.
  • Pavel Datsyuk
    • For--see Toews.
    • Against--...nothing?
    • My take--voting for Bergeron is just a reflex for most voters, it seems.
  • Anze Kopitar
    • For--deserves one. Shutdown forward for LA, incredible Corsi Rel (nearly 20!) on the best possession team in the league.
    • Against--nothing? Played with Doughty a lot.
    • My take--it's about time he's a finalist, at least.
Jack Adams Award
Who should win: Therrien
Who will win: Therrien
My other finalists: Maclean, Babcock
  • Michel Therrien
    • For--Montreal vastly exceeded expectations, and didn't do it purely with PDO, either (coughAnaheimcouch). Did this even though the only main roster changes were adding Galchenyuk and Gallagher and a healthy Markov (who are all good, but not enough to singlehandedly take a bottom feeder to the arguably the best team in the East).
    • Against--doesn't look like the nicest guy
    • My take--not quite a lock, but I do think one of the three Canadian-team candidates will take it.
  • Dan Bylsma
    • For--Pittsburgh kept winning despite losing Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and others at various points throughout the season
    • Against--Pittsburgh was a worse possession team than in years past.
    • My take--He deserved one and got it. Doesn't need another lifetime achievement award. How is this year that much different from previous ones? Better health from Crosby = more wins. It's not that hard to understand.
  • Joel Quenneville
    • For--team won President's Trophy
    • Against--did it by turning Crawford/Emery into Lundqvist for a couple of months. (read: not his doing)
    • My take--we shouldn't give someone an award for standing behind a bunch of talented players.
  • Paul Maclean
    • For--team made playoffs despite losing best and 3rd-best players to major injuries.
    • Against--are Anderson and Lehner really .935+ goalies? Don't think it was the system, just some short-term luck.
    • My take--decent possession #s nonetheless. Maclean has been doing a good job in Ottawa and could win one in the future.
  • Bruce Boudreau 
    • For--team vastly exceeded expectations
    • Against--did it with PDO
    • My take--Boudreau in the second half of last season looked like an Adams winner--Anaheim went from a ~45% to a ~50% Fenwick team after the coaching change, and predictably, made a run. This year, back to ~45%, and after almost catching Chicago at one point, were mediocre for the last few weeks of the year.
  • Randy Carlyle
    • For--team vastly exceeded expectations
    • Against--did it with PDO
    • My take--the Leafs blogs I read are frustrated with many things Carlyle has done, including hitching Bozak to Kessel (imagine if 2011 Johansson and Ovechkin always took the ice together), saddling Grabovski without any talent around him, and failing to improve the team possession-wise. Seems like the only thing he's done right is fix their PK (which looks good by scoring chances as well...although Jay McClement has been a huge help here). Nope.
  • Mike Yeo
    • For--team made playoffs
    • Against--they were expected to
    • My take--I think that roster is too talented to be merely a mediocre team. He should be fired, not given an award.
Lindsay Award
Who should win: Crosby
Who will win: Crosby
My other finalists: Crosby, Crosby
  • Sidney Crosby
    • For: He's the best player in the game, by far.
    • Against: He missed 12 games.
Lady Byng Trophy
Who should win: Pick 1 (see below)
Who will win: Pick 1 (see below)

List of players in top-30 in scoring with under 20 PIMs:
  • Patrick Kane
  • Matt Moulson
  • Derek Stepan
  • Martin St. Louis
  • Pavel Datsyuk
  • Henrik Zetterberg
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Phil Kessel
  • John Tavares
  • Anze Kopitar
  • Matt Duchene
Vezina Trophy
Who should win: Bobrovsky
Who will win: Bobrovsky
My other finalists: Niemi, Lundqvist
  • Sergei Bobrovsky
    • For--finished 2nd in sv%, BJ's almost made playoffs
    • Against--BJs didn't make playoffs
    • My take--lock.
  • Antti Niemi
    • For--won a lot of shootouts, helped Sharks to playoffs when they couldn't score after 2nd week of season, finished with good sv% (.924) and was a big reason their PK was much more effective this year
    • Against--reputation
    • My take--probably finished 2nd.
  • Craig Anderson
    • For--led league in sv% at .941
    • Against--got hurt, so played only 24 games.
    • My take--not enough GP
  • Henrik Lundqvist 
    • For--Rangers had trouble scoring but managed to get to 6th, workhorse (started 43 games, registered a .926), reputation
    • Against--Rangers made his job easier this year, Niemi faced more shots, Bob let in 14 fewer goals on ~100 fewer shots.
  • Tuukka Rask
    • For--a .930 is mighty impressive
    • Against--seems like Boston may have some sv% effects going on (don't buy it myself), didn't actually face all that much rubber.
    • My take--his workload was deceptively small, given the number of starts. He'll win one at some point, but this year there were better choices.
Calder Trophy
Who should win: Brodin
Who will win: Huberdeau
My other finalists: Huberdeau, Gallagher
  • Jonas Brodin
    • For--puts up better fancystats than partner Ryan Suter
    • Against--plays with Ryan Suter and doesn't put up big offensive numbers
    • My take--playing shutdown minutes and helping, rather than hindering, Suter is a pretty noteworthy achievement--remember that Suter didn't get this much Norris attention even playing with Shea Weber. Conversely, no rookie forward was really all that good--none them did better than "barely topped a 50pt per-82 pace."
  • Jonathan Huberdeau
    • For--tied for rookie lead in scoring, on Florida
    • Against--was good, not great
    • My take--53pt per 82, I'll take the top pair D instead.
  • Brendan Gallagher
    • For--finished near top of rookie scoring leaders, great Corsi
    • Against--great zone starts, didn't actually lead rookies in scoring.
    • My take--see Huberdeau
  • Cory Conacher 
    • For--finished near top of rookie scoring leaders
    • Against--played a lot with MSL and Stamkos
    • My take--meh
  • Brandon Saad
    • For--finished near top of rookie scoring leaders
    • Against--played with Toews
    • My take--meh
  • Nail Yakupov 
    • For--tied for rookie scoring lead despite being either a 2nd or 3rd line wing all year
    • Against--played like a 2nd or 3rd line wing most of the year
    • My take--meh
  • Vladimir Tarasenko
    • For--Scored a highlight-reel goal in his NHL debut, had the early lead in the Calder race.
    • Against--Cooled off significantly after concussion. 41pt per-82 pace only.
    • My take--Kuznetsov and Tarasenko put up similar KHL numbers (Tarasenko slightly better, but seems like general consensus is that Kuznetsov is the better prospect and has the higher ceiling). Worth watching how VT develops.

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