Nugent-Hopkins (PHOTO: Dale MacMillan Getty Images)

Picking the NHL Awards At The Half

As the NHL and many of its teams are at or near the midway point of the season, lots of writers will be making their midseason choices for the award winners.  So I will do the same, but at this point there are tons of potential winners.  I will choose a winner from each division and then an overall winner.

Calder Trophy – Rookie of the Year

Pacific – Richard Bachman, DAL

Northwest – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM

Central – Craig Smith, NSH

Southeast – Justin Faulk, CAR

Atlantic – Adam Henrique, NJD

Northeast – Jared Cowen, OTT

WINNER:  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – His current shoulder injury might be long enough to deny the best rookie in the league this year the Calder at the end of the season.  If he is out for an extended period of time, players like Henrique, Matt Read (PHI) and Gabriel Landeskog (COL) might overtake him based on consistency.  It was interesting to note that some divisions don’t really have a stellar rookie and it was tough to come up with a worthy candidate for the Pacific and the Southeast divisions in this category.

 

Jack Adams Award – Coach of the Year

Pacific – Dave Tippett, DAL

Northwest – Mike Yeo, MIN

Central – Ken Hitchcock, STL

Southeast – Kevin Dineen, FLA

Atlantic – Tom Tortorella, NYR

Northeast – Paul MacLean, OTT

MacLean (PHOTO: Rick Stewart Getty Images Ottawa Citizen)

WINNER:  Paul MacLean – He has the upstart Senators sitting in a position that if the playoffs were to start today, they would be the home team in the first round (games in hand notwithstanding).  Few would have given Ottawa a chance to be in this position and MacLean, along with Dineen and Hitchock have led great (and likely unexpected) turnarounds this season.

 

Selke Trophy – Best Defensive Forward

Pacific – Joe Pavelski, SJ

Northwest – Ryan Kesler, VAN

Central – Jonathan Toews, CHI

Southeast – Stephen Weiss, FLA

Atlantic – Ryan Callaghan, NYR

Northeast – Patrice Bergeron, BOS

Toews (PHOTO: Bill Smith NHLI via Getty Images)

WINNER – Jonathan Toews – Chicago’s captain has been one of the best all around players in the NHL this season, if not the past decade and should finally get some individual regular season recognition.  This is always a hard one to call as reputation usually supercedes on-ice performance and despite being a “defensive” award, points usually factor in somewhat.

 

Norris Trophy – Best Defenseman

Pacific – Dan Boyle, SJ

Northwest – Alex Edler, VAN

Central - Shea Weber, NSH

Southeast – Brian Campbell, FLA

Atlantic – Michael Del Zotto, NYR

Northeast – Erik Karlsson, OTT

Karlsson (PHOTO: Jana Chytilova Freestyle Photography Getty Images)

WINNER – Erik Karlsson – I know those outside Ottawa will accuse me of being a “homer” but it is hard to argue with his production as well as his ability to turn a game around.  His defensive positioning is a work in progress, but is not as bad as his reputation would suggest.  With three of the top defensemen in the Northeat division (Chara, Phaneuf) it was a tough call to give Karlsson the nod in his own conference, let alone give him the award.

 

VEZINA TROPHY – TOP GOALTENDER

Pacific – Jonathan Quick, LA

Northwest – Roberto Luongo, VAN

Central – Brian Elliott, STL

Southeast – Jose Theodore, FLA

Atlantic – Henrik Lundqvist, NYR

Northeast – Tim Thomas, BOS

Lundqvist (PHOTO: Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America)

WINNER – Henrik Lundqvist – The best goaltender in the league this year, has the Rangers in first place overall.  A tough choice, with 4 of the nominees sporting GAA of under 2.00.  Elliott is probably the biggest surprise (well actually surprise is an understatement) and if he can maintain the pace he is on could challenge for the award by season’s end.

 

Hart Trophy – Most Valuable Player

Pacific – Anze Kopitar, LA

Northwest – Henrik Sedin, VAN

Central – Pavel Datsyuk, DET

Southeast – Steven Stamkos, TB

Atlantic – Claude Giroux, PHI

Northeast – Phil Kessel, TOR

 

Giroux (PHOTO: Claus Anderson Getty Images North America)

WINNER – Claude Giroux – Despite missing a handful of games due to a concussion, Giroux is still leading his team in scoring by 11 points.  Handed the keys to the team after the trade of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, Giroux has exceeded expectations and branded himself a true superstar in the league.  Even on a team full of stars, he has separated himself from the pack.

Tags: Claude Giroux Erik Karlsson Henrik Lundqvist Jonathan Toews Paul MacLean Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

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