The final hardware for the NHL season will be handed out on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, and a trio of Ottawa Senators will be in the mix for awards. Erik Karlsson (Norris), Daniel Alfredsson (Masterton) and Paul MacLean (Adams) are all finalists for honours at the annual schmoozfest. Over the next couple of days I will look at the major awards and predict who WILL win, and also who I would pick if I were selecting.
SELKE TROPHY – Best Defensive Forward
David Bakes, STL – +15 rating, 72 blocked shots, 48.6% on faceoffs for league’s stingiest team
Patrice Bergeron, BOS -Led league with a +36 rating, 2nd in FO% with 59.3%. Had 67 blocked shots and 55 takeaways
Pavel Datsyuk, DET – 3 time winner, 3rd among league forwards with 97 takeaways, 56.2% on faceoffs (10th in NHL) and a +21 rating
WHO WOULD I PICK – Bergeron. He was the best forward all season on the defending champions. He was a big reason why the Bruins had the best goal differential (+62) and the top 5 players in terms of +/- ratings in the league.
WHO WILL WIN? – Bergeron.
CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY – Rookie of the Year
Adam Henrique, NJD – Led all rookies with 31 assists, scored 4 shorthanded goals (tied for NHL best), finished 3rd among rookies with 51 points
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM – Despite playing only 62 games, tied for rookie scoring title with 52 points. Also finished 4th in goals and 2nd in assists among all freshmen.
Gabriel Landeskog, COL – Played in all 82 games, finishing 2nd among rookies in goals, tied for 1st in points, 3rd in assists and 2nd with a +/- rating of +20 and had more PIMs than any other rookie in the top 20 scorers.
WHO WOULD I PICK – Nugent-Hopkins – Would have been a runaway winner if he hadn’t missed 20 games with a shoulder injury. His size brings longevity into question and that may affect voters. When on the ice, he was the most dynamic rookie this season.
WHO WILL WIN – Landeskog – Was the most NHL ready player from last year’s draft and he didn’t disappoint. Longevity (82 games) and grit (51 PIMs) make him the complete package.
Bill Masterton Trophy – Perseverence, Sportsmanship and Dedication to hockey
Daniel Alfredsson, OTT – Recovered from off-season back surgery to finish in the top 60 in league scoring, while being voted to start the all-Star game in his home city.
Joffrey Lupul, TOR – Overcame serious career threatening back problems to set career highs in assists and points while becoming a fixture on Toronto top line.
Max Pacioretty, MTL – Following last season’s scary incident involving Zdeno Characters, Pacioretty bounced back to have a breakout season with 33 goals and 32 assists to lead the Habs in scoring.
WHO I WOULD PICK – Alfredsson. Having seen first hand how he struggled in 2010-11 nobody would have been shocked if he hung them up. The perseverance and dedication he showed At his age cannot be overlooked. Also, admittedly the sentimental choice.
WHO WILL WIN – Pacioretty. The image of the devastating hit and his head hitting the turnbuckle is etched in everyone’s mind. The comeback and leading his club in scoring while not backing down physically will win votes.
Check back tomorrow when I look at the Vezina, Lady Byng and Jack Adams awards.