Hitchcock turned around the Blues' fortunes in a short period of time. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

NHL Awards Preview Part 2 - Vezina, Lady Byng and Jack Adams

Yesterday I looked at the races for the Selke, Masterton and Calder Trophies, and today I handicap the Vezina, Lady Byng and Jack Adams awards.

 

Vezina TrophyTop Goaltender

Henrik Lundqvist, NYR – 39-18-5, 1.97 GAA, .930 SP in 62 games played.  Added 8 shutouts in leading the Rangers to the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference

Jonathan Quick, LAK – 35-21-13, 1.95 GAA, .929 SP in 69 games played, with 10 shutouts.

Pekka Rinne, NSH – 43-18-8, 2.39 GAA, .923 SP in 73 GP,  5 shutouts.

WHO WOULD I PICK – Quick.    Stanley Cup win aside, Quick was the reason the offensively challenged Kings made the playoffs. In addition to his 35 wins, 15 of his losses were accumulated when he allowed 2 or fewer goals.  With any offensive support he would have easily topped 40 wins and probably led the league in that category.

WHO WILL WIN? – Lundqvist.  Call it east coast bias, but more people have seen him perform and Quick doesn’t get seen nearly as much.  The playoffs were his coming-out party, but the voting was already done by then.  Lundqvist is the sentimental GQ favorite in the biggest media market in the NHL and was a focal point of HBO’s 24/7 and the winter classic.

If Lundqvist does indeed take home the Vezina, Jonathan Quick (above) wouldn't trade places with him for the World. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

 

LADY BYNG TROPHY – Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct

Brian Campbell, FLA – 4 Goals, 49 assists for 53 points to tie for 2nd among defensemen in scoring.  Accumulated only 6 minutes in penalties, and 2 of them were for shooting the puck over the glass.

Jordan Eberle, EDM – Finished with 34 goals and 42 assists for 76 points in his sophomore season, while being assessed only 5 minor penalties.

Matt Moulson, NYI, COL – Recorded 69 points (36G, 33A) while being whistled 3 times for minor infractions.

 

WHO WOULD I PICK – Campbell. The defenseman played more minutes than any player in the past season, and his penalties amounted to delay of game, slashing and holding penalties.  A defenseman hasn’t won the award since Red Kelly in 1961, 51 years ago, and it is a good time to break that streak.

WHO WILL WIN - Campbell.

 

Can Campbell break a streak more than 50 years in the making? I say yes. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

 

Jack Adams Award – Coach of the Year

Ken Hitchcock, STL – A replacement for Davis Payne after 13 games, led the Blues to a 43-15-11 record and the best defensive team in the league.

Paul MacLean, OTT – Rookie head coach exceeded expectations taking an underdog team to a 41-31-10 record and an unexpected playoff spot.

John Tortorella - Guided the Rangers to the #1 seed in the East with a 51-24-7 record.

 

WHO I WOULD PICK – MacLean –   MacLean lead the Senators to a 18 point improvement in the standings despite shedding more than $5M in salary.  Tortorella took a playoff team to the President’s Trophy and a 16 point improvement but they also spent an extra $4M.  Hitchcock led the Blues to a 22 point improvement and a division crown, but their payroll was $10M more than the previous season.

WHO WILL WIN – Hitchcock.  The Blues were probably the best story in the regular season.  They became the best defensive team in the league and made even Brian Elliott look good.

 

 

Check back tomorrow when I look at the General Manager of the Year, the Norris and the Hart Trophies.

Tags: Campbell Eberle Hitchcock Jack Adams Kundqvist Lady Byng MacLean Moulson Quick Rinne Tortorella Vezina

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