Sunday I looked at the races for the Selke, Masterton and Calder Trophies, and yesterday I previewed the Vezina, Lady Byng and Jack Adams awards. Today, in the third and final preview of Wednesday’s NHL awards, I look at the GM of the year, the Norris Trophy and the Hart Trophy.
General Manager of the Year Award
Doug Armstrong, STL – Added veterans Langenbrunner and Arnott, Rescued Brian Elliott off the scrap heap and hired Hitchcock 13 games into the season.
David Poile, NSH – Locked Rinne in for long term, brought Radulov back & made deadline acqiusitions, but Suter and Weber still hanging over his head.
Dale Tallon, FLA – Loosened purse strings to bring Campbell, Versteeg, Jovanovski, Fleischmann and took a chance on Jose Theodore that paid off. Gave a rookie head coach a chance (Kevin Dineen) and won first division title in franchise history.
WHO WOULD I PICK – Tallon – Convincing players to go to a club that hadn’t made the playoffs in a decade was a good sell job. Hiring Dineen was equally good. He did have the benefit of having to spend money, but he spent it relatively wisely.
WHO WILL WIN? – Armstrong. Although it is tough to give the GM and the Coach of the Year awards to the same team in my opinion. Was it the team given to Hitchcock or was it the job Hitch did with it. Either way, the St. Louis story was one of the best of the season.
Norris Trophy – The League’s Top Defenseman
Zdeno Chara, BOS – Posted a career high 52 points while posting. +33 rating and leading the Bruins with 166 hits.
Erik Karlsson, OTT – Lapped the field for defenseman scoring with 78 points, 26 more than his nearest rival. Tied for league lead in goals (19) and his 58 assists were more than any other blueliner had points. Posted a +16 rating and led defenseman with 67 takeaways.
Shea Weber, NSH – Tied Karlsson for defenseman goal scoring with 19. Recorded 177 hits and a +21 rating.
WHO WOULD I PICK – Karlsson. Despite his perceived defensive shortcomings, I would have a hard time ignoring the astounding numbers he put up this season. I will have a separate post about this tomorrow.
WHO WILL WIN – Weber. He seems to be the flavor of the week among NHL blueliners, even if the numbers don’t fully back it up.
Hart Trophy – Most Valuable Player
Henrik Lundqvist, NYR – One of the top goaltenders led the Rangers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Thirty nine wins, a 1.97 GAA and. 930 SP with 8 shutouts.
Evgeni Malkin, PIT – Two-time runner up posted his first 50 goal season and led the league with 109 points. - Guided the Rangers to a President’s trophy as the regular season champs with a 51-24-7 record.
Steven Stamkos, TBL – Scored 60 goals and a career high 97 points.
WHO I WOULD PICK – Malkin – What he did for the penguins playing without Sidney Crosby for most of the season was astounding. The affect he had on James Neal making him a superstar cannot be ignored, and Making made those around him better.
WHO WILL WIN – Malkin.
Enjoy the awards!