NHL Awards: Handing out Each Major Award at the Season's Halfway Mark
Can you believe it? We're already a little over the halfway point of the regular season.
With the trade deadline and the All-Star game fast approaching, the halfway point of the season is the perfect time to recollect and regroup for what is sure to be an exciting finish into the playoffs.
So which players and coaches have their teams primed for a playoff run and could be walking out with some individual hardware in June?
James Norris Trophy: Erik Karlsson
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Erik Karlsson is blowing away most of the other defensive candidates so far.
Karlsson has 46 points in 49 games—12 more than the second-place defenseman, Alexander Edler.
He is averaging more than 25 minutes per game for Ottawa and has a plus-seven rating.
Karlsson is also second in the league in assists for all skaters with 39.
If he can keep this up, Karlsson will win the James Norris at just 21 years old.
Jack Adams Trophy: Ken Hitchcock
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Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues has taken the recently mediocre squad to new heights this season.
Currently the Blues are tied for second in the league with 64 points and are hoping for their first playoff appearance since 2008-09.
St. Louis has been winning with defense and solid goaltending by both Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. They are the only club to be averaging less than two goals per game, at 1.94.
If Hitchcock can keep this up, he will be the favorite to walk away with the Jack Adams Trophy at the end of the year.
Calder Trophy: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
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To be true to the article, I have to award the Calder Trophy to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins so far this season.
However, with his recent shoulder injury sidelining him for at least a couple of weeks, Adam Henrique of New Jersey may just overtake RNH as the Calder leader for the year.
As of now, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads all rookies with 35 points in 38 games, while Henrique has 34 points in 42 games.
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Jonathan Toews
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Jonathan Toews is one of the most well-rounded hockey players in the NHL.
He is averaging more than 20 minutes per game for Chicago and has put up 27 goals and 50 points so far this season.
After being a finalist last year and posting a plus-17 rating this season, Toews has to be the favorite to take home the best defensive forward of the year award.
Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy: Steven Stamkos
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This one isn't hard to award.
Steven Stamkos has been lighting up the scoresheet almost nightly with 32 goals in 47 games.
Jonathan Toews is sitting in second with 27 goals, but, with the way Stamkos has been on recently, I doubt he will be overtaken by season's end.
Hart Trophy: Evgeni Malkin
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Evgeni Malkin had just a couple of obstacles standing in his way this season.
First, he came off a major knee injury last season that required months of rehab.
Second, Malkin had to assume the role of the bona fide, legitimate leader of the Pittsburgh Penguins. With Crosby out indefinitely, again, Malkin has responded with a bang, leading the league in points with 55, in only 40 games.
If that doesn't define a league MVP, I'm not sure what does.
Vezina Trophy: Brian Elliott
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In 22 starts, Brian Elliott has won 15 games, five of them by shutout.
He has averaged a 1.66 goals against average in his games, which is first in the league, and a 93.7 save percentage, which is second in the league.
This race is extremely tight; however, and candidates such as Jonathan Quick and Tuukka Rask could end up with the Vezina in June.