2012 NHL Award Predictions
Winning an NHL Award not only provides your fans with bragging rights over rivals, but it also leaves players with a spot in the NHL history books.
Another NHL season is almost in the books and while a few of the awards were locked months ago, others are still up for debate.
Because it's so darn fun to predict things, here are some guesses as to who'll be walking away with the hardware in 2012:
Lady Byng: Most Gentlemanly Player
Jordan Eberle - Edmonton Oilers
Matt Moulson - New York Islanders
Martin St. Louis - Tampa Bay Lightning
Since the Lady Byng is given not only to the "most gentlemanly player"—which, by the way, makes the entire New Orleans Saints franchise ineligible—but also to a player who "exhibits a high standard of playing ability," each of Moulson, St. Louis, and Eberle are more than worthy.
However, the award is somewhat random and is pretty much left up to voters. St. Louis has clearly gained favour amongst voters, as he won the award in 2010 and 2011.
Winner: St. Louis - The voters go with what they know
Selke: Best Defensive Forward
Patrice Bergeron - Boston Bruins
Pavel Datsyuk - Detroit Red Wings
Marian Hossa - Chicago Blackhawks
Selke winners need to kill penalties, win faceoffs, score goals and block shots.
Datsyuk and Hossa do all of those things but Bergeron, has been in a class of his own this season in terms of all-around play. He leads the league in faceoff percentage and +/- and it would be very surprising to see him passed over yet again.
Winner: Bergeron - One of the clearest Selke winners in years
Calder: Rookie of the Year
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Edmonton Oilers
Gabriel Landeskog - Colorado Avalanche
Adam Henrique - New Jersey Devils
Nugent-Hopkins likely would have won the award easily if he hadn't been sidelined twice with shoulder problems, but all three of these forwards have been excellent.
Henrique carried the Devils while Zach Parise struggled early on and Landeskog has been the best player for Colorado, period.
Winner: Landeskog - Most complete rookie and default winner after RNH's injuries.
Jack Adams: Coach of the Year
Ken Hitchcock - St. Louis Blues
Barry Trotz - Nashville Predators
John Tortorella - New York Rangers
Hitchcock single-handedly turned the Blues around, turning them from a bottom-dweller team to a President's Trophy contender.
Trotz and Tortorella have both had success despite question marks in their lineups. The Rangers have played a flawless system around Tortorella and Trotz just keeps winning despite being overshadowed in Nashville.
Winner: Hitchcock - The voters love turnaround stories and the Blues fit right into that category.
Norris: Best Defenseman
Erik Karlsson - Ottawa Senators
Shea Weber - Nashville Predators
Zdeno Chara - Boston Bruins
While Karlsson has had one of the best offensive seasons for a defenseman in years, the Norris Trophy is still up for debate.
Some would argue correctly that Weber and Chara are much more complete players.
While Weber and Chara kill more penalties and block more shots, it's really a matter of whether the voters think that Karlsson's offensive numbers are staggering enough.
Winner: Karlsson - Top 10 in scoring as a blue-liner is too much to ignore.
Vezina: Best Goaltender
Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers
Jonathan Quick - Los Angeles Kings
Jaroslav Halak - St. Louis Blues
This is assuming only one Blues goalie will be nominated.
Brian Elliott has arguably been more impressive than Halak, but he's unfortunately only played 36 games.
Lundqvist and Quick will have both played over 60 games, making them the easy front-runners. They have very similar stat-lines and Quick deserves more credit around the league, but Lundqvist has been the Rangers' best player all season.
Winner: Lundqvist - He's a serious candidate for the Hart Trophy and can play the guitar pretty well, too.
Hart: Most Valuable Player
Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh Penguins
Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers
Steven Stamkos - Tampa Bay Lightning
While Lundqvist and Stamkos have had exceptional years, Malkin is the easy choice for the Hart Trophy.
With Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Jordan Staal all injured for large portions of the season, Malkin, like all great players, raised his game and held the Penguins together.
I could bring up stats, but anyone who has watched Malkin play knows he's been the best player in the NHL this season.
Now for some lesser-known award predictions:
Mark Messier Award (Leadership): Ryan Callahan - New York Rangers
Ted Lindsay (MVP as voted by the NHLPA): Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh Penguins
Bill Masterton Trophy (Perseverance): Max Pacioretty - Montreal Canadiens
NHL General Manager of the Year: Brian Burke...wait, no, David Poile - Nashville Predators
Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP): Sidney Crosby... but that's another story entirely
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