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2012 NHL Awards: 9 Snubs for This Year's Awards

Dan FremuthContributor IIIJune 18, 2012

2012 NHL Awards: 9 Snubs for This Year's Awards

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    The NHL has already handed out its most coveted trophy.  But there are still a number of highly sought-after awards to be presented following the 2011-2012 season. 

    And while the NHL hit the target with many of its nominees, the league still missed the mark with a few candidates.

    So before all the hardware is handed out on Wednesday, here are nine guys who were mistakenly left off this year's ballot.

Claude Giroux (Hart Trophy)

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    One of the top players in the game today, Giroux should have been considered for the game's top individual honor.

    Nearly single-handedly, Giroux guided an injury-plagued Philadelphia Flyers team to the third-highest point total in the Eastern Conference.  

    The Hearst, Ontario, native finished third among all NHLers with 93 points, including a league-leading 65 assists. On top of that, Giroux registered an NHL-best 38 power-play points paced by a league-best 32 man-advantage assists.

    Forced into a starring role after the offseason trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and the season-ending loss of Chris Pronger in mid-December, Giroux responded admirably.  For that, the standout Flyers forward should have been considered for the league's MVP.

Jonathan Quick (Ted Lindsay Award)

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    An MVP award handed out by the players themselves, the Ted Lindsay Award features the same three nominees as this year's Hart (Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos). But another name to consider is Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

    The 2012 Conn Smythe winner, Quick finished the regular season tied for fifth among all netminders with 35 wins and paced all goaltenders with 10 shutouts.

    His 1.95 goals-against average was second best during the regular year while his .929 save percentage was good for fifth overall. Quick was an essential piece to a Kings team that was one of only two NHL squads to record fewer than 200 goals last season. 

    Forwards know how difficult he is to beat. Defensemen know how valuable he is when they get beat. And opposing goaltenders know far too well what it's like to get beat by Quick.

    That sure sounds like most outstanding player material.

Mike Smith (Vezina Trophy)

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    Smith had never won more than 14 games in any of his first five seasons of NHL service—until now.

    The Phoenix Coyotes netminder registered a career year last season, posting a 38-18-10 overall mark and was a driving force in Phoenix claiming the Pacific Division regular-season title.

    Smith's 38 wins were good for fourth best among all NHL goaltenders while he finished tied for third with eight shutouts. The Kingston, Ontario, native's impressive numbers didn't stop there though as Smith finished tied for third with a .930 save percentage and ranked seventh overall with a 2.21 goals-against average.

    It's hard to imagine the Coyotes having even a fraction of the success they enjoyed this season without Smith. Knowing that, he should have at least been considered for the league's top goal-tending honor. 

Brent Seabrook (Norris Trophy)

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    Seabrook may not stand out in any one statistical category, but he's the total package.

    A durable blueliner who missed just four games last season, Seabrook registered 34 points—the same as seven-time Norris winner Nicklas Lidstrom. Moreover, he finished tied for seventh among all defensemen with a plus-21 rating—the same as current Norris nominee Shea Weber.

    Seabrook was tagged with just 22 penalty minutes last season while registering 198 hits and 165 blocked shots.

    Averaging nearly 25 minutes of ice-time per game, Seabrook is a reliable defenseman who can be trusted in all situations and should be considered among the game's elite on the back end.

Matt Read (Calder Trophy)

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    Read was the most heralded, and possibly most surprising, of the Flyers' impressive rookies  forced into action so frequently this past season.  

    The Colorado College standout finished seventh among all Philly skaters in scoring with 47 points and was one of just four Flyers to record 20 or more goals this season (24).  

    With those numbers, Read finished fourth among all rookies in points and paced all first-year skaters in goals. What’s more, the Ontario native led all NHL rookies with six game-winning goals this season and finished fourth with a plus-13 rating.

    At 26 years old, Read didn't look much like a rookie but was without a doubt one of the game's top first-year skaters last year.

Joe Pavelski (Frank J. Selke Trophy)

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    Pavelski has been one of the game's top defensive forwards for years and put together another impressive two-way campaign last season.

    The Plover, Wisconsin, native finished tied for first among all San Jose Sharks with 31 goals and ended the year fourth on the roster with 61 points. What's more impressive, Pavelski led all Sharks with a plus-18 rating and paced San Jose's forward corps in ice time, averaging better than 20.5 minutes per game.  

    Pavelski also wasn't afraid to surrender his body to prevent offense from the opposition as he finished the year sixth among all NHL forwards with 84 blocked shots.

    It says something about a player who annually produces at one end while continuing to stymie offense for the opposition at the other end.  Pavelski should finally be acknowledged for that.

Martin St. Louis (Lady Byng Trophy)

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    It's curious not to see the name of the two-time defending Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner—Martin St. Louis.

    After finally ending the four-year run of Pavel Datsyuk in 2010, St. Louis won't have a chance to claim his third straight honor as the NHL will find just its third Lady Byng winner over the last seven years.

    St. Louis should have had a shot though after notching 74 points (25 goals, 49 assists) in 77 games while recording just 16 penalty minutes.

    One of the most respectful players in the game today, St. Louis plays the game the right way and has been rewarded for it.  

    Suppose it's probably time to give the award to someone not named St. Louis or Datsyuk.

Peter DeBoer (Jack Adams Award)

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    Within a year of being fired from the Florida Panthers, DeBoer had guided the New Jersey Devils to a 21-point turnaround in the standings and the team's first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in nine years.

    After New Jersey finished one game under .500 last season and 11th overall in the Eastern Conference, DeBoer was brought in and helped lead the Devils to a 48-28-6 overall mark this season and the fourth-highest points total in the East.

    DeBoer was a driving force in New Jersey producing the league's top penalty kill (89.6 percent) during the regular year as the Devils surrendered an NHL-fewest 27 power-play goals against.

    Finally, after winning just two playoff series in eight tries since the team's last cup in 2003, DeBoer guided New Jersey to three series victories this postseason alone before falling in the finals to Los Angeles.

Dean Lombardi (GM of Year)

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    Hindsight is certainly 20/20, but after witnessing what the Los Angeles Kings were able to accomplish this spring, it's hard to believe Lombardi was left off this year's ballot.

    Lombardi recognized his team's ability to win now and made the moves last summer and this season to ensure that happened.

    Last summer, the Kings' general manager moved the unmovable Brayden Schenn in order to acquire former Flyers captain Mike Richards. Then, after a rocky star to his time in Columbus, Jeff Carter was snatched up in a midseason transaction to aid a struggling Kings offense.

    Finally, and most importantly, Lombardi pulled the trigger in mid-December bringing in Darryl Sutter to replace Terry Murray as the team's head coach. Sutter proved he knew which buttons to push and when to validate Lombardi's faith in him.

    The window to win isn't often open for long, and Lombardi adeptly recognized the Kings' time was now. 

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