NHL Trophy Tracker: Updated Look at the Race for Every Award

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IApril 22, 2013

NHL Trophy Tracker: Updated Look at the Race for Every Award

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    There are a few days left in this shortened 2013 NHL season and nearly all of the end-of-the-year award races are wide open. This will create some exciting drama as the final games of the year are played.

    Voters tend to reward players who finish the year strong, so the the guys who perform at a high level this week will really improve their trophy resumes. Players who lead their teams to the playoffs will also strengthen their position in the trophy races.

    Let's look at an updated list of the top candidates for every major NHL award. This article will be updated throughout the final week of the season.

Jack Adams Award: Best Head Coach

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    Top Candidates for Jack Adams Award (as of April 27)

    1) Paul MacLean (OTT)

    2) Jack Capuano (NYI)

    3) Joel Quenneville (CHI)

    4) Bruce Boudreau (ANA)

    5) Randy Carlyle (TOR)

    If the Ottawa Senators get into the playoffs after not having their No. 1 defenseman (Erik Karlsson), top scorer (Jason Spezza) and leading goal scorer from last season (Milan Michalek) for most of 2013, then MacLean should easily win the Jack Adams Award. Ottawa has believed in MacLean's message and the team is enjoying tremendous success with a roster made up of many AHL players and NHLers with little experience. MacLean's defensive style of hockey has given opposing teams a lot of problems.

    Jack Capuano also deserves a ton of praise for helping an Islanders team that finished 14th in the East last season clinch a playoff berth in 2013.

    Quenneville has led the Blackhawks in one of their greatest regular seasons in team history, which will likely end with a Presidents' Trophy honor. The one thing that could prevent him from winning this award is the enormous talent on his roster. You could easily argue that Chicago has the best roster of any NHL team.

    Boudreau and Carlyle will also be looked at as possible finalists for this award. Both coaches took disappointing teams from last season and transformed them into playoff contenders in their respective conferences.

Frank J. Selke Trophy: Best Defensive Forward

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    Top Candidates for Frank J. Selke Trophy (as of April 27)

    1) Jonathan Toews (CHI): T-1st with 56 takeaways, 59.9 FO percentage, plays on the team ranked first in GAA and fourth in PK

    2) Patrice Bergeron (BOS): Leads NHL with 61.8 FO percentage, plays a major defensive role on the team ranked second in PK and third in GAA

    3) Pavel Datsyuk (DET): T-1st in takeaways with 56, also has a 55.1 FO percentage and 480 faceoff wins

    4) Ryan Callahan (NYR): Leads team with 152 hits, has 21 takeaways and is one of the league's best penalty killers

    5) Eric Staal (CAR): Ranks fourth in takeaways with 48, also has 24 blocked shots and a 52.0 FO percentage

    The Selke Trophy race is between Toews and Bergeron. Toews will likely win the award because he's been one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL over the last few years and hasn't taken home this trophy yet. Bergeron was finally recognized for his defensive excellence by winning this award last season, and now it's Toews' turn to be honored.

    The Chicago captain has a strong Selke resume with 55 takeaways, an outstanding faceoff percentage and the third-most faceoff wins. Toews plays a major role on the Blackhawks' penalty kill, which has the fourth-best success rate in the league.

    Toews and Bergeron are arguably the two most reliable players in the NHL because of their exceptional performance at both ends of the ice. They kill penalties, win important faceoffs, play a physical game and shut down the opposing teams' most highly skilled forwards.

    The voters could select either player and make the right decision.

Calder Trophy: Best Rookie

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    Top Candidates for Calder Trophy (as of April 26)

    1) Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA): Leads rookies in goals (14) and points (28), has excelled in a top-six role

    2) Brendan Gallagher (MTL): 26 points, 13:55 TOI/game, strong two-way play, top-six role

    3) Brandon Saad (CHI): Earned first-line minutes, solid two-way game, special-teams success, 27 points

    4) Jonas Brodin (MIN): Playing first-pairing minutes with Suter, strong defensively, 11 points

    5) Jake Muzzin (LAK): Playing great defense in a top-four role, ranks third among rookie D-men in scoring, 17:54 TOI/game

    The lack of a dominant rookie scorer has made this year's Calder Trophy race one of the most compelling ones in years.

    There are many worthy candidates and Huberdeau should be at the top of the list. He has been spectacular this season for a Panthers team that is at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The young forward leads all rookies in points and goals, and he has also impressed on the power play.

    Gallagher's impressive offensive production for the Canadiens and quality performances against top teams has made him a top candidate. He has five points in seven games versus the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins and also ranks T-1st among rookies in goals scored with 14.

    The third finalist will likely be Brodin or Saad, who have both played important roles on two of the best teams in the Western Conference.

    Brodin has given the Wild a much-needed top-four defenseman and a player who is reliable at both ends of the ice on a consistent basis. It's tough for rookie defenseman to excel on a playoff contender, but Brodin has adjusted very quickly to the NHL level. He's playing 23:10 minutes per game, which is an impressive number for a rookie.

    Saad's impressive play has earned him minutes on the team's top line alongside superstars Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews. The young winger contributes offensively, features in a role on special teams and plays responsible defense with his physical play. He could develop into one of the better two-way wingers in the NHL over the next few seasons.

Norris Trophy: Best All-Around Defenseman

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    Top Candidates for Norris Trophy (as of April 27)

    1) Ryan Suter (MIN): 32 points, leads NHL with 27:09 TOI/game

    2) P.K. Subban (MTL): 38 points, leads NHL lead in power-play points with 26

    3) Oliver Ekman-Larsson: 23 points, 19 takeaways, leads team with 25:03 TOI/game

    4) Kris Letang (PIT): 36 points, leads top team in East standings with 25:41 TOI/game

    5) Zdeno Chara (BOS): 19 points, team ranks second in PK and third in GAA

    Last season's Norris Trophy was won by Ottawa Senators star Erik Karlsson because he tallied 78 points. He wasn't elite defensively, and you could even argue he was average in that part of the game, but he still won the award based on his scoring brilliance.

    This year, Ryan Suter is the front-runner because of his excellent play at both ends of the ice. He ranks third among all NHL defensemen in scoring, he makes a difference on special teams and plays almost 30 minutes each game against the opposing team's best forwards.

    Subban has also been fantastic this season. He leads all defensemen in scoring and could become the first blueliner to ever lead the league in power-play points. He's been a major part of the Canadiens blue line this season as a defenseman who contributes offensively on a consistent basis and plays solid defense versus elite goal scorers.

    Letang was the leading candidate for the award in March when he led all defensemen in scoring, but he's missed 12 games due to injuries and the Penguins have still played well defensively without him.

    As for Chara, he's the No. 1 defenseman on the NHL's best penalty-killing unit and the team that ranks third in goals against. From an offensive standpoint, he only has 19 points, which will probably prevent him from being a finalist for this award.

Vezina Trophy: Most Outstanding Goaltender

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    Top Candidates for Vezina Trophy (as of April 27)

    1) Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ): 20-11-6, 2.03 GAA, 931 SV%

    2) Tuukka Rask (BOS): 19-9-4, 1.97 GAA, .930 SV%

    3) Antti Niemi (SJS): 24-11-6, 2.14 GAA, .925 SV%

    4) Henrik Lundqvist (NYR): 23-16-3, 2.10 GAA, .925 SV%

    5) Cory Schneider (VAN): 17-9-4, 2.11 GAA, .927 SV%

    Tuukka Rask was my preseason pick for this award, but after a fantastic season in which he's proven that the Boston Bruins have a real star at the goaltender position for the next decade, he's still not the top candidate for the Vezina Trophy.

    If the Blue Jackets get into the playoffs after finishing at the bottom of the NHL standings last season, Bobrovsky should win the Vezina. Bobrovsky has been under immense pressure to carry this Columbus team because it ranks 25th in goals scored and dead last in power-play percentage. He's had to be flawless on a consistent basis for this team to win games, and to his credit, Bobrovsky is having the best season of his career.

    Niemi has been consistent all season for the Sharks, and his incredible performances have carried this team during its struggles scoring goals. San Jose ranks 23rd in goals scored, but they are still winning games because Niemi has been fantastic at even strength and on the penalty kill.

    Lundqvist has been exceptional this season for a Rangers team that played poorly at the start of the year and also battled some injuries to key players. His stats in March and April are quite impressive (1.93 GAA, .933 save percentage), but it's unlikely that he will win a second consecutive Vezina. However, it wouldn't be surprising if he was named as a finalist.

Maurice Richard Trophy: Top Goal Scorer

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    Leading Candidates for Maurice Richard Trophy (as of April 27)

    1) Alexander Ovechkin (WSH): 32 goals

    2) Steven Stamkos (TBL): 29 goals

    3) John Tavares (NYI): 28 goals

    4) Jeff Carter (LAK): 26 goals

    5) Jiri Tlusty (CAR): 23 goals

    We have a two-man race for the Maurice Richard Trophy.

    Ovechkin has dominated opponents over the last month with 22 goals scored in his last 20 games. The Capitals captain has an astounding 14 goals in 12 games this month, including a goal and an assist in Tuesday's division-clinching victory versus the Winnipeg Jets. It's hard to imagine Ovechkin failing to win the third Richard Trophy of his career if he continues to score goals near or at his current pace.

    As for Stamkos, he has made a last-minute push in the Richard race with three goals in his last four games, but he has just one more game remaining to catch Ovechkin.

Art Ross Trophy: Top Scorer

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    Leading Candidates for Art Ross Trophy (as of April 27)

    1)  Martin St. Louis (TBL): 58 points (16 goals, 42 assists)

    2) Sidney Crosby (PIT): 56 points (15 goals, 41 assists)

    3) Steven Stamkos (TBL): 56 points (29 goals, 27 assists)

    4) Alexander Ovechkin (WSH): 54 points (32 goals, 22 assists)

    5) Patrick Kane (CHI): 54 points (22 goals, 32 assists)

    It's really amazing that Crosby is T-2nd in the NHL scoring race with just a couple of games remaining in the regular season after missing a quarter of the year with an injury.

    Stamkos and St. Louis are the two favorites to win the Art Ross Trophy, and since the Lightning play the Panthers (who rank 30th in GAA) in the team's final game of the season, these two superstars could add several more points to their final tally.

    St. Louis has one previous Art Ross win (2003-04) on his Hall of Fame resume, while Stamkos has never won this trophy.

Hart Trophy: Most Valuable Player

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    Top 5 Candidates for Hart Trophy (as of April 27)

    1) Alex Ovechkin (WSH): 32 goals, 22 assists

    2) John Tavares (NYI): 28 goals, 19 assists

    3) Sidney Crosby (PIT): 15 goals, 41 assists

    4) Jonathan Toews (CHI): 23 goals, 25 assists

    5) Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ): 20-11-6, .931 SV%, 2.03 GAA

    Ovechkin has scored at an incredible rate over the last month with 22 goals in the Capitals' last 20 games. Washington has a 15-4-2 record in that span, which has helped the team clinch the Southeast Division. Ovechkin's dominance is the main reason for the Capitals' surge since mid-March.

    Tavares is an intriguing candidate because his impressive offensive performance has been the driving force behind the New York Islanders clinching a playoff spot for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The young superstar ranks third in goals scored (28), he has tallied 47 points in 47 games and he's played a major role in the team's 17-6-3 record since the start of March.

    Crosby had the award locked up before he suffered a jaw injury on March 30, but after missing a quarter of the season (unless he returns before the playoffs), the Penguins star should not be the top candidate for the Hart. Pittsburgh is still winning games and scoring lots of goals without Crosby in the lineup because of its incredible skill and depth at forward, which was evident on Saturday when the Penguins defeated the Bruins 3-2 and Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal didn't play.

    Patrick Kane, Toews and Bobrovsky will also receive consideration as Hart Trophy candidates, but the three most likely finalists at the moment are Ovechkin, Crosby and Tavares.


    Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs in Boston.