NHL

NHL Awards 2014 Winners: Players with Best Chance to Repeat in 2015

In this photo provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins poses with the Ted Lindsay Award for being voted most outstanding player in the league by the players, the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring points, and the Hart Memorial Trophy which recognizes the most valuable player to his team, at the 2014 NHL Awards at Wynn Las Vegas. Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Steve Spatafore)
STEVESPATAFORE2014/Associated Press
Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

Hockey fans witnessed Sidney Crosby's coronation as the MVP of the NHL for the second time in his career on June 24. Will they see the Pittsburgh Penguins star take a third Hart Trophy this time next year?

That's the question that will be on everyone's mind as the league shifts from awards season to the whirlwind offseason. 

Taking home hardware at the end of the season is a difficult task. Defending that trophy by repeating with another award-winning season is the kind of thing that builds a legacy. 

Here's a look at all the big winners from Monday night along with a look at the winners with the best shot at repeating their excellent seasons again in 2015. 

2014 NHL Award Winners
AwardWinner
Hart Memorial TrophySidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
James Norris Memorial TrophyDuncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks)
Vezina Trophy Tuukka Rask (Boston Bruins)
Jack Adams Award Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche)
Bill Masterton Memorial TrophyDominic Moore (New York Rangers)
Calder Memorial TrophyNathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)
Frank J. Selke TrophyPatrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
Lady Byng Memorial TrophyRyan O'Reilly (Colorado Avalanche)
Ted Lindsay AwardSidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Mark Messier Leadership AwardDustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings)
NHL Foundation Player Award Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
NHL General Manager of the Year Award Bob Murray (Anaheim Ducks)
NBCSN Broadcast

Ryan O'Reilly—Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

John Locher/Associated Press

In terms of margin of victory, it didn't get much more convincing than the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Given to "the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability," per NHL.com, O'Reilly was a runaway winner. 

Colorado Avalanche PR passed along the lopsided voting results:

O'Reilly was the perfect blend of excellent and clean play on the ice to win the award. In addition to posting a career-high 64 points on the season, he only accrued one penalty all season.

His remarkable play was a big factor in the resurgent Avalanche season. Colorado—who also saw Nathan MacKinnon and coach Patrick Roy take home trophies—won 52 games. 

O'Reilly is sure to be the odds-on favorite to win this award again next season for a variety of reasons. First, with Roy back at the helm as the coach and MacKinnon looking to capitalize on a stellar rookie campaign, the Avs will continue to get better. Secondly—at 23 years old—O'Reilly's best hockey is still in front of him. 

Finally, the Lady Byng Trophy has historically had multi-time winners. Heading into this season, Martin St. Louis had won three in the last four years. Prior to St. Louis, Pavel Datsyuk won the award in four consecutive seasons starting in 2005. 

 

Tuukka RaskVezina Trophy

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 24:  Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins poses with the Vezina Trophy during the 2014 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on June 24, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins were another team that was well-represented at the awards ceremony. In addition to Patrice Bergeron earning two trophies, Tuukka Rask was given the prestigious Vezina Trophy for being the best goalie in the league. 

It's an honor that Rask should be favored to win again next season. 

The 27-year-old was brilliant for the Bruins this season. His .930 save percentage and 2.04 goals-against average were first and second in the league, respectively, and his contributions made the Bruins one of the elite teams in the league. 

What's more, this was Rask's first season as a true full-time starter. Looking ahead to next season, that bodes well for his ability to become the first repeat Vezina winner since Martin Brodeur in 2007 and 2008. 

The fact he plays for the Bruins doesn't help either. As ESPN Stats and Info points out, the East Coast team has made a habit of producing Vezina winners recently:

With a solid supporting cast and even better play in the postseason (1.99 GAA, .928 save percentage), there's no reason to believe that Rask won't continue to be dominant in Boston. 

 

Sidney Crosby—Hart Memorial Trophy

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 24:  Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins speaks after winning the Hart Memorial Trophy during the 2014 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on June 24, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Highlighting the awards ceremony was Sidney Crosby's official return as the league's biggest star. The NHL Public Relations Twitter account broke down the vote and Crosby's qualifications on the season:

Back when Crosby won his first Hart Trophy, it was assumed this would be a common occurrence. However, as Dan Rosen of NHL.com points out, Crosby's on-ice ability hasn't been the only thing holding him back from repeating as a Hart Trophy winner:

With Crosby finally able to play a season without suffering a major injury, the Hart Trophy was clearly his to lose. Sean Leahy of Yahoo Sports tweeted out the voting results, and it wasn't all that close:

Repeating will be a difficult task for Crosby. Alexander Ovechkin was the last player to win back-to-back Hart Trophies in 2008 and 2009, but it's been historically difficult. But even with players like Ovechkin putting up strong numbers, Crosby was able to run away with the award, as noted by Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post:

Expect a healthy Crosby to once again be difficult to beat for the trophy if he's able to approach the same numbers he put up this year. 

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