Pittsburgh Penguins Players with Best Chance to Win a League Award in 2014-15

Joseph Sykes@JoeSykes4Contributor IIIAugust 29, 2014

Pittsburgh Penguins Players with Best Chance to Win a League Award in 2014-15

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    Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby cleaned house at the 2014 NHL Awards in Las Vegas back in June, taking home three of the most coveted awards the league can hand out to a player.

    Trying to build of another historic year, Crosby has the chance to do it again this season as well, but a few other Penguins will be looking to claim a prized piece of hardware themselves.

    Here we listed three Pens who could take home a major league award next offseason based on past performances and who they will play with this year.

Hart Memorial Trophy

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    Awarded to Most Valuable Player

    Last year’s recipient: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

    Penguin likely to win it in 2015: Sidney Crosby

    You don’t have to look far back to witness the last time when a player won back-to-back MVP titles. Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin did it in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

    Crosby, who will have a lot of pressure riding on his shoulders this year due to captaining a team to season after season of disappointing playoff exits, has a great chance to bring home the Hart Memorial Trophy for the second straight year. With a variety of new talent to work with, Crosby has plenty of new options to work with, which could lead to some surprising results. 

    It seems the usual contenders for the trophy will be battling against Sid to prevent a repeat.

    People have debated recently that Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews may actually be the better hockey player than Crosby. While it is a very controversial subject, Toews has amassed a lot of achievements over his career, including two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe and a Selke Trophy, just to name a few. It is only time before he captures that elusive MVP award.

    In order to repeat, Crosby needs take a step back and examine what his new options are. If he can do that and reach the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, it will be hard to find another candidate worthy of the honor.

Art Ross Trophy

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    Awarded to player who amasses most points in the NHL

    Last year’s recipient: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

    Penguin likely to win it in 2015: Evgeni Malkin

    Predicting the Art Ross Trophy winner is easier than predicting the other two trophies listed in this article, mainly because it is an objective award. Still, before you can predict who wins, you have to take into account all the players that could rack up the most points in the league by the end of the regular season.

    Evgeni Malkin is the most likely Pen to win it, despite me saying that Crosby would in a past article. Malkin is playing with two new linemates after the departure of James Neal and Jussi Jokinen this offseason. Those three players made up one of the top lines in all of hockey last season, but now it is just a faded memory.

    While Malkin’s new linemates haven’t been formally announced, whoever they are will be feeding the Russian center more than Neal and Jokinen ever did. This means more points for him in the long run. As an already two-time Art Ross Trophy winner (2008-09, 2011-12), Malkin probably won’t eclipse the numbers he posted in those years (113 and 109 respectively).

    Still, Malkin will have a lot of success with this new offensive look, and we might see him in Vegas next June hoisting an important piece of hardware.

Norris Trophy

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    Awarded to league’s top defenseman

    Last year’s recipient: Duncan Keith, Chicago

    Penguin most likely to win it in 2015: Kris Letang

    Some may think this is a wild-card pick, others not, but Kris Letang has shown Norris Trophy-caliber play in the past. In 2013, the 27-year-old defenseman placed third in voting behind Minnesota’s Ryan Suter and the winner Montreal’s P.K. Subban.

    Due to recent struggles with injuries, as well as a stroke that sidelined for him for 10 weeks, Letang has a big question mark hanging over his head. That scares people, especially since he signed a contract extension last offseason that kicks in this year.

    Still, Letang knows a lot that is riding on him to succeed this year, and he needs to perform at an extremely high level to prove what he has to take. He is the type of guy that can put up a crazy amount of points as a defenseman like Erik Karlsson, who won it in 2013.

    Whatever the outcome for Letang, this season will define him for the rest of his career.