Predictions: 2010 NHL Awards
The NHL has had an exciting season, culminating with a gala award ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 23.
The NHL smartly moved the awards ceremony to Las Vegas to further promote the game of hockey in the USA in one of its most visible and glamorous cities.
In this case what happens in Vegas will be heard all over the hockey world.
When the biggest stars in the NHL get together in June, the league will announce who is the 2010 winner of the The Hart, The Calder, The Selke, The Lady Byng, The Norris, The Lindsay, and The Jack Adams trophies among others.
The league will also recognize the winners of The Art Ross, The Rocket Richard, and The William Jennings Award. Henrik Sedin, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and Martin Broduer will be on hand to receive the hardware.
Hockey writers and the NHLPA will vote for who will be the recipients of the legendary awards.
The Ted Lindsay Trophy will go to the Most Valuable Player as judged by the players.
The NHL has shown superb marketing insight naming the trophy after the popular Lindsay.
He was a star performer and perennial Stanley Cup participant, Art Ross recipient and the architect of the very first players' union.
It is not often players such as Lindsay receive such accolades before they pass away, as Maurice Richard did soon after the naming of the Rocket Richard Trophy given to the NHL's top goal scorer.
A few times in past years, the players have selected a different trophy recipient than the hockey writers who determine the Hart winner. With the name change, the Ted Lindsay Trophy becomes a much more important award.
In addition, the Art Ross and Rocket Richard winners have already been determined and those awards will be handed over to their respective winners at the Las Vegas gala.
Unlike in previous years when Alex Ovechkin, Crosby and Nicklas Lindstrom were all but assured to receive Hart consideration and the Norris.
This year the selection process could prove far more interesting.
Several players such as Henrik Sedin of Vancouver and Drew Doughty of Los Angeles have surprised beat writers all season with their excellent performance game in and game out.
This ceremony will debut another new award, The Messier leadership award (named after Hall of Fame forward Mark Messier) which is given to the NHL Captain displaying the most leadership skills.
Messier participated in several Stanley Cup wins with Edmonton and New York, guiding the New York Rangers to their first cup in 54 years.
Here are the players who should be the award recipients in June:
The Hart Memorial Trophy: Sidney Crosby
The Hart Trophy has a wonderful history. It is annually awarded to the NHL's MVP for regular season excellence.
It has continually been awarded to the very best ever to play the game; names like Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Alex Ovechkin,
The 2010 nominees are Sidney Crosby, Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin.
Sometimes the very dominance of a player makes the award a no-brainer, but this year a case can be made for each player. Sedin had a breakout year and guided his team to the playoffs with excellent playmaking.
Crosby improved his goal scoring and led his team back to the playoffs race. As captain, Crosby showed true leadership in overcoming early season mishaps.
Sedin scored 112 points while displaying the leadership that delighted and excited fans in Vancouver.
Ovechkin again showed his tremendous offensive arsenal and his throwback hitting techniques in leading the Capitals to the conference title.
Ovechkin missed several games but maintained the productivity lead.
Pick: Sidney Crosby
The James Norris Trophy: Drew Doughty
The James Norris Trophy has the distinction of being the one NHL award that tends to stay with a top performing player for multiple years.
Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, Ray Bourque and Nicklas Lidstrom all proved that to be true.
This year's finalists are Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith and Mike Green. A case can be made for each man for different reasons.
Green had a superb offensive season and has a lot of support because of his plus/minus performance for the Capitals. The negatives are the offensive dominance of the Capitals.
Keith has contributed greatly to Chicago's playoff run and Stanley Cup favorite position with his all-around defensive play.
Doughty has shown his tremendous offensive and defensive skills as a member of Team Canada and for the LA Kings, leading them to a playoff berth. Doughty is cool under extreme pressure with a tremendous upside. He could be a Norris recipient for years to come.
Pick: Drew Doughty
The Ted Lindsay Trophy: Henrik Sedin
The Ted Lindsay Trophy, formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson award, is awarded to the player judged by his peers to be the best in the league.
On several occasions this award has been given to the Hart Trophy recipient but a few times it has been awarded to a different player.
This year's finalists are The Big Three: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Henrick Sedin.
Each player could easily be selected as the winner without much debate, but the choice is Sedin, who had a breakout year.
Pick: Henrik Sedin
The Lady Byng Trophy: Pavel Datsyuk
The Lady Byng is awarded to the NHL's most gentlemanly player.
Great players like Stan Mikita and Gilbert Perreault have received it in the past.
Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings has also been a winner of the award.
This year's nominees are Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and Datsyuk.
Datsyuk did not score as many points as St. Louis, but he did help his team surge into the playoffs.
Pick: Pavel Datsyuk. Sorry, Martin.
The Frank J. Selke Trophy: Pavel Datsyuk
The Selke is awarded to the NHL's best defensive forward.
Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, and Jordan Staal are the three finalists and again each player has a good case. Datsyuk contributed the most overall.
The pick: Pavel Datsyuk
The Calder Trophy: Jimmy Howard
The Calder Trophy is awarded to the NHL's best first-year player. The nominees this year are Matt Duchene, Tyler Myers and Jimmie Howard.
2010 may be the year of Jimmie Howard, who took over the starting rotation and led the Red Wings into the playoffs with sparkling saves and acrobatic goaltending.
It doesn't matter that Howard is an older rookie, he was simply the best.
Pick: Jimmie Howard
The Jack Adams Trophy: Dave Tippett
The Jack Adams Award is given to the NHL's top coach.
The nominees this Barry Trotz, Joe Sacco, and Dave Tippett.
Nashville made the playoffs, as did Colorado. Each team surprised many NHL scribes with their determination.
Nashville, Colorado and Phoneix all have a case but Dave Tippett took a team that many considered the joke of the league and instilled in them a winning attitude and discipline.
The team has no superstars, but their work effort was amazing.
Pick: Dave Tippett
General Manager of the Year: Don Maloney
The role of GM on an NHL team has evolved immensely in the era of salary caps and marketing.
General Managers are now responsible for regular season success, playoff success and the general marketing of the team.
Legendary GMs like Emile Francis of the New York Rangers counted hockey sticks after every road game. Today's GMs spend a lot of time counting salary cap dollars. It's difficult to put a successful team on ice while maintaining a payroll that moves with the player's contracts.
This year the nominees are Don Maloney, George McPhee, and Dave Poile.
The Phoenix Coyotes surprised everyone with their spirited play and overall success.
Pick: Don Maloney, who accomplished a lot with a modest crew.
The Vezina Trophy: Ryan Miller
The Vezina finalists as the league's best goaltender are Ryan Miller, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Martin Broduer.
Ryan Miller displayed superb skills in the Olympics and during the regular season.
Pick: Ryan Miller
The Bill Masterston Trophy: Jed Ortmeyer
The Masterston is awarded to the player who has displayed the most dedication to the game. This year's nominees are Kurtis Foster of Tampa, Jose Theodore of Washington, and Jed Ortmeyter of San Jose.
Pick: Ortmeyer, who overcame immense obstacles to help move San Jose past their playoff jinx and contributed all season long.