NHL: 2010-2011 Toronto Maple Leafs' Midseason Awards
With the All-Star break here, there is no better time for general managers and coaches to reevaluate their teams during the season. Part of reevaluating an NHL team is looking at the team leaders in certain statistical categories, plus their act on and off the ice as a person.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have had many good moments, such as two 4-game winning streaks and multiple three of four stretches, as well as low moments, such as goalless streaks and losing 11 of 12 early in the season.
During the entire season, Leafs players have also faced their own good and bad moments, most notably Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski, both of whom are listed below.
Without further adieu, here are my choices for the 2010-2011 NHL awards, Maple Leafs style.
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Hart Memorial Trophy: Clarke MacArthur
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The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the league's most valuable player. For the Maple Leafs, Clarke MacArthur has been exactly that.
MacArthur may not be the flashiest player in the league, but at a salary of just more than $1 million, the 25-year-old leads the Maple Leafs with 40 points in 49 games. His 15 goals put him fourth on the team, while his 25 assists put him second behind only Tomas Kaberle.
With 40 points certainly not being MVP material, MacArthur earns the award for other reasons as well, such as hard work and consistency. Instead of running away with the spotlight after scoring five goals in the first four games, MacArthur embraced it and took it in stride, helping him find his way in Toronto.
His great work ethic also makes him the Leafs' MVP. He has never shown up late for a practice, meeting, or game, and realizes the importance of such events. He also realizes the Maple Leafs' current stance in the playoffs, which has helped him step up and lead his teammates.
If MacArthur is with Toronto next season, look for him to be named an assistant captain.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Jean-Sebastien Giguere
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded at the end of each season to the player who best exhibits outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct, while maintaining a high standard of playing ability.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere is that man for the Maple Leafs.
Giguere, 33, is currently in his second season with Toronto. Since joining the team almost one year to the day, Giguere has played great while splitting time with fellow goalie Jonas Gustavsson.
This season, Giguere has played in just as many games as Gustavsson, who is struggling mightily this season. Rather than bickering, whining and complaining, Giguere has taken his current role with the team in stride.
As for the high standard of playing ability, you may not consider a .896 save percentage that great, but a 2.80 goals against average on a team that allows the sixth most goals against per game in the entire NHL is rather impressive.
The worst that could happen is Giguere is asked to waive his no-trade clause at the trade deadline, and he agrees to do so out of respect.
Vezina Trophy: Jean-Sebastien Giguere
The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the league's top goaltender after every season. For the Maple Leafs, there is no doubt Giguere would win the Vezina as well.
As previously mentioned, Giguere has a 2.80 goals against average on a team that allows the sixth most goals against per game in the entire NHL (3.06). His save percentage of .896 could be called mediocre, but no matter what you call it, it is still better than Gustavsson's .890.
You might be asking yourself, "Why not James Reimer?"
Well, the answer his simple: he has not played enough games to prove he could remain the team's top goalie. In eight games and seven starts this season, Reimer has a record of 4-3-0, a save percentage of .933 and a goals against average of 2.24. He is on pace to play in just 13 games.
Calder Memorial Trophy: James Reimer
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Although Reimer hasn't played in enough games to be legitimately considered as the Leafs' Vezina Trophy winner, he has played in enough games to be considered the Leafs' Calder Memorial Trophy winner, which is awarded to the league's top rookie.
Reimer, 22, has played in eight games this season. In those eight games he has posted a 4-3-0 record, a 2.24 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. He has lost just three of seven starts this season and went 4-1-0 in his first five starts, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 11.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native never played in an NHL game prior to this season, making him eligible for rookie honors this year.
Art Ross Trophy: Clarke MacArthur
The Art Ross Trophy is awarded annually to the player who leads the league in total points scored.
At the All-Star break, MacArthur holds that title.
In 49 games, MacArthur has scored 15 goals and assisted on another 25 for a total of a team-leading 40 points. Those impressive statistics put him on pace for a career-high 25 goals, 41 assists and 66 points.
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Luke Schenn
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The James Norris Memorial Trophy is one of the most recognized individual awards in hockey. Every year, it is awarded to the league's top defenseman, not based on points and statistics, but all-around play.
In 49 games this season, Maple Leafs' defenseman Luke Schenn has been the most consistent one on the team. He has been entrusted by coach Ron Wilson to shut down some of the league's top players on many nights, including the likes of Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.
His minus-two rating is tied for second on the team among defensemen who have played in at least 12 games.
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Jonas Gustavsson
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Gustavsson has been exactly that for the Maple Leafs, having to go through his toughest season yet in the NHL.
This season, his sophomore season, Gustavsson has a record of 6-13-2, a goals against average of 3.29 and a save percentage of .890 in 23 games. Not once has he let that get to him off the ice, at least not around the media. He even didn't shoot down the idea of going down to the American League for a conditioning stint if talked about with Brian Burke.
Despite having his worst season yet, Gustavsson ignores the annoyed fans and continues to work hard to get his game back on track.
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Mike Brown
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The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. There is absolutely no doubt Mike Brown is that forward for the Maple Leafs.
Brown, who leads the Leafs with a plus-three rating, has been a staple on the Buds' penalty kill and energy line. Earlier in the season, Brown broke his hand after blocking a shot while on the penalty kill, stayed on the ice and blocked another shot. He then missed multiple weeks before returning, getting suspended for three games and picking up where he left off before he broke his hand.
Although his two goals and three assists aren't flashy stats, no one can argue that he should not be the Maple Leafs' Selke award winner for the first half of the 2010-2011 season.
King Clancy Memorial Trophy: Phil Kessel
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The King Clancy Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities both on and off the ice while making a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.
Phil Kessel was given $20,000 to donate to a charity of his choice after being chosen last during the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, and he decided to donate that money to a cancer foundation. Kessel, then 19 years old, beat testicular cancer in 2006.
This season, Kessel has been one of the primary leaders on the Leafs, despite not wearing an "A" or a "C" on the front of his jersey. It always seems like Toronto plays well as a team when he is doing well himself and poorly when he is playing poorly himself.
Kessel also appeared to be up beat about being chosen last in the Fantasy Draft, as he went up to the stage laughing and smiling. This serves as a wake-up call for the Maple Leafs that they can't always be acting so down.
Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy: Mikhail Grabovski
The Maurice Richard Trophy is awarded annually to the league's top goal scorer. For the Maple Leafs, Mikhail Grabovski is that player.
In 48 games this season, Grabovski has scored a team-leading and a career-high-tying 20 goals, which puts him on pace for a career-high of 33.
Awards Left Out
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Conn Smythe Trophy: awarded to the MVP of his team for the playoffs.
Jack Adams Award: awarded to the league's best coach.
Ted Lindsay Award: awarded to the NHL's most outstanding player as selected by members of the NHLPA.
William M. Jennings Trophy: awarded to the goaltender(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against in the regular season.