The Carolina Hurricanes have had a great season. Finishing second in the Southeast Division for a second straight season. They finished in sixth in the Eastern Conference after being in eighth for most of the season. They broke out late and at one point was in fourth in the Eastern Conference before losing their last two games. Now. It's time to hand out are seasonal awards.
Best Forward: Eric Staal
Eric Staal has broken out as of late. In his last twenty games he has thirteen goals and sixteen assists (29 points) He is on a pace that would have him 53 goals and 65 assists (118 points). In those twenty games he has had two hat tricks, a plus-14 rating, and only six penalty minutes. He's currently second in the NHL in shots, fifth in goals, and eighth in powerplay goals. Eric Staal has shown his team leadership as of late!
Best Defenseman: Anton Babchuk
This one was a toss-up between Joe Corvo and Anton Babchuk, but one stat gives this one to Anton. Anton is plus-13 on the season while Joe Corvo is -1. Much like Eric Staal, Anton has been on fire late in the season. In Anton's last 22 games, he has 11 goals and 9 assists, a pace for 41 goals and 33 assists (74 points). In those 22 games, he is plus-12, seven powerplay goals, only four penalty minutes. A pace that would have him in the top of every single defenseman category (except Assists).
Breakout Star of the Year: Tuomo Ruutu
He's improved every single one of his stat categories, and broke out into a first line winger on the Canes line of Staal Cole and Ruutu. He ended the season third on the Canes in points, with 54, 26 goals and 28 assists and 10 power play goals. He also ended the season even for the first time in his career, the last time he had 40 or more points in a season was his rookie season, and he finished -31. Its nice to see that he has improved his defense a lot!
Team MVP: Cam Ward
Cam Ward once again has kept the Hurricanes into the playoff hunt. Just three seasons ago he was the Conn-Smythe winner for the Hurricanes in the playoffs as team MVP, and once again he is the Hurricanes team MVP. He is third in the league in wins, fifth in games played, six shutouts, and as of late, simply been on fire, only allowing two goals or more in two games in the last two months.