NHL Award Predictions

Matthew Hogan@MattNHLHoganAnalyst IMay 1, 2009

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 22:  Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings poses with the Norris Trophy backstage at the the NHL TV Awards Show at the Westin Grand on June 22, 2006 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

The NHL announced its nominees for this year’s award ceremony. The ceremony will be held June 18 in Las Vegas, but for those of you who cannot wait, here are some predictions about who will be taking home the hardware.

Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) – The nominees for the Calder Trophy are Columbus’ Steve Mason, Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, and Chicago's Kris Versteeg.

Mason’s numbers as a goalie were off the charts and also snagged him a nomination for the Vezina Trophy. He led the NHL in shutouts with 10 and also led Columbus to its first playoff appearance in franchise history.

Ryan led all rookies with 31 goals and 57 points. He finished with seven goals in the final seven games of the season and was a large reason why Anaheim sneaked into the playoffs.

Versteeg led all rookies with 31 assists and finished second to Ryan with 53 points. He also finished third in shorthanded scoring, making him as dangerous on the penalty-kill as on the power play.

Predicted Winner: Steve Mason

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Norris Trophy (best defender) – The nominees for the Norris Trophy are Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Washington’s Mike Green, and Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom.

This is Chara’s second straight nomination for the award. He finished with 19 goals and a +23 rating and led the NHL’s best defense.

This is Green’s first nomination for the award. He led all defenseman with 31 goals and 73 points despite missing 14 games due to injury. He is also the first defenseman to score 30 goals since the 1992-93 season.

Lidstrom has won six of the last seven Norris Trophies and is looking to grab his seventh overall on his 10th nomination. Arguably the best defender of the last decade, Lidstrom finished third among defenseman with 59 points.

Predicted Winner: Mike Green

Vezina Trophy (best goalie) – The nominees for the Vezina Trophy are Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, Columbus’ Steve Mason, and Boston’s Tim Thomas; all three are first time nominees.

Backstrom finished third among goalies with eight shutouts. He was also third in goals-against average behind only Mason and Thomas. However, he leads all three goalies in games played by a margin of 10 games.

The fact that Mason is a rookie will play to his advantage. Again, the fact that he led the league in shutouts and got his team into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history is only going to help his case.

Thomas led the league in goals-against average and save percentage and was a big reason for Boston’s success this season. The only thing that might stop Thomas from collecting the Vezina is that he only played in 54 games.

Predicted Winner: Tim Thomas

Hart Trophy (MVP) – The nominees for the Hart Trophy are Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.

Datsyuk is considered the best two-way forward in the league and was recently nominated for his second straight Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward. He also finished fourth in scoring with 97 points.

Malkin proved who the best player in Pittsburgh was this year and he did it by leading the team when Crosby was out. He also led the league in points (113) and assists (78).

Despite being double-teamed and triple-teamed game in and game out, Ovechkin managed to score 56 goals, 10 more than any other player. He also led the league in shots with 528; to put that in perspective, the next closest player had 372.

Predicted Winner: Alex Ovechkin