NHL Awards 2019: Ceremony Date, Start Time, Candidates and Predictions

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2019

Nikita Kucherov had a brilliant year for the Lightning and should win the Hart Trophy as the league MVP.
Nikita Kucherov had a brilliant year for the Lightning and should win the Hart Trophy as the league MVP.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The 31 NHL teams are in full preparation mode for the draft this weekend as they prepare for the 2019-20 campaign.

With the regular season and playoffs complete after the St. Louis Blues locked up their first Stanley Cup with victory over the Boston Bruins, the awards for 2018-19 are ready to be handed out.

The NHL will present its annual prizes Wednesday night in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. ET., and the event will be televised by NBCSN.

Here's our look at the major awards and predictions on who will earn the hardware.


Hart Trophy (MVP)

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning; Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Prediction: Full respect to Crosby and McDavid, but this is Kucherov's year.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were sensational during the regular season, and he was the best player on the team.

The 26-year-old scored 41 goals and had 87 assists to lead the league with 128 points. That figure is impressive enough, and Kucherov is creative with the puck in the zone and will not hesitate to shoot.

The Russian will find the corners of the net, and he will make every shot a challenge for opposing goaltenders.


Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks; Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames; Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Prediction: Burns is going to light up the scoreboard most years, and Hedman has the kind of all-around ability to dominate in his own zone and make key plays in the offensive zone. When it comes to the 2018-19 regular season, though, the nod has to go to Giordano.

The Calgary Flames star, 35, had a remarkable all-around season with 17 goals and 57 assists, and he was a league-best +39 this term.

Giordano is a remarkable puck-mover who sees the ice and is also dependable in his own zone. The Flames were a first-place team this year in the Pacific Division, and while they fell in the postseason, the Canadian keyed their regular-season success.


Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender)

Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars; Robin Lehner, New York Islanders; Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

This may be the toughest category of the night because a great case can be made for all three candidates.

Bishop ranks highest in save percentage, as he had a mark of .934, compared to .930 for Lehner and .925 for Vasilevskiy. The Dallas Stars netminder had a 1.98 goals-against average while Lehner was at 2.13 and Vasilevskiy finished the year at 2.40.

Tampa Bay's Vasilevskiy led the league with 39 wins, while Bishop had 27 and Lehner had 25. Bishop led the trio with seven shutouts, while Vasilevskiy and Lehner both had six.

Prediction: Give the edge to Bishop by a slight margin. Coming in with a GAA under 2.00 is notable, and he deserves the honor in a season in which he excelled even though he battled injuries.


Selke Trophy (Best defensive forward)

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; Ryan O'Reilly, St. Louis Blues; Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators-Vegas Golden Knights

Bergeron has become associated with this award after winning it four times, and he ranks alongside Hall of Famer Bob Gainey as the best defensive forward of the expansion era.

The award went to Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings last season, so the voters may return it to Bergeron this year.

O'Reilly had a brilliant defensive year and was even better in the postseason, while Stone did a fine job with Ottawa before he went to Vegas at the trade deadline.

Bergeron won 56.6 percent of his faceoffs, O'Reilly won 56.9 percent, while Stone is a winger who took just a few faceoffs during the regular season.

Prediction: Look for Bergeron to win his fifth Selke Trophy and break the tie with Gainey for the most awards in NHL history.


Calder Trophy (Best rookie)

Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues; Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres; Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

Both Dahlin and Pettersson were major assets for their teams, and while Binnington was called up midway through the season, he keyed the St. Louis Blues' charge from the worst record in the league January 3 to becoming a playoff team. 

Prediction: Even though this award does not include playoff performance, Binnington deserves the honor.


Jack Adams Award (Best coach)

Craig Berube, St. Louis Blues; Barry Trotz, New York Islanders; Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning

Berube would run away with this award if it included playoff performances. Trotz did a brilliant job turning the Islanders into a playoff team, while Cooper led the best team in the regular season. This will be a tight, three-way race.

Prediction: Trotz left the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals at the end of the 2017-18 season and turned what had been an ordinary Islanders team into a strong playoff side. He is a deserving winner.


Other awards

Lady Byng (Most gentlemanly player): Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames

Masterton Trophy (Dedication to hockey): Robin Lehner, New York Islanders

King Clancy Memorial (Leadership on and off ice): Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

Mark Messier Award (Leadership): Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers-Nashville Predators

General Manager of the Year: Doug Armstrong, St. Louis Blues