Tuesday, June 21, 2011
2010-11 NHL Awards preview and predictions
Even though the Bruins won the most coveted trophy (Lord Stanley's Cup) in sports last Wednesday night, the NHL still has a plethora of individual awards to hand out tomorrow night in Las Vegas. Really is there a more appropriate place for the Bruins to continue their Stanley Cup Celebration tour? Especially after their performance at Foxwoods on Sunday night, where they racked up an already legendary $155,000 dollar bar tab.
Here are a list of nominees, as well as my prediction for the winner of each Award.
But first, here's a list of Awards that have either already been won, or will be awarded.
*Presidents Trophy - Awarded to team with the most points in the regular season.
Winner: Vancouver Canucks with 117 points.
*Prince of Wales Trophy - Eastern Conference Champions
Winner: Boston Bruins
*Clarence S. Campbell Trophy - Western Conference Champions
Winner: Vancouver Canucks
*Conn Smythe Trophy - Playoff MVP
Winner: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
*Art Ross Trophy - Player with the most points
Winner: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, 104 Points
*Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy - Most Goals Scored
Winner: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks, 50 Goals
*William M Jennings Trophy - Fewest Goals Allowed
Winners: Roberto Luongo and Corey Schnieder, Vancouver Canucks, 185 Goals Allowed
The Winners of the following awards will be announced tomorrow night:
*Vezina Trophy - Top Goaltender
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
All three nominees had great seasons but this award was locked up before the playoffs even began. Tim Thomas had one of the best statistical seasons of all time, a season that not only helped Boston win its first Stanley Cup in 39 years but also is right up there in the history of Boston sports. His .938 save percentage is a single season record and his 35 wins and nine shutouts carried the Bruins during times when they were offensively challenged. Tim Thomas will win the Vezina to join former Flyers great Bernie Parent as the only players in NHL history to win the Vezina, Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup in a single year.
The pick: Tim Thomas
*Frank J Selke Trophy - Best Defensive Forward
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
An award that I can see Patrice Bergeron winning one day, the Selke trophy is pretty hard to quantify. Three key statistics can shed some light on just how important each forward is to their teams' defense. Kesler and Toews have similar numbers but the name of the game is to stop the opposing team from scoring. Kesler was a +24 and won faceoffs at a 54% clip. Toews was a +25 and won 57% of his faceoffs. I'm giving the award to Kesler because his team allowed the least amount of goals in the regular season and he was one of the only Canucks to not completely turtle in the Finals.
The pick: Ryan Kesler
*Calder Memorial Trophy - Best Rookie
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Michael Grabner, New York Islanders
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
Heading into this year, most analysts had Taylor Hall penciled in for the Calder Trophy and while the first overall pick had a great year, an injury from a fight sidelined him for the last part of the regular season. All three finalists had great years, led by Grabner's 34 goals, good for eighth best in the league. The most consistent rookie had to be Jeff Skinner, who scored 31 goals, but also showed better playmaking ability with 32 assists. That's impressive considering that Couture played with much better players. Couture may have more name recognition, but i'm giving the Calder to Skinner.
The pick: Jeff Skinner
*James Norris Memorial Trophy - Top Defenseman
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
The world got to see just how dirty Zdeno Chara was throughout this entire postseason, culminating with his absolute shutdown of the Sedin twins in the Finals. However, voters may be swayed by Lidstrom's ridiculous 62 points. However, his -2 rating may turn voters towards Big Z, who led the league in that category with a +33. If this was Lidstrom's last season (he just extended for one year) I think they would send him off with the trophy but I think this is Chara's award to lose for the next three to four years.
The pick: Zdeno Chara
*Jack Adams Award - Top Head Coach
Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins
Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators
Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks
This is another race that is no contest. Dan Bylsma's team lost two of the top five players in the league mere weeks apart from one another in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Losing most of your offensive firepower would doom most teams but Bylsma took control of his team and got the best out of them, which was a four seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If Crosby and Malkin were healthy, I would imagine the Bruins' playoff run would have been a little different.
The pick: Dan Bylsma
Hart Memorial Trophy - League MVP
Nominees: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Playoff performance aside, Sedin is probably the favorite to win the Hart trophy this year, but this season should spark up the old debate of "define MVP". If you are going for the player who is most valuable to his team, it's gotta be Perry. His 50 goals led the league, as did his 11 game-winning goals. Not to mention that his team is considerably less talented than the Western Conference Champion Canucks. Take Perry off the Ducks and they would suck ass. Perry should also win the Ted Lindsay award for MVP as voted by the players.
The pick: Corey Perry