It is that time of year again. The NHL Awards are set to take place Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
Here are my predictions for who I feel will win each award:
The three finalists for the Vezina are Pekka Rinne, Connor Hellebuyck, and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
At age 35, Pekka Rinne had an incredible season earning 42 wins, eight shutouts, a goals against average of 2.31, and a save percentage of .927.
In Winnipeg Connor Hellebuyck came up clutch earning himself 44 wins, six shutouts, a goals against average of 2.36, and a save percentage of .924.
Andrei Vasilevskiy also earned himself 44 wins, tied Rinne with eight shutouts, add to that a goals against average of 2.62, and a save percentage of .920.
In my opinion, just the fact that Rinne was able to attain these stats at the age of 35 is extremely impressive, so much so that I think that will get him his first Vezina in his career.
Hart Memorial Trophy:
The finalists for the Hart are Taylor Hall, Anze Kopitar, and Nathan MacKinnon.
In his twelfth season, Kopitar had a bounce-back year with 35 goals and 57 assists as he helped the Kings fight their way into the playoffs.
Former Oiler, Taylor Hall, helped the New Jersey Devils get into the playoffs with his 26 game point streak, 39 goals, and 54 assists.
In Colorado, MacKinnon played a key role in the Avalanche having a bounce-back season after finishing in last place the year before with 39 goals and 58 assists in 74 games.
Neither Colorado nor New Jersey would have made the playoffs had it not been for MacKinnon and Hall leading the way. However, the fact that Hall had a 41-point lead over the second highest scorer on the Devils will probably get him the Hart Trophy this year.
At first glance, these finalists, Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban and Viktor Hedman, seem to be extremely close in having the right to take the Norris this year. But when looking deeper at the numbers it becomes more clear who was the best defenseman this year.
Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings had a career-high 60 points with his 10 goals and 50 assists, along with a plus-minus of 23.
In Tampa Bay, Hedman had 17 goals, and 46 assists for a total of 63 points, along with a plus-minus of 32.
P.K. Subban helped the Predators take home the President’s Trophy this year with his 16 goals and 43 assists for a total of 59 points, with a plus-minus of 18.
In my opinion, Hedman has to take the Norris this year. He leads Doughty and Subban in almost every category and with a plus-minus of 32.
The finalists for the Selke Trophy are Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier and Anze Kopitar.
Four-time Selke Winner, Patrice Bergeron, scored 30 goals and 33 assists for a total of 63 points. More importantly as a defensive forward, Bergeron had a plus-minus of 21 and a faceoff percentage of 57.3 percent.
Flyers’ Sean Couturier had a plus-minus of 34, a faceoff percentage of 52.85 percent. Couturier also added 31 goals and 45 assists for a total of 76 points.
Kopitar scored a total of 92 points in his 35 goals, and 57 assists, along with a plus-minus of 21, and a faceoff percentage of 54.13 percent.
Although I would like to see Bergeron win his fifth Selke, Couturier’s plus-minus is very high. This is what will give Couturier the edge.
The three rookie finalists for the Calder are Brock Boeser, Clayton Keller and Mathew Barzal.
In his first year in Vancouver Boeser boasted 29 goals and 26 assists for a total of 55 points.
Barzal also had an impressive rookie year with the Islanders with 22 goals and 63 assists as he led all rookies with 85 points. Barzal is also the only of these finalists to have a positive plus-minus of one.
From Boston University, Keller made his mark with the Coyotes in his rookie season with 23 goals and 42 assists for a total of 65 points.
However, the fact that Barzal led all rookies in points and is the only one of these finalists with a positive plus-minus, I expect to see him take the Calder this year.
Ted Lindsay Trophy:
The Ted Lindsay Trophy is given to the most outstanding hockey player of that season.
This year’s finalists are Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid.
Connor McDavid is the only finalist who did not make the playoffs this season.
But he still led the league in points and took home his second straight Art Ross Trophy with a total of 108 points in 41 goals and 67 assists, along with a plus-minus of 20.
Taylor Hall recorded a point in 26 consecutive games and had a total of 93 points in 39 goals and 54 assists with a rating of 14.
Lastly, Nathan MacKinnon had a total of 39 goals, 58 assists and a plus-minus of 11.
I’m going to make a bold prediction and say that even though the Oilers did not make the playoffs this year, McDavid will take the Ted Lindsay Trophy this year.
There is no way one player should receive the blame for his team not making the playoffs. McDavid did his part. He led the entire league in points and has the best plus-minus of these three finalists.