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NHL Awards Given Tonight – VHN Picks The Winners

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It’s an unusual year no matter how you slice it for the NHL. A bubble for teams just to complete the season. Constant testing for the COVID-19 virus. And now shoehorning the NHL Awards into a one-hour socially distanced show tonight before Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final.

The pandemic in no way diminishes the NHL’s awards. Even with a shortened regular season, you still had to be one of the best at your position to earn a nomination. VHN gazes into the crystal ball to see if we can predict the winners.

Please keep in mind these are regular season awards – voting was completed before the playoffs.

First the winners we already know:

Art Ross – Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Rocket Richard – tie Alex Ovechkin (WSH) and David Pastrnak (BOS)

Jennings Trophy – Tuuka Rask and Jaroslav Halak (BOS)

Lady Bing Trophy – Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Jim Gregory GM of the Year – Lou Lamoreillo (NYI)

Jack Adams – Bruce Cassidy (BOS)

Bill Masterton – Bobby Ryan (OTT)

Selke Trophy – Sean Couturier (PHI)

Messier Leadership Award – Mark Giordano (CGY)

King Clancy Trophy – Matt Dumba (MIN)

Willy O’Ree Award – Dampy Brar

Tonight’s NHL Awards

Calder Trophy – Rookie of the Year

Winner: Cale Makar (COL)

Runners Up: Quinn Hughes (VAN), Dominik Kubalik (CHI)

While Hughes puts up slightly better numbers, Makar is my choice because he can play all situations and his game displays an amazing maturity that belies his rookie status. If we’re not just awarding points (which happens more than I like) Makar was the best freshman.

Norris Trophy – Defenseman of the Year

Winner: Victor Hedman (TBL)

Runners Up: John Carlson (WSH), Roman Josi (NSH)

Speaking of awards where the winners tend to put up gaudy numbers, we have the Norris Trophy. The award should be for the best all-around defenseman but several times in recent years that has not been the case. That said, I think the contributions of Hedman to the Lightning are so important that he wins a close one against Carlson. Josi is an excellent defenseman and I love his game, but actually think he’s had better years previous to this when he deserved more recognition and possibly even a win. He deserves the recognition and winning would be a major step for markets like Nashville.

Vezina Trophy – Goaltender of the Year

Winner: Tuuka Rask (BOS)

Runners Up: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG), Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL)

Rask’s numbers are hard to ignore. He posted 26 wins, a 2.12 GAA and .929 save percentage. If we’re talking most valuable goalie to his team, Hellebuyck wins. Vasilevskiy is hampered by his slow start. Next year we might have a whole new crop of names here, but for now the old guard reigns.

Ted Lindsay Award – NHLPA-voted MVP

Winner: Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Runners Up: Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Artemi Panarin (NYR)

The doubt about whether Draisaitl was riding the coattails of Connor McDavid were removed this season when the latter went down with an injury and the former just kept right on scoring. Draisaitl finished the year as the league’s scoring leader and showed he has indeed broken through as an impact player on his own. If the playoffs counted, MacKinnon might have won instead.

Hart Trophy – NHL MVP

Winner: Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Runners Up: Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Artemi Panarin (NYR)

See above, because I think these two awards will match up this year. Players obviously see things differently because they’re on the ice, but I think both parties can agree on the monster year Draisaitl had.

Let us know who you think wins the NHL Awards in the comments!

 

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