NHL Awards. There is really only one that matters, but they are a great way to celebrate the performances of athletes all across the National Hockey League.
Despite being a recent expansion franchise, Vegas Golden Knights have their own fair share of NHL Awards, from the Jack Adams to the Lady Byng in their history.
Today, I’m stealing an article idea from Florida Hockey Now and going over which members of the 2022-23 Golden Knights could contend for every major NHL Award, from the Hart to the Rocket.
For every trophy, we’ll give a member or two from the Golden Knights who has the best shot at winning the award and then rank their chances on a scale of 1 to 10.
We’re also not going over team trophies like the President’s Trophy or Stanley Cup. There are a lot of trophies here, so we’ll go over these quickly. Let’s get started.
Vegas Golden Knights NHL Award Predictions
Hart Trophy- Most Valuable Player
VGK: Jack Eichel.
Jack Eichel could light up the scoreboard this season, truly refine his game, and become the superstar talent we all know he can be. If the preseason is anything to base things on, it looks like this will happen.
But Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Nathan Mackinnon, and Sidney Crosby exist. Eichel will have to put up one incredible season to surpass some of these talents and get his name back in the category of being a top-10 player in the National Hockey League.
Calder Memorial Trophy- Rookie of the Year
VGK: Brendan Brisson, Paul Cotter, or Kaedan Korczak.
I’m including every award here. So for rookie of the year, I had to throw Brendan Brisson, Paul Cotter, and Kaedan Korczak, all players who don’t even have a guaranteed spot in the lineup, to the wolves.
There’s a ridiculously slim chance they beat out guys like Owen Power, Matty Beniers, Kent Johnson, and Mason McTavish. I think most of them just want to play in the league, let alone compete for a Calder.
Vezina Trophy- Best Goaltender
Logan Thompson, Adin Hill, or Laurent Brossoit.
In the absence of Robin Lehner, one of Logan Thompson, Adin Hill, or Laurent Brossoit could go on a run for the Vezina Trophy; but it’s very unlikely.
Igor Sheskerkin, Andrei Vasilevisky, Connor Hellebyuck, and others all exist. The Golden Knights have won this award in the past, with Marc-Andre Fleury winning it in 2021.
Conn Smythe Trophy- Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP
Let’s hold our horses on this one. They have to make the playoffs first.
Norris Trophy- Best Defenseman
VGK: Alex Pietrangelo or Shea Theodore.
Okay, here’s one I could see happening. Both Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo quietly put together strong seasons amidst the Golden Knight’s playoff-less 2021-22 campaign. Theodore had a career-high 52 points, but nobody seemed to notice. Pietrangelo finished 15th in the 2022 Norris voting as well.
Like every other award on this list, they would be up against tough competition, such as Roman Josi, Cale Makar, Adam Fox, and Miro Heiskanen. Entering his 15th season in the NHL, Pietrangelo has never won the Norris, despite receiving votes eight times. Theodore was sixth in Norris voting in both 2020 and 2021.
Art Ross- Most Points, Regular Season
VGK: Jack Eichel.
Again, Eichel could dominate this upcoming season and score over 100 points. But the pick above him in the 2015 NHL draft, Connor McDavid, will likely score more. Not to mention his partner in crime Leon Draisaitl and a guy in Toronto named Auston.
Rocket Richard- Most Goals, Regular Season
VGK: Jack Eichel.
Sorry Jack, but Auston Matthews, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and the greatest goal scorer in NHL history, Alex Ovechkin, have you beat.
Selke Trophy- Best Defensive Forward
VGK: Mark Stone.
Now we’re talking. The health of captain Mark Stone will surely decide whether or not he is able to become the two-way force he once was in the NHL. Stone claims most of his back problems are gone after he had surgery this offseason. Let’s hope he can get back at the level of being a Selke nominee.
Last season snapped Stone’s nine-year streak of receiving Selke votes. He has never won the award.
Lady Byng Trophy- Most Gentlemanly Player
VGK: Zach Whitecloud, Alex Pietrangelo, William Karlsson.
I’m not sure how to project this one, to be totally honest with you. A lot of factors on the ice go into determining who is the most gentlemanly player in the entire league. Karlsson won the award in 2018.
Based on their demeanor and leadership qualities, I think Whitecloud and Pietrangelo deserve mention.
King Clancy Trophy- Humanitarian Contributions
VGK: Zach Whitecloud, Logan Thompson.
Again, I’m putting the chances here at an even 50/50 because there are so many routes the NHL could take with this. Two of the biggest contributors to the community for the Golden Knights recently have been Zach Whitecloud and Logan Thompson, and I think they both deserve credit for their efforts.
Jack Adams Award- Coach of the Year
VGK: Bruce Cassidy.
If the Golden Knights bounce back, make the playoffs, and go on a run, I think a lot of the credit will go to new head coach Bruce Cassidy. Team success seems to have a lot to do with the conversation around which coaches are worthy of the Jack Adams award.
Gerard Gallant won the coach of the year award with the Golden Knights in 2017-18.
Ted Lindsay Award- Most Oustanding Player (NHLPA)
VGK: Jack Eichel.
Essentially all of my comments about the Hart Trophy apply to Eichel here as this award is basically just the Hart Trophy, but for the NHLPA.
William Jennings Trophy- Goalie Duo With Lowest Goals Against
VGK: Logan Thompson, Adin Hill, and Laurent Brossoit.
Again, you never know; but the Golden Knights will likely be running with three goaltenders this upcoming season with Thompson, Hill, and Brossoit. But the award can only be given to a goalie duo.
Mark Messier Trophy- Leadership Award
VGK: Mark Stone, Alex Pietrangelo.
The stat was cooler when Max Pacioretty was on the team, but the Golden Knights have four NHL captains (current or former) in their organization. Jack Eichel, Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Weber (if he counts), and obviously Mark Stone. For draft pick Nick Suzuki is also the new captain of the Montreal Canadiens.
A lot of leadership from the Golden Knights, making their chances at this award pretty strong.
Jim Gregory Award- General Manager of the Year
VGK: Kelly McCrimmon.
Even if the Golden Knights make it all the way to the Stanley Cup in 2023, I think McCrimmon will be beaten out for the GM of the year award. He made little moves in the offseason that truly improved his team on paper. He’s relying on a less injury-prone bounce-back season from his team, which is fair.
We’ll have to wait and see what he does at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline and also how he concludes the ongoing contract dispute with Nicolas Hague.
Masterton Trophy- Dedication to Hockey
VGK: Phil Kessel.
Phil Kessel has the chance to become the all-time leader in consecutive regular-season NHL games played this season. He’ll set the record with 990 consecutive games played.
If that’s not dedication to hockey, I don’t know what is. Every NHL team gets to nominate one player for this award. Eichel was the team’s nominee last season after he came back from his neck surgery.