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If I Had An Award Ballot

With the regular season over it is time to reveal who I would pick as the winners and nominees of the major NHL awards, as I have done in years past.

Calder Trophy - 1. Gabriel Landeskog Colorado Avalanche 2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Edmonton Oilers 3. Adam Henrique New Jersey Devils  Here is when I picked Landeskog for the award.  He played a tough role for Colorado with a strong defensive component to his play and tied for the lead in rookie points.  Nugent-Hopkins would have won if he had been healthy all season, but as things happened he scored as many points as Landeskog with much weaker defensive play and defensive responsibility.

Selke Trophy - 1. Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins 2. David Backes St Louis Blues 3. Mike Fisher Nashville Predators  Here is where I picked Bergeron as the leader.  Bergeron played a tough defensive role and led the NHL in +/-.  Jonathan Toews was a frontrunner until concussions ended his season.

Adams Trophy - 1. Ken Hitchcock St Louis Blues 2. Barry Trotz Nashville Predators 3. Alain Vigneault Vancouver Canucks  Here is where I picked Hitchcock as the frontrunner.  Paul MacLean of Ottawa will get some consideration, but I think Ottawa’s improvement was most due to the players on the team and not coaching.  He is an example of the tendency to pick the coach of the most improved team as coach of the year.  Hitchcock’s team improved as well but it was much more clearly due to his coaching system than the development of young talent like Erik Karlsson in Ottawa.

Masterton Trophy - 1. Joffrey Lupul Toronto Maple Leafs 2. Tomas Fleischmann Florida Panthers 3. David Perron St Louis Blues Here is the very early point in the season I picked Lupul for this award.  His career looked in jeopardy a year or two ago and he came back and was an all star player this year.  Max Pacioretty will likely get a nomination and may even win this award after his high profile injuries after a Zdeno Chara hit last year but unlike the nominees there was never a point when it was unclear if he would be able to come back and complete his NHL career.

Lady Byng Trophy - 1. Brian Campbell Florida Panthers 2. Jordan Eberle Edmonton Oilers 3. Loui Eriksson Dallas Stars Here is where I picked Campbell for this award.  I think he will be overlooked as he is not among the top scoring players in the league, but Campbell should win.  He plays defence, which is a tougher position to be penalty-free than forward yet he managed on six penalty minutes on the season and was the Florida Panthers MVP.  He finished tied for second in scoring among defencemen in the league.  The NHL has not had a defenceman winner of the Lady Byng in decades.  Campbell is a good candidate who should end the drought but probably won’t.

Norris Trophy - 1. Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins 2. Shea Weber Nashville Predators 3. Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators  Here is where I gave Chara the lead in this race.  I think many voters will give Karlsson more support than I have due to his offensive numbers but he was clearly beaten defensively by Chara and Weber.

Vezina Trophy - 1. Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers 2. Mike Smith Phoenix Coyotes 3. Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings Here is where I thought Lundqvist took the lead.  While all three of these players posted similar numbers, Lundqvist did it in higher scoring division and conference so he stands out as the should be winner.

Hart Trophy - 1. Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins 3. Steve Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning 3. Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins Here is where Malkin took the lead and held it.  He is the runaway top scorer in a year where the top defencemen and goaltenders were far closer races.  The idea of a “big three” top NHL players with Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin is supported by his season, although Crosby will have to stay healthy and Ovechkin will have to pick up his game in the future to keep this going.

First All Star Team - Ilya Kovalchuk New Jersey Devils Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins Shea Weber Nashville Predators Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers

Second All Star Team - James Neal Pittsburgh Penguins Steve Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning Marian Gaborik New York Rangers Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators Alex Pietrangelo St Louis Blues Mike Smith Phoenix Coyotes

Third All Star Team - Scott Hartnell Philadelphia Flyers Jason Spezza Ottawa Senators Marian Hossa Chicago Blackhawks Ryan Suter Nashville Predators Brian Campbell Florida Panthers Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings

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No Manny Malhotra for Masterton (even a nomination)?

Like Lupul, it looked like he would never play again.

Posted by Mike from Toronto on 04/08/12 at 04:09 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Looking at your all star teams, I’m left convinced that you’re one of those people who just see Claude Giroux listed as a RW on most sites, completely oblivious to the fact that he’s a center and plays exclusively at center. But then, that would fall completely in line with the rest of your READING of hockey instead of actually WATCHING it.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 04/08/12 at 07:00 PM ET

phillyphever's avatar

No love for Read in the Calder or Giroux in the Hart?

Posted by phillyphever on 04/08/12 at 08:23 PM ET


Yikes. Swap Smith and Quick and I think your award selections and order is basically flawless, imo.

Not much to say about the AST selections, either beyond that Giroux should be in Spezza’s spot, the RWs should be bumped up one team and, maybe Sharp should go on team 3 (if he still plays wing, that is. I’m not sure what his specific position is these days).

Posted by larry from pitt on 04/08/12 at 10:30 PM ET


Hard to believe St. Louis nominated Elliot for the Masterson over Perron. I think he’d make a great finalist, let alone candidate.

Posted by JBM on 04/09/12 at 02:58 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The Masterton is always done poorly.  Potential winners are often not nominated by their team because a good guy that the media likes was available.  Typically the good guy gives great interviews and is a borderline player who didn’t give up when it looked like he wasn’t going to have an NHL career.  Having trouble making the NHL and not giving up is a common enough story that it gets no consideration for the Masterton aside from an ill-advised team nomination. 

Brian Elliott kept playing even though it looked like his career might be over after the way he stunk the joint up last year.  David Perron missed over a seasn to a concussion.  Is that not more Masterton-worthy than having a good year after a stinky one where Elliott nearly played himslef out of the league?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/09/12 at 03:05 AM ET


Um, did you actually follow the Pacioretty story?!? He had a broken neck to go with that concussion, there was very much doubt that he’d ever play again, let alone live a “normal” life. 

Either way, this posting once again proves that you don’t actually know a lot about hockey and I can be happy that you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever will have a vote.

Posted by Harald on 04/09/12 at 12:41 PM ET


Your comments on the Masterton really do reflect your total and complete ignorance about the sport.  The trophy is also not awarded to “the guy who nearly died or lost his career and then came back.”  It’s awarded to the player who shows the most perseverance in the face of adversity. Why don’t you educate yourself before you blog, because you really just demonstrate your absolute and totally complete ignorance of hockey every time you post.

Posted by Harald on 04/09/12 at 12:49 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


You show more perseverence and dedication by coming back from an injury that is career threatening than one (even a high profile one) that isn’t.  I suggest that the reason you claim I don’t know anything about the Max Pacioretty story (which is a clear falsehood if you bother to read that I wrote about it when it happened) because you know nothing about Joffrey Lupul, Tomas Fleischmann or David Perron and you do not know why I would nominate them in front of Pacioretty.  The hostility in your comments takes away from your point (if you have one).

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/09/12 at 02:09 PM ET


The trophy is also not awarded to “the guy who nearly died or lost his career and then came back.”

One time Daneyko won it for not getting any DUIs in an entire calendar year.

Posted by larry from pitt on 04/09/12 at 04:01 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

... and one time Laperriere won it despite not playing any games that year.  The Masterton Trophy problems go beyond the nomination process.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/09/12 at 05:14 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

I’m surprised Matt Cooke isn’t getting talked about more for the Masterton.  The guy completely changed his game to keep himself out of trouble after being suspended for 18 games last year and had 19 goals, 38 points and only 44 PIMs.

That’s perseverance and dedication to the game in a pretty big way.

Also, no mention of Pietrangelo for the Norris?  12 goals, 51 points (8th and 5th in the league amongst d-men, respectively) played huge minutes (11th in minutes, total, 16th in average TOI per game total and on the PK) and went up against other teams’ best lines a lot of the time.  Add into that the fact that the Blues gave up the least amount of goals in the league this year, and I think there’s a really good case that can be made for him.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 04/09/12 at 10:31 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


Despite the confusion about exactly what the Masterton Trophy is given for, nobody (aside from you) has ever suggested it is given for reducing your penalty minute total.  Although it dawns on me you might be able to make a dishonest argument about it as Ian Laperriere won it last year with a career low 0 PIMs grin

It seems you are making an argument that Matt Cooke should win the Lady Byng, except that isn’t a good argument.  Several players have more points and fewer penalty minutes than Cooke.  Most of them are better Byng candidates.

As for Pietrangelo, I list him as the second defenceman on my second all star team - that would imply I have him 4th for the Norris.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/10/12 at 12:35 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Despite the confusion about exactly what the Masterton Trophy is given for, nobody (aside from you) has ever suggested it is given for reducing your penalty minute total.  Although it dawns on me you might be able to make a dishonest argument about it as Ian Laperriere won it last year with a career low 0 PIMs

Oh come on.  The Masterton is given to “the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication” to hockey.  It takes perseverance and dedication to completely change the way you play the game, I think, and that’s exactly what Cooke accomplished this year…and he kept his nose almost completely out of trouble.  I’m sure you see what I’m getting at.

I’m not even saying he should win it…but you don’t see these types of things very often.  It’s a good story.  (my vote would be Fleischmann, for the record)

I’d also vote Pietrangelo for Norris.  Why so low on your list?

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 04/10/12 at 02:36 AM ET


I am a little surprised you went for Chara and Weber over Karlsson. Granted both of those guys play a more defensive game (and therefore almost automatically provide more “defensive” value), but I’m wondering what your ultimate rationale was for determining that they provided more overall win shares. Is there any significant evidence in the data that, at least to you, suggests their defensive play made up for the scoring gap?

My impression has been that Karlsson is quite competent defensively but, because he’s so enormously gifted offensively, his minutes are biased toward offense—not unlike how Vigneault uses the Sedins, who I think are also pretty competent defensively.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/10/12 at 03:13 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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