Since the 2011-12 campaign ended without a playoff berth, I have decided that the inaugural 2ITB Awards will have some real awards and some awards that are more worthy of a Dundie. If you don’t like the winners, leave a comment; perhaps you will get a vote for the second annual awards next spring. Here are the winners:
Most Valuable Player – Jason Pominville
In line with the players’ choice, Pominville is an easy choice on a team that did underachieve for portions of the season. I was happy to see him hit the 30-goal plateau, it was a well deserved accomplishment. Pominville embraced his captaincy this season and had a great year. I think consistent line mates could yield similar results in 2012-13.
Least Valuable Player – Brad Boyes
Boyes suffered through a miserable 82-game season with little to show for it. Sure he was stuck on the fourth line and had little chance to produce, but at $4M you can’t afford to be not scoring goals. I was happy to see him come to Buffalo, things just didn’t work out for him this year.
Top Prospect – Marcus Foligno
This was a tough one for me to pick. Foligno was right up there with Brayden McNabb, David Leggio and Joel Armia for the organizational award. However, Foligno’s arrival was such a shot in the arm for the Sabres that it was too difficult to ignore.
Jekyll and Hyde Award – Ryan Miller
It is actually pretty easy to sum up Ryan Miller’s season. Elite hockey, then garbage hockey and then more elite hockey. Sounds like a pretty decent sandwich, no? October was kind to the netminder before suffering a rough start against Philly on national television. He followed that game with a five-goal win against the Jets. His GAA didn’t get any help when he was knocked from his next start in Boston by Milan Lucic. He didn’t start again until December and struggled to find his game for the entire month. He then locked down beginning on January 1 and didn’t look back, putting together a 2.27 GAA and .924 SV%.
Consistently Consistent Award – Tyler Ennis
He didn’t start rolling at a regular clip until after he had missed 34 games with injury. He only played 48 games but picked up 34 points (15+19) in that span. He was indeed a consistent weapon the Sabres could rely on down the stretch, making him extremely valuable heading into next season.
Unsung Hero – Christian Ehrhoff
Judge Smails Mulligan Award – Ville Leino
He had a pretty ugly season and his cap hit makes things that much worse. I’m sure he would like to hit rewind and put forth a better showing this year.
This award goes to the best all-around defenseman on the roster. It is motivated by defensive zone play more than anything. Ehrhoff gets the nod because of his consistency throughout the season. For further details, see above.
Phil Housely Award for the Best Offensive Defenseman – Jordan Leopold
Leopold led all Sabres defensemen in goal scoring. 10 goals from a defenseman isn’t a bad number and Leopold even offered some solid defending to go along with it – much to the chagrin of this award’s namesake. I’m a big fan of Leopold’s game, that is two-straight productive seasons for him.
Mike Wilson Award for the Worst Defenseman – Marc-Andre Gragnani
Need I say more? Perhaps the best contribution made by Gragnani was being traded for Alex Sulzer.
Best In-Arena Addition – Lonely Boy & scoreboard logos
Thank god the management decided to put the proper logos on the bottom of the videoboard. Although, it did mean abandoning the super awesome sabres that were placed behind the slug logo. Also, I really REALLY like Lonely Boy as the new goal song.
Worst In-Arena Addition – Westminster Bells prior to penalties
I hate that the IIHF uses these bells and I hate that the Sabres use them. Can we just do away with them? Please?
Best Tweeter – @BuffaloSabres
A tough award for me to handout. There are so many great Twitter accounts administered by Sabres fans. However, when Kevin Snow is running the show the Sabres account has accurate game info and tosses out some pretty good humor as well. I guess in Kevin’s case it is actually humour.
Best Media Member – John Vogl
Hit of the Year – Marcus Foligno on Carl Gunnarson
Fight of the Year –Corey Tropp vs. Zac Rinaldo