Projecting the 2012 NHL Awards

Now that the NHL offseason is in full-swing, the NHL Awards will act as a jumping off point for the major events that will occur between Wednesday and July 1.

This year’s show boasts an impressive line up of presenters that should certainly help shed a bit more limelight on the league. While the musical act leaves something to be desired, I would anticipate the show to carry more entertainment value in the third year of the new format.

With the Art Ross, Rocket Richard, William Jennings and other statistically determined awards already decided, there will be 12 total awards handed out in Vegas. That is including the Messier Leadership Award, GM of the Year and the NHL Foundation Award.

Here is a rundown of who I think will win each award:

Ted Lindsay Award – MVP as voted by members of the NHLPA

Expect Evgeni Malkin to leave Vegas with a few pieces of hardware.

Nominees: Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), Evgeni Malkin (PIT), Steven Stamkos (TB)

I think Evgeni Malkin takes this award easy. Lundqvist and Stamkos are basically just placeholders in what will turn out to be a runaway vote for Malkin after a terrific regular season. Spoiler alert, this may also determine the Hart Trophy winner.

Bill Masteron Award – Voted on by the PHWA to the player that best exemplifies the qualities and perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Nominees: Daniel Alfredsson (OTT), Joffery Lupul (TOR), Max Pacioretty (MTL)

I think you see this come down to Lupul or Pacioretty in the end as each battle back from serious injuries in recent years. I would venture a guess that Joffery Lupul ends up with the win, since his comeback was a bit longer than what Pacioretty went through.

Jack Adams Award – Long story short, it is the coach of the year award

Nominees: Ken Hitchcock (STL), Paul McLean (OTT), John Tortorella (NYR)

With little doubt, Ken Hitchcock will walk away from Vegas with some hardware. He led the most dramatic turnaround for any of the three nominees this season. However, I think the voting might be different ifthe nominees were determined after the playoffs were completed.

Frank J. Selke Award – Best defensive forward

Nominees: David Backes (STL), Patrice Bergeron (BOS), Pavel Datsyuk (DET)

This is a tough award to guess simply because there is a little more observation that weighs in versus numbers. Bergeron is a safe choice because of his faceoff numbers and plus/minus. However, Pavel Datsyuk is widely regarded as the best two-way forward in the league. I’ll go with him this year.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy – Given to the player who exhibited the most sportsmanship and gentlemanly play (yawn)

Nominees: Brian Campbell (FLA), Jordan Eberle (EDM), Matt Moulson (NYI)

I don’t really know, or care, who wins this one. I guess Brian Campbell just because he got a nomination despite being a defenseman.

Adam Henrique’s playoff run will likely seal up the Calder Trophy for him.

Calder Memorial Trophy – Rookie of the Year

Nominees: Adam Henrique (NJD), Gabriel Landeskog (COL), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)

This may serve as a perfect example of how the postseason can affect voting. In my opinion, all award nominees should be voted on after the Cup finals. While that would likely tilt results in one direction, the semi-finalists could still be determined well before the playoffs. That being said, Adam Henrique’s playoff performance wins him the Calder.

James Norris Memorial Trophy – Best defenseman

Nominees: Zdeno Chara (BOS), Erik Karlsson (OTT), Shea Weber (NSH)

If this was determined on all-around play and effectiveness, I think Weber wins it going away. If I had a vote, Weber would be my choice. However, this is an award that is driven a bit more by hype and press. Because of that, Erik Karlsson will win despite being incapable of playing defensive hockey.

Vezina Trophy – Best goaltender

How ’bout this ****ing Vezina Trophy winner right here?

Nominees: Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), Jonathon Quick (LA), Pekka Rinne (NSH)

Again, a vote that will be influenced by the playoffs. Jonathon Quick will win this running away thanks to a terrific regular season and a superb Conn Smythe effort in the playoffs. I think he could have been the front runner without the deep playoff run, but that will cement the award for him.

Hart Memorial Trophy- Most valuable player

Nominees: Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), Evgeni Malkin (PIT), Steven Stamkos (TB)

If the Rangers had gone deeper in the playoffs, Lundqvist probably wins this award. If the nominees were determined later, Jonathon Quick probably would win it. In addition, Quick winning the Vezina will make it impossible for Lundqvist to take the Hart. Just like the Pearson, Evgeni Malkin takes the win.




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