Wednesday, June 22, 2011

POTG Picks the Winners of the NHL Awards

As I fly at 40,000 feet heading into Las Vegas, it is finally time to make the official choices of who I think will win this year's NHL Awards. The following picks are not necessarily the ones I would have chosen, but who I think will actually hit the stage and take home the hardware on Wednesday night in the Pearl Theater at the Palms Resort and Casino.

Bill Masterton Trophy - Ray Emery, Daymond Langkow, and Ian Laperriere

This is a wide open race with Emery having the best return to the ice of the three after serious injuries. The kicker is the actual definition of what the award is supposed to be about. “perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” Emery probably finishes third among the three by definition but I think he will come away with the win simply because of his saving the Anaheim Ducks in goal down the stretch when Jonas Hiller was injured.

Calder Memorial Trophy - Logan Couture, Michael Grabner, and Jeff Skinner

I think Jeff Skinner is the clear winner in this race. He came straight into the NHL as an 18 year old and played with poise and earned the recognition as a team leader due to his play on the ice and his maturity rarely seen in a player in his first year out of juniors. Couture and Grabner are older and both had impressive statistics but voters will vote in favor of the young rookies over ones that have spent more time in development.

Frank J Selke Trophy – Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, and Jonathan Toews

This has been Datsyuk's trophy for the last three years but Kesler came close in the voting last season. With Datsyuk missing an extended period, and Kesler coming into his own this season with a 57.4 face off percentage, the nod will go to Kesler.

Jack Adams Award – Dan Bylsma, Barry Trotz, Alain Vigneault

This is a dead heat between Bylsma and Trotz as both teams were equally devastated by injuries over the course of the season. Both coaches responded to send their teams to the playoffs. If I had a vote, it would go to the coach who I personally think is the best in the league, Barry Trotz, but as much as it pains me to say, I think Bylsma will take the award in a race that may be separated by only a few votes.

James Norris Trophy – Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Shea Weber

I could be called a homer for picking Shea Weber on this one. While all three players had great years, I think the stars are aligned for Weber to win. There are some that won't vote for Chara because of the Max Pacoretti hit and others are looking for a new winner after Lidstrom has won six times. The clinching blow, as odd as it seems, was the image of the shot that Weber sent through the net at last years Olympics. The reward will be reaped for that on Wednesday night.

Lady Byng Trophy – Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Martin St. Louis

After a four year run by Pavel Datsuk, St. Louis took the award last season and there is no reason to think that he won't repeat. Lidstrom could be a close second if voters voted thinking that he would retire after the past season.

Ted Lindsay Award – Corey Perry, Daniel Sedin, and Steven Stamkos

This is similar to the Hart but is voted on by the players. See the commentary below for the Hart and give it to Perry.

Vezina Trophy – RobertoLuongo, Pekka Rinne, and Tim Thomas

This one is voted on by the General Managers instead of the press which adds a little intrigue into the mix but Tim Thomas is the clear choice after setting the NHL record with a .938 save percentage and leading the league in goals against average. Rinne would have won in many years and got the voters attention for future awards. Luongo will finish a distant third.

GM of the Year – Mike Gillis, David Poile, Steve Yzerman

This is a wide open race and any of the three could easily win. Ii will give the nod to Yzerman because he was well liked as a player and showed immediate success in the GM role in his rookie year. I would love to see Poile win, but he is too consistent. The voters expect him to pull rabbits out of his hat every season.

Hart Memorial Trophy – Corey Perry, Daniel Sedin, and Martin St. Louis

Corey Perry could not have scripted his late season run any better with 19 goals in Anaheim's last 16 games to lift them to fifth in the competitive Western Conference and take home the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in the process. St. Louis is the dark horse here because he carried the Lightning when Steven Stamkos faltered down the stretch, but he will not get past Perry.

So there you have it. Tune in Wednesday night at 6 p.m. CDT on Versus to see how we did with our picks.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass

No comments: