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> Monday, April 2nd, 2012 > Sports > Predicting NHLís award winners
Predicting NHLís award winners
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Jeremy Wall
Published: Monday, April 2nd, 2012
The NHL season is drawing to a close, and Iím embarrassed to call myself a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Want to know how you can tell someone is a Leafs fan? They hate the Leafs. If the Chicago Cubs win the World Series this year, then the Leafs would have to be the most futile team in all of professional sports. Being a Leafs fan is like loving someone who will never love you backÖ actually, itís worse than that. Itís like loving someone who will never love you back, who also charges you $300 to visit, and then trades all your stuff for Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. And it was good stuff, stuff you could have used, Tyler Seguin-ish type of stuff.
But I digress. Even though Iím a Leafs fan (which means I hate the Leafs, remember), there are a lot of other things I enjoyed about this season. There were some great players throughout the league, and I thought I would take a look at my picks for a few of the year-end awards. Here they are.
Hart: To me, this is a two-player race between Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos. Malkin has been leading the league in points for awhile, but Stamkos has been leading in goals, and it seems like the season will finish that way. Both are franchise players, no question. However, Stamkos is the cornerstone on a team that likely wonít make the playoffs, and Malkin is the cornerstone on a team that might win the Cup. As for as an MVP award concerns, I think that makes Malkin the obvious choice.
Norris: Nicklas LidstrŲm may have missed too many games this season to get the Norris Trophy for an eighth time, but itís possible. Heís near the top of the league when it comes to plus-minus this season and, well, heís Nicklas LidstrŲm, probably the greatest defenceman of his generation. Zdeno Chara, who is having a great year in Boston and may lead them to another Cup, could win it for a second time. Erik Karlsson of Ottawa is by far the points leader among defenceman, as he looks like he might break 80 points this season, nearly 30 points ahead of everyone else. I like Karlsson for the Norris, although Chara might be a decent choice, too.
Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist. Heís the man this year, near the top of every goaltending statistical category. Jonathan Quick in L.A. and Jaroslav Halak in St. Louis are both having great years, especially Halak as St. Louis has been a surprise as one of the best teams in the league this season. But Lundqvist has consistently been the man all year, and is the cornerstone of a Rangers team that may, God forbid, actually win the Cup.
Calder: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, and Adam Henrique are all near the top in rookie scoring. There are really no rookie goalies this year to have made any type of significant impact. Nugent-Hopkins and Landeskog both have the recognizable name value. Either of them would be a quality pick, although I would tend to favour Landeskog since he is an important part of a decent team in Colorado, whereas Nugent-Hopkins is part of the still rebuilding Oilers.
Of course, there are a ton of other trophies, but the above four, in my humble opinion, are always about the most interesting in terms of who wins. A note should be mentioned about the Jack Adams, as Ken Hitchcock, who came to St. Louis in the early part of the year, has made them one of the best teams in the league. I think heíll win.