NHL

Favorites for the Top 5 Major NHL Awards

NHL Awards, NHL
THE FRONT-RUNNERS

Who Are the Favorites to Win the 5 Major NHL Awards?

With less than 3 weeks left in the regular season, it’s time to take a look at who the favorites are to win the five major NHL awards. There is still some time for things to change but here’s an early look at who deserves consideration for the five major NHL awards.

HART TROPHY

Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks

This has been Patrick Kane’s award to lose for most of the season. Although he has slowed down a bit in the second half, it would take something extraordinary in these last few games for anyone to overtake him. Kane leads the league in points (92), second in goals (39), second in assists (53), and tied for second in game winning goals (8). Jamie Benn is a strong candidate and Sidney Crosby has made a late push to enter the discussion, but in the end neither of them have been as consistent as Patrick Kane, which is what it comes down to for the NHL awards.

Vezina Trophy

Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay Lighting

NHL Awards, NHL

Ben Bishop is the front-runner to receive the Vezina Trophy, which is given to the top performing goaltender at the end of the season.

Before the All-Star break, it looked like Braden Holtby was a lock for this trophy, and he remains in the top running for this award. However, he has opened the door for Ben Bishop to steal this award away. The one thing that Holtby has on his side is that he is the clear cut leader in wins with 44, and is within striking distance to beat Martin Brodeur’s NHL record of 48 wins which he set with the New Jersey Devils during the 06-07 season.

Ben Bishop may only have 31 wins, but he is far superior in every other statistical category. He boasts the best GAA (2.01) and SV% (.928) in the league and is second in shutouts (5). I know it’s hard to ignore Bishop’s 13 fewer wins, but that shouldn’t be held against him as he doesn’t have the luxury of playing with the highest scoring offense. Branden Holtby does. Bishop deserves to be one of the players holding up NHL awards at the end of the season.

 

Norris Trophy

Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators

We will officially have to wait until the award is actually handed to him, but there shouldn’t be any debate on who the top defensmen is this year. Karlsson leads all defensmen with 75 points, and could put his name in elite company by joining Nicklas Lidstrom as the only defenseman to have an 80 point season in the last 10 years. He can also join Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey as the only other defensemen to finish in the top three in scoring. He’s currently only one point behind Sidney Crosby for that third spot. Karlsson already has two Norris Trophies in his young career, and winning his third this season is pretty much a forgone conclusion.

Calder Trophy

Artemi Panarin – Chicago Blackhawks

Before the season started, this was labeled as the Connor McDavid trophy. If it weren’t for an injury that kept him out for almost half the season, he probably would finish as the top rookie. His 1.08 point per game leads all rookies and he can still finish as high as second in the rookie scoring race. However, his injury made things wide open and Panarin, who didn’t garner much attention at the beginning of the year, seems to have a strong hold on securing the Calder Trophy. He leads all rookies in points (64), goals (25), assists (39) and game winning goals (6). Some argue that his stats are inflated from playing with leading scorer, Patrick Kane. This may be true, but it’s unfair to say it’s the main contributing factor of his success. Dylan Larkin and Shayne Gostisbehere deserve some consideration as well, but their production fails to compare.

Jack Adams Trophy

Barry Trotz – Washington Capitals

It’s time for Trotz to finally get credit for being one of the top coaches in the NHL. He never truly got the recognition he deserved for his time in Nashville. This season, there is no questioning the success he has had with the Washington Capitals. The Caps are the best offensive and defensive team in the Eastern Conference and currently have a 17-point lead in the standings with 109 points. The knock on Trotz is that he has never been able to take his team past the 2nd round of the playoffs. This is the season he will try and put those critics to rest, as he finally has a team with the talent to make a deep playoff run.

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