The 2015 NHL Awards show takes place tonight at 7 pm and will be broadcast on NBCSN. With some tough choices this year, here are my predictions for who will be going home with some hardware tonight.
Hart Trophy – Awarded to the league’s most valuable player
Finalists- Alex Ovechkin (Washington), Carey Price (Montreal), John Tavares (NY Islanders)
The Pick- Carey Price
For the first time since Jose Theodore in 2002, I’m predicting a goalie takes home the MVP award. Carey Price was phenomenal all season long, at certain points winning games on his own. The other two candidates, Ovechkin and Tavares, are both deserving as well, but there was quite frankly no player more valuable to his team this season than Carey Price was to Montreal.
Norris Trophy – Awarded to the league’s top defenseman
Finalists- Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), P.K. Subban (Montreal)
The Pick- Drew Doughty
This award could go in a few different directions, but Drew Doughty was the all-around best defenseman in the league this year. Logging close to 30 minutes per game, Doughty was deployed in all situations for Los Angeles and excelled. Doughty will lose some votes because the Kings did not make the playoffs, but that is no fault to him as he was simply outstanding this season.
Vezina Trophy – Awarded to the league’s top goalie
Finalists- Carey Price (Montreal), Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota), Pekka Rinne (Nashville)
The Pick- Carey Price
This race was over halfway through the season. Although Dubnyk and Rinne were both outstanding in their own right, Price was other worldly. No questions on this one.
Calder Trophy – Awarded to the league’s top rookie
Finalists- Mark Stone (Ottawa), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Aaron Ekblad (Florida)
The Pick- Aaron Ekblad
The tightest race of the night, a case could be made for all three of these guys. In corner one you have Mark Stone, who came on strong in the second half of the season helping Ottawa to the playoffs. In corner two you have Johnny Gaudreau, the rookie leading scorer who was dynamic for Calgary all season long. Finally in corner three you have Aaron Ekblad, the exceptional 18 year old who played on Florida’s top pairing and had arguably the best season of all time by an 18 year old defenseman. I’m going with Ekblad over Gaudreau by a hair.
Selke Trophy- Awarded to the league’s top defensive forward
Finalists- Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles)
The Pick- Patrice Bergeron
This race is tough because defensive play can be subjective, but in my opinion Bergeron was the best defensive forward in the league this year. He’s a pain to play against and one of the best face off men in the league. There’s a reason he’s on the short list for this award every year.
Coach of the Year – Awarded to the league’s top coach
Finalists- Bob Hartley (Calgary), Peter Laviolette (Nashville), Alain Vigneualt (NY Rangers)
The Pick- Bob Harley
Hartley transformed the Flames from a bottom feeder to a playoff team this year, an amazing accomplishment. The team really bought into his system and we’re very difficult to play against, which was a testament to his coaching skills. Laviolette also deserves a shout out for what he did with an offensively challenged Predators roster.
GM of the Year – Awarded to the league’s top general manager
Finalists- Bob Murray (Anaheim), Glenn Sather (NY Rangers), Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay)
The Pick- Steve Yzerman
The current rendition of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been brewing for awhile, and that’s all thanks to the drafting and talent evaluation done by Stevie Y and his staff. Whether it was hitting on draft picks (Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat), finding undrafted gems (Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown), smart UFA signings (Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle), or hole filling trades (Ben Bishop, Braydon Couburn), Yzerman couldn’t miss when it came to building this team. He should win this award in a landslide.
Masterton Award – Awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey
Finalists- Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota), Kris Letang (Pittsburgh), Andrew Hammond (Ottawa)
The Pick- Devan Dubnyk
From a back-up goalie in the AHL to a Vezina trophy finalist, nobody showed more dedication and perseverance this year than Dubnyk. Letang also will get a ton of votes, deservingly so as he courageously battled back from a stroke, but it’s unprecedented what Dubnyk accomplished this year.