Norris (top defenceman): Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) Runners-up: Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings), Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins)
Another wide-open race, where players such as Visnovsky, the leading point producer among rearguards and the Phoenix Coyotes' breakout defenceman (and leading scorer) Keith Yandle also factor in the conversation. The Red Wings have been dropping Lidstrom's ice time gradually over the years as a nod to his birth certificate (he'll turn 41 in three weeks time) and they've been rewarded with another effective season from the six-time Norris winner (Bobby Orr is the all-time leader with eight, followed by Doug Harvey with seven). Lidstrom has had an exceptional year on a team that has been uncharacteristically leaky defensively this year. The same cannot be said for Central Division rivals the Nashville Predators who rely on far less talent to be a playoff contender, but boast one of the most feared players in the league in Weber (remember the candid conversation between Carey Price and Tim Thomas at the all-star selection process, where they rave about his shot?). Weber inspires that sort of admiration among his peers - he is strong physically, passes well for a big man and keeps the crease clear for the Preds' goalies. In short, he most accurately meets the trophy's official definition, possessing the "greatest all-around ability in the position."
Calder (top rookie): Jeff Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes) Runners-up: Logan Couture (San Jose Sharks), P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens)
Another fine crop of NHL rookies this season. Long-term, the Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hall may be the best player to enter the NHL in 2010-11, but his season was cut short by injury. Skinner, meanwhile, made the Hurricanes out of training camp as an 18-year-old and responded by becoming the seventh-youngest player in history to score 30 goals. He is a dynamic finisher, reminiscent a little of the early Mike Bossy, great skating ability, good instincts, confident in his ability with the puck. Couture helped change the culture in San Jose, and by proving he could play in the No. 2 slot, permitted coach Todd McLellan to tinker with his lines, moving Dany Heatley off the Thornton unit, and shifting versatile Joe Pavelski down the charts to centre the third line to replace Manny Malhotra, who they lost in the off-season as a free agent to Vancouver. Couture went from airline commuter last year (shuffling back and forth constantly between the minors) to integral part of the team's top-six forward group; and will finish second in team goal-scoring behind only Patrick Marleau. Impressive.
Selke (top defensive forward): Ryan Kesler, (Vancouver Canucks) Runners-up: Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
Kesler has been a Selke candidate for awhile and he was runner-up to the three-time winner, Datsyuk last year. When healthy, Datysuk is to this era what Bob Gainey was to a previous one, the perennial default winner because of his accomplished, all-around game, and his uncanny ability to take away pucks. But Datsyuk has been in and out of the Red Wings' line-up this year, and while that doesn't disqualify him because he will play upwards of 55 games, it means that Kesler is finally in line to be rewarded for the way his game has evolved over the years. It isn't just the goal-scoring, which shouldn't be a factor in this award. It is his face-off work, his penalty killing and the fact that no matter who coach Alain Vigneault runs out there, on the wings, with Kesler, they became the de facto No. 2 line for the Canucks and usually draw a potent opposition scoring line. Simply put, it is Kesler's turn.
Lady Byng (sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct/combined with high standard of playing ability): Nicklas Lidstrom, (Detroit Red Wings) Runners-up: Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks), Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning)