James Norris Memorial Trophy
To the defence player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability.
Winner: P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens.
Runners-up: Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild;
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks.
Erik Karlsson’s injury and so-so years from Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber mean there’s a year-over-year changing of the guard. Keith has regained some of the form for which he won the award in 2010, playing around 24 minutes per night for the best defensive team in the league. Suter took two weeks to adjust to life in Minnesota, but has been lights-out good ever since and his defensive presence is a primary reason why the Wild are in playoff contention. But Subban, who missed a handful of games at the start of the season because of a contract dispute, has it all going for him – goals (11), power-play points (25) and a discernible improvement in his overall defensive game. That combination will be hard to top.
To the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.
Winner:Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets.
Runners-up:Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks;
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators.
The Chicago duo of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have done for the Blackhawks what Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott did for the St. Louis Blues a year ago, combine to lead the league in goals-against by effectively dividing the job. But the Vézina is often a consolation prize for the goaltender who loses out in the MVP race, which is why Bobrovsky is the overwhelming favourite. Bobrovsky came over from the Philadelphia Flyers, stabilized a position that was in flux the year before, and kept a mediocre team on paper in the playoff race until the final weekend.
Calder Memorial Trophy
To the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.
Winner:Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens.
Runners-up:Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers; Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild.
Unlike some years, no single rookie has set himself above the crowd this year, with the top six in rookie scoring separated by just four points. Huberdeau has been the best player on a disappointing Florida team, while Brodin has logged upward of 23 minutes per night as a teenage defenceman in Minnesota and played with a poise that belies his youth and inexperience. But as a catalyst, it is hard to dispute what Gallagher has done for Montreal, injecting life and energy into the lineup with his persistent, pesky style. And 13 goals, one behind Huberdeau, doesn’t hurt his chances.
Jack Adams Award
To the coach adjudged to have contributed most to his team’s success.
Winner:Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators.
Runners-up:Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens;
Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks.
Annually one of the most difficult to sort out because at least six candidates deserve consideration, including Jack Capuano (Islanders) and Todd Richards (Blue Jackets), who have engineered unexpected turnarounds in Long Island and Columbus, respectively. But Therrien’s work in changing the culture in Montreal, where the Canadiens were 15th in the East last year, will likely be measured against MacLean’s ability to keep Ottawa in the playoff picture, despite key injuries to Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza. Given how inexperienced Ottawa’s lineup has been most nights, MacLean’s work has been miraculous.
Frank J. Selke Trophy
To the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
Winner:Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings).
Runners-up:Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks;
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins.
It’s really a pick-em between Toews and Kopitar, who is one of the NHL’s best-kept secrets and a player coach Darryl Sutter says is the best centre he’s ever coached. Sutter’s respect for Kopitar isn’t because of the 41 points he scored in the Kings’ first 46 games, by far the most on the team. It’s because Kopitar does all the things in the defensive zone Sutter believes are part of a winning program. He wins faceoffs, kills penalties and is so defensively sound that even going up against the top centres of the opposing team most nights, he is a plus-13 player. Toews is exceptional, too, for virtually all the same reasons. Either would be a worthy choice.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
To the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
Winner:Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks.
Runners-up:Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning;
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins.
Letang, the Penguins’ rearguard, is a quality candidate this year, averaging more than a point a game when he’s been in the lineup and limited to only four minor penalties all year. St. Louis is a perennial factor in the Byng voting, a former winner and a four-time runner-up. Even at his advancing age, St. Louis was in contention for the scoring title again this year. But Kane has been remarkably good for the Blackhawks this year, averaging more than a point a game despite playing with a variety of different linemates, and showing a greater overall maturity in his game this year over last.