It’s the end of the regular season, and as we’ve seen all over Twitter, it’s time to argue about who wins which NHL awards. Luckily for you I’m here to simplify things. The rules for eligibility in this awards post are simple: the player must have played for the greatest NHL team of all time: the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Here we go, we’ll do the fan vote first, then the stats based awards, then the arguing awards.
The NHL/Scotiabank Fan Favourite Award
Well, I can’t pick this award, so the second most important people in the world, behind The Troops, must decide. So please, vote for your favourite NHL player.
Fan Favourite Award
This poll is closed
James van Riemsdyk
The NHL/Sheraton Road Performer Award
This award, abandoned in 2009, goes to the player who scores the most road points. Weird how there was no award for home ice player.
Since this is a points based award, it’s an easy answer: Auston Matthews, with 18 goals and 13 assists on the road in 30 games.
The NHL/Home Depot Home Performer Award
I’m sure the only reason they didn’t have this award was because no one stepped up to sponsor it. I made it an easy one and let’s give out this fake award. The best home performer on the Maple Leafs this season was: Mitch Marner, with 10 goals, 28 assists for 38 points in 41 home games. Congratulations on your golden hammer or whatever this trophy looks like.
E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence
This award is described as “Awarded by NHL Central Scouting to the draft prospect who best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.” Since NHL Central Scouting is dumb about awards (Giving the Memorial Cup MVP to Dylan Strome and not Michael DiPietro?) we’ll give this award to....say...Akil Thomas, because it’s my awards ceremony and he’s the best IceDog at the draft.
Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award
Next up is another stat based award, going to the goalie who has the best save percentage. The award winner this year is: Curtis McElhinney, with a .934sv%
The Mark Messier Leadership Award for being a Leader like Mark Messier as voted by Mark Messier
Mats Sundin won this award 10 years ago, and now the Leafs take it back. Who would Mark Messier is the most Mark Messier like leader? I think he would pick Nazem Kadri. A player who isn’t afraid to do what it takes to get the job done, one of the highest scoring Leafs with the most penalty minutes and, uh, they both are rumoured to enjoy....refreshing cola beverages in the past, wink wink.
Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy
The top goal scorer gets this one, and for the Maple Leafs this year, it is Mr. Contract Year himself, James van Riemsdyk with 36 goals.
The Bud Light NHL +/- Award
This one goes out to all the stats nerds out there. Auston Matthews is your winner here, with a +25.
The William M. Jennings Trophy
To the goalie with the best Goals Against Average, the award goes to Curtis McElhinney with a .934 SV%.
The Art Ross Trophy
The best scorer on the Leafs? You guessed it. Mitch Marner with 69 points. Nice job Mitch.
The next few awards are based on votes so I opened the floor up to the cast here at PPP.
First up, the front office awards:
NHL General Manager of the Year Award
Who was the best GM for the Maple Leafs? Was it Lou Lamoriello? Kyle Dubas? Brandon Pridham?
seldo: Me, I think Kyle Dubas is the winner for the Maple Leafs here, since all the good moves were done by him, like finding and signing Andreas Borgman. Not the bad stuff done by Lou, like letting Nikita Soshinkov go for a 6th. A 6th!
Katya: I pick Brendan Shanahan. Let’s be real here. He’s in charge. All this whinging about Lou doing this or that, he and the pack of AGMs do what they do because Shanahan has drawn the lines they colour in. So far, so good.
Fulemin: Well, I wrote like 6500 words on the entire history of Lou, so I’ll say him.
Arvind: We all know Mike Babcock calls the shots. Which is why Polak will get an 8-year extension soon.
Hardev: Who can forget that Summer LTIR move the Leafs pulled over the summer and the roster shenanigans that have been happening all year. This team hasn’t made one mistake and there’s one person responsible for that: Brandon Pridham.
Jack Adams Award
The best coach? Was it Mike Babcock? Memorial Cup winner DJ Smith? Jacques Lemaire? One of the guys no one’s heard of?
seldo: I have to give it to Babcock, only because I’m unsure what to credit the others with.
Katya: I’m giving it to Steve Briere. Either there’s a lot of luck all over the Leafs and Marlies, or Briere is the first guy to ever really bring in a winning formula for goaltending in recent Leafs history.
Arvind: Polak is basically a coach on the ice, so I’m going to give it to him.
Hardev: A combined award shared between Ron Hainsey for his first-half of the season work with Morgan Rielly, turning him into a legit top-pairing defenseman. The award also gets shared with Sheldon Keefe for his first-half of the season work with Travis Dermott, Kasperi Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson turning them from water into wine.
Now, the player awards! Same voters as above, but so many more choices.
King Clancy Memorial Trophy
This award is presented to the player who has on and off ice leadership and philanthropy initiatives.
seldo: Looking up the ongoing work Maple Leafs players do, Nazem Kadri and the Kadri Foundation came in second, but right now I’m going to give it to Dominic Moore for running two foundations: the Katie Moore Foundation based in the US and the Dominic Moore Foundation based in Canada. Working with the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and University of California in San Francisco, both focus on rare cancer and diseases that often get overlooked in fundraising.
Katya: I’m going with Matt Martin here. He’s raised up Mitch Marner from infancy to be the man he is, and he maintains a charitable foundation of his own while also being the guy who always shows up at those team galas and fundraising events.
Hardev: Curtis McElhinney. He doesn’t have the charitable foundations (and parenting skills) of the players mentioned above, but everytime I see the Leafs are at an outreach event of any kind, I see four players: Dom Moore, Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, and Curtis McElhinney. Mac has been the best backup in the league in more ways than one and he exemplifies what it means to be a Toronto Maple Leaf on and off the ice.
NHL Foundation Player Award
This one goes to players who make a difference in their communities.
seldo: I have to give it to William Nylanders hair. It’s the gift that we all appreciate - while it’s still here.
Katya: My pick has to be Nazem Kadri for the Nazem Kadri Foundation and all the work it does in Kadri’s hometown. His foundation, funded by his golf tournament and other donations, gives its money directly to organizations in London. He has funded women’s shelters, hospital programs, mental health initiatives, Aboriginal health programs, veterans, and last year, he gave to a Muslim youth helpline. A little money seems to end up with minor hockey teams too. He is still connected to where he came from, and we all thank him for looking after our community in London.
Hardev: I’ll ditto what Katya said above with Kadri. Personally, he’s made a difference in my life because no one in my extended family knows anything about hockey except Nazem Kadri because he is brown. Thanks for saving me in the wedding small-talk department, Naz!
The Frank J. Selke Trophy
Awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. It’s fun to give it out here so someone other than Patrice Bergeron will win.
seldo: Hello Tyler Bozak! Last year was ‘Kadri for Selke’ but in what could be his final year as a Maple Leafs, I have to give it to the subtly good centre Bozak. I’m sure praising him means I have to resign my position from this internet newspaper.
Katya: Zach Hyman, come on. He once retrieved a puck that had gone over the glass and landed in a guy’s beer. Auston scored with it after it had passed through two other players so Hyman didn’t get an assist.
Arvind: I think this should go to Kasperi Kapanen, who will make up for the loss of James van Riemsdyk’s 36 goals by being so good defensively.
Hardev: Leo Komarov! He’s the definition of a defensive forward! For once, can we give the award to someone who actually fits the description?
The Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy
Awarded to the player who ‘best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey’.
seldo: This one is William Nylander’s. No matter how many times he’s in Babcock’s doghouse, he keeps playing at an elite level. Someday you’ll get the respect you deserve!
Katya: You know, if you forget the traditional sob story aspect this award has taken on and just go by it’s definition, how can anyone but Patrick Marleau win it?
Hardev: Josh Leivo.
The Calder Memorial Trophy
The rookie of the year award.
seldo: This is not as exciting an award to give out this year, as last year was the year of the rookie, but Travis Dermott seems to be running away with this award. Andreas Borgman played more games, but Dermott is nailing down his role on the Leafs defensive lines, to the point where it’s Polak/Carrick swapping spots rather than the rookie.
Katya: Andreas Johnsson. Not really for anything he’s done on the ice, although that’s been fun, but for the moment when Babcock didn’t know who the reporter meant when they asked a question about Andreas. He just calls the guy Johnny.
Arvind: Kapanen again.
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Awarded to the Most Gentlemanly Player, the Leafs haven’t had a winner since Alexander Mogilny won in 2003.
seldo: This is another one for William Nylander, playing every game this season and having under 10 penalty minutes.
Katya: All this time and I had no idea Seldo had such a thing for Nylander. the Byng goes to Joshua Kestner on an ATO with the Marlies, who when he broke his stick in his first game, picked it up and disposed of it himself after the whistle.
Hardev: I’m giving Marleau the Byng because he is simply the most gentlemanly player on the Leafs. He never goes for the dirty hit, he’s one of the few players in the league everyone respects, and he’s literally one of the only players old enough on the team to be considered a gentleman in the real world.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
Given to the leagues best defender.
seldo: Jake? Morgan? Roma- hahaha, okay. I’m giving it to future Toronto Maple Leafs captain Morgan Rielly.
Katya: Jake. Next question.
Hardev: Matt Martin for his outstanding work as the eighth defenseman paired with Carrick during practices and line rushes since his demotion from the everyday lineup.
Given to the leagues best goaltender.
seldo: Another default award, right? Freddie wins it all because he’s the workhorse.
Katya: Nope sorry. All-situations save percentage is the best stat. So Curtis McElhinney wins this award.
Hardev: How many times did McElhinney beat the Sabres? Two. And how many time did Andersen lose to the Sabres? Two. I rest my case.
Hart Memorial Trophy
The player judged to be most valuable to his team.
seldo: It’s Freddie’s award to lose as well. If Andersen was even slightly below average we’d be writing lottery odd posts like it’s 2015 instead of assuming playoffs since Remembrance Day.
Katya: What seldo said.
Hardev: CURT-- What Katya said.
Did we pick the winners you wanted? Is the Hart trophy still up for violent debate?
Let us know your winners in the comments, otherwise we’ll assume we’re right.