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NHL Awards Roundtable: bold predictions from PPP writers

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There’s some complaining mixed in with the predictions too.

Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The crack team of PPP writers assembled, did research for hours, and came up with their thoughts on the NHL awards.

Hart Memorial Trophy

The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.” The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season. (All descriptions copied from NHL.com.)

Fulemin: Connor McDavid is going to win this running away and arguments to the contrary are silly. Matthews will be second and that’s neat.

Katya: What he said.

Omar: It’s flipping McDavid. Full stop. He has over 65 more points than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who is third among forwards in team scoring. Ask yourself where the Oilers are if McDavid is out for the season *haunting opera music*

seldo: Sure it’s McDavid but have we considered Auston Matthews? He’s scored more goals and is a Maple Leaf. I’ve made this argument before, and I’m correct.

Hardev: I really wanted it to be Matthews.

Calder Memorial Trophy

An annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL, selected in a PWHA poll.

Fulemin: Kirill Kaprizov wins for being the first player in Minnesota Wild history that can be called exciting.

Arvind: Kirill Kaprizov, Jason Robertson, and Alex Nedeljkovic seem like the obvious choices here, and likely in that order.

Katya: My heart says Jason Robertson, but it will be Kaprizov.

Hardev: Jason Robertson for me. I really like him and I think there’s something to the fact that it would be much closer if you adjusted for age and projected where Robertson would be at 23/24.

seldo: Hardev is correct. Jason Robertson is younger, scored just six fewer points on a harder to crack lineup, and is three years younger. His being a former IceDog only adds a little bit of a bonus.

Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.

Fulemin: Goalies aren’t real and neither is the Vezina.

Omar: I think the Flower might be getting this one. Vasilevskiy has more overall wins while Semyon Varlamov has a higher save percentage and more shutouts, but the milestones Fleury has been able to reach this season will be the added bonus to push him over the edge.

Katya: Hellebuyck had it early, until Vasilevskiy just proved that regression sometimes takes a long time to appear. But Marc-Andre Fleury will take it.

Hardev: Nashville made the playoffs when they really shouldn’t have with Saros’ .946 save percentage at 5v5, the best in the NHL. His all-sits numbers are still top-three despite bad numbers on the penalty kill. Maybe it’s not enough to win it, but he’s in my top three. Vasilevskiy first, MAF third.

James Norris Memorial Trophy

An annual award given to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.

Katya: Should likely be Adam Fox, but it will be Victor Hedman, and it’s not like he’s bad, so shrug.

Fulemin: Dougie Hamilton for me. They seem determined to give it to Hedman for no other reason than he’s Victor Hedman, though. Adam Fox would be cool.

Arvind: I’m preemptively mad about Hedman winning this. He’s an amazing defenseman, but he’s already won the award. I’m not sure why we’re giving him a lifetime achievement version of it in a year where he himself has admitted he’s not been at his best, and there are a couple of really worthy candidates in Adam Fox and Dougie Hamilton. If he had played a full year, Cale Makar would be more seriously in the running for me.

Omar: Adapting AT’s answer from the Vezina: the Norris isn’t real. Hedman will get it based on the fact that it’s the growing narrative of the year and has been for a while. That’s not to say he doesn’t deserve it, I just think Fox and Hamilton have done remarkable things at the position this year and should get the thing.

Hardev: Martin Marincin.

Katya: One more thought on this is that because he leads in points for a defenceman, there will be discussion that Tyson Barrie should win. His plus/minus isn’t good enough for the majority of voters who will mutter, “it’s not the be all and end all, but...” as they look it up and use that to choose between the high-points defenders.

Frank J. Selke Trophy

The Frank J. Selke Trophy is an annual award given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.

Fulemin: Alexander Barkov will win it, and he is a worthy recipient. He is also not a Montreal Canadien, which is important, and our first priority has to be not to give this to Phillip Danault.

Arvind: Logan O’Connor robbed, IMO.

Katya: I have muted all Selke discourse.

Hardev: We usually give this to the guy that deserved the Hart but didn’t quite get it, right? Auston Matthews.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season; each voter ranks his top five candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 points system.

Fulemin: Me. I’m gentlemanly. And polite!

Katya: Don’t care. But this award needs, not to be trashed, but to be updated. The NHL needs to decide if they want a behaviour-based award given by people who will ignore off-ice behaviour or not. And then they need to make this into something that isn’t a high goals, low PIM award.

Omar: Roope Hintz maybe? 15 goals and 28 assists but only 4 PIMs.

seldo: People, come on, it’s Jack Campbell. The nicest man in hockey who everyone loves.

Hardev: George Parros lobbied me to vote Tom Wilson. I don’t have a vote, idiot.

Jack Adams Award

Presented to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success, selected in a poll of NHLBA members.

Katya: Q — there shouldn’t even be a debate.

Fulemin: Yeah I’d give it to Quenneville. Brind’Amour might win it but for my money Quenneville is the most deserving.

Arvind: It’s between Joel Quenneville, Rod Brind’Amour, and Jared Bednar for me. I have no real way to evaluate coaching, but based on what I would expect from the rosters, Quenneville seems the best candidate.

Omar: The Florida Panthers are good. Quenneville.

Hardev: Quenneville.

seldo: Q, eh? Non. Sheldon Keefe wins. look at this team, where they came from, how well the lines have worked together a lot of the time, and the magic of putting Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews together. Ignore the power play, that’s Manny’s fault.

King Clancy Trophy

Given to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. The winner is chosen by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.

Omar: Two very tunnel-visioned answers: Wayne Simmonds has consistently done work in the community and it’s been good to see him continue that effort as a part of the Leafs organization. If not Simmonds then Auston Matthews. Aside from being one of the A’s on the team, he’s been donating a lot of used gear to Sick Kids this season.

Hardev: Matt Dumba? I don’t know, the NHL has a long way to go before players can be seen as an example for humanitarian leadership and change. I think most players like not having to publicly and actively care about the world around them. “No ‘soap operas’, just hockey,” right?

Jim Gregory GM of the Year

An annual award presented to recognize the work of the top general manager in the NHL. Voting is conducted among the 31 team general managers and a panel of five NHL executives and five media members at the conclusion of the regular season.

Katya: Bill Zito will get some noise on this, but he looks good in part because he replaced a cardboard cut out of an olde tyme GM. The question this season should be: who made the most out of the challenges of the pandemic season? Kyle Dubas has to get attention, and Joe Sakic, but I think Kelly McCrimmon might deserve it.

Fulemin: Joe Sakic. It’s a boring response and he hasn’t been perfect, and trading for Devan Dubnyk does not count as “shoring up the goalie position.” But he did a bunch of smart things that made the team really good and sometimes that’s the answer.

Omar: Kyle Dubas -ducks-

In all honesty, he took an already good team and added pieces around it to make it better. The issue with the Leafs is a lot of that GM of the Year evidence won’t be proven until the playoffs - not only in team play but how names Foligno and co. perform - but adding players like T.J. Brodie over the offseason has really made a difference.

Hardev: To me, this award asks which team made the biggest step before the playoffs. Reasoning that way, my ballot is probably the three men listed above. I’ll join Omar and say Dubas, he genuinely put together a more well-rounded team.

seldo: This year? Dubas. But I’m boycotting this award because Tim Murray didn’t win in 2015.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

An annual award under the trusteeship of the PHWA and is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The winner is selected in a poll of all chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season.

Fulemin: Oskar Lindblom of the Flyers will win this one, and that is entirely correct. His perseverance genuinely deserves recognition. I do agree with the others that it’s weird seeing a bunch of other nominees alongside him who just had a good professional year after a middling one.

Arvind: This is always a weird award where adjudicating can veer into the territory of weighing various levels of trauma and bad circumstance, which can feel icky. I agree that Lindblom should likely win, but IMO, this award should really just be decided on a team level and left at the nominee phase without voters having to go through and implicitly say that it’s more impressive to come back from one form of terrible experience than another.

Katya: Since I’m complaining... this award also needs an adjustment. Either tighten up the definition or drop the requirement that every team nominates a guy. Because goalie who played when the starter sucked on a list with a guy who had cancer and is now playing again is really weird.

Omar: I was never comfortable with this award because it’s as if we’re saying, “Hey, your pain and difficulties this season were painful and difficult but not as much as this person.” I agree it needs to be changed in some way as the underlying message is very awkward.

Hardev: Teams should just be able to nominate whoever they want and they all get recognized, no “winner.” If there’s seven winners one year, zero the next, three the year after, all fine.


And that’s our guesses/complaints. Yell at us about wrong we all are.