Usually this exhibits up across the quarter to mid-season. Anyway, it is Christmas, so let’s hand out some Christmas NHL prizes, simply to get into the spirit! Who’s the chief within the varied classes for which the league likes handy out strange-looking cutlery at a really awkward ceremony in June whereas everybody waits to get drunk (if they are not already)?
Coronary heart Trophy (MVP): Nikita Kucherov
Honorable point out: Artemi Panarin, Sidney Crosby
Sure, sure, any fool who appeared on the high scorers within the league might have figured this out. However the Lightning do not actually belong within the playoff race. All of their workforce metrics are mediocre at greatest, and with out Kucherov doing what he does, a six-point lead over Nathan MacKinnon, the Bolts may very well be nearer to the Senators than they’d ever wish to be. Kucherov immediately lives in a colossal space by way of the variety of alternatives he will get and in addition creates, the place solely the opposite two reside.
Panarin has made a leap this 12 months with Darkish Helmet sport concept. “Preserve taking pictures, A**HOLES!” Panarin can be placing the puck on internet excess of he has ever finished in his profession, and he’s on the verge of breaking his career-high of 32 objectives. The Rangers have given up on the thought of utilizing him and linemates Vincent Trocheck and Alex Lafreniere anyplace close to the defensive zone, they usually’re getting a form of oil baron-at-the-disco dust-up.
Crosby holds the Penguins factor collectively, and whereas he would not have the scoring totals of the opposite two, his likelihood creation is correct there. If the Pens ever discover out the place the online is once more, he’ll climb the scoring chief charts.
Vezina Trophy (greatest goaltender): Jeremy Swayman
Honorable point out: Adin Hill, Thatcher Demko
Swayman should swim towards the tide of everybody screaming about him solely taking half the begins, evenly break up with Linus Ullmark. However most high goaltenders do not get greater than 55 begins anyway, and he is been the very best. That is the best way the sport goes now. Swayman is tied for the very best save proportion within the league and is second in anticipated objectives, even along with his restricted workload. That solely tempers the dialogue slightly that he is enjoying behind a defensive juggernaut in Boston when he has to save lots of them a lot in simply half the time.
Demko has lastly come round and his numbers are matching Swayman’s as he makes extra begins. It looks as if the Knights by chance found a goaltender in Hill, however he chased a Cup winner final spring and is now placing up numbers that put him within the velvet rope membership of elite goaltenders. There actually is not a flawed selection between the three.
Norris Trophy (greatest defenseman): Cale Makar
Honorable Point out: Quinn Hughes, Drew Doughty
Sure, I solely exist to ship Canucks followers into house and there is a straightforward argument for Hughes, who on the time of writing leads all d-men in factors. However he has additionally performed six extra video games than Makar because of the latter’s damage issues.
As for Doughty, his position has modified a bit in LA and he is beginning to make much more shifts on his personal finish than he did earlier in his profession. However he is nonetheless pushing the play and getting the Kings into the offensive zone as usually as he all the time has, even when he would not have the factors to show it. He’s in all probability the largest cause why the Kings are nearly as good as they’re.
Selke Trophy (greatest defensive ahead): Nicolas Roy
Honorable Point out: Sean Couturier, Dakota Joshua
Look, nobody is aware of what they’re voting for on the subject of this award. Just about all through his existence, voters discovered a No. 1 middle who received a whole lot of faceoffs, scored so much and referred to as him a defensive ahead. Patrice Bergeron received the title yearly and he was an excellent defensive middle, however nobody seen within the final years of his profession that he was deployed nearly completely within the attacking zone, which helped enhance his defensive qualities.
In order all the time, we’re going to discover an attacker who performs a whole lot of protection. Enter Vegas’ Nicolas Roy, who solely begins a 3rd of his shifts within the offensive zone, but has the fifth-lowest xGA/60 amongst forwards in your entire league, and he persistently turns the sport round. This sort of mining means the Knights’ high two ranks solely have to fret about scoring it doesn’t matter what they do. Roy is without doubt one of the most original weapons within the league.
Couturier fills the position of No. 1 middle, who can play each ends of the ice, and Joshua has a lot the identical story as Roy, a middle who is definitely used as a defensive stopper and does simply that.
Calder Trophy (Rookie of the 12 months): Connor Bedard
Honorable point out: Adam Fantilli, Marco Rossi
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