Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Finalists- Brian Campbell, Jordan Eberle, Matt Moulson
Dan: I’m never good at picking these, simply because I like to cheer for the villain. If they gave this award to Scott Hartnell, I’d be a happy dude. I wanted Dustin Brown to skate the Campbell bowl around the ice in Phoenix just for kicks. Between those three, Eberle works as a fine winner.
CJ: All three are very deserving candidates, but I have to go with Brian Campbell over both Moulson and Jordan Eberle. No defenseman has won the award since the 1950s and given that Campbell had a renaissance year this season in South Florida topping it off with some hardware wouldn’t hurt.
Caroline: Matt Moulson had 6 total penalty minutes all season, didn’t take a penalty in his last 47 games, scored a career-high 36 goals, and ended up with 69 points on the season. Yeah, I’m gonna go with Moulson.
Link: I’m sure they’re all nice guys and I’ll be happy for whoever wins. I’ll pick Moulson because I like the guy, he’s committed to the Islanders of all teams, and well… It’s the Lady Byng.
Calder Memorial Trophy
Finalists- Adam Henrique, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Dan: Where the heck is Sean Couturier? The Flyers rookies got hosed here. That said, Landeskog never looked like a rookie this year. Solid, complete player. RNH had a season that no one would sneeze at, and Henrique is still chipping in during the playoffs. Call me a little sour, I was looking forward to debating the merits of a good defensive rookie. Some day, they’ll create a second award for rookies.
CJ: Philadelphia fans should be up in arms more than usual with the NHL for neither of their super rookies Sean Couturier or Matt Read being finalists but given this pool I have to go with Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche. No player in recent memory has come into the league with a better combination of grit, size, and skill. Landeskog will be a great complement to the Avs skilled centers in Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly for years to come.
Caroline: This one is always the most difficult for me, mostly because I never seem to have a good opportunity to see the nominees play, and therefore I don’t have much to go on. That being said, I’ve really only seen Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins play, and my memory says that Landeskog looked a bit more solid and confident than RNH, so… yeah… I guess I’ll go with Gabe. Woo.
Link: No Read. No Couturier. This trophy is already a joke. I don’t think that Henrique deserves the award. I struggle with the same thing others have. If RNH doesn’t get injured then he’d would have this award wrapped up in all likelihood. So I’m going to make my Oilers fan friend happy and pick RNH.
James Norris Trophy
Finalists- Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber
Dan: I’d be OK with Chara getting this, but naturally I’m pulling for Weber. Shea Weber was the weapon that the Predator’s power play orbited around, and like Chara, played defense. Erik Karlsson didn’t impress anyone on his own side of the ice, but is a pure offensive force. But the award is for best defenseman. Adv- Shea Weber.
CJ: Offensive numbers like Karlsson’s are rare, but the whole DEFENSE part of being a defenseman leaves a lot to be desired. It comes down to Weber and Big Z and though they both mean a lot to their team, Weber’s contributions are slightly more important. No defenseman in the NHL has the combination of offensive prowess complemented by grit and tenacity that Weber does. Shea was blatantly robbed last year and this is the year he captures his first of what will hopefully be many Norris trophies.
Caroline: If Erik Karlsson wins this award, I’m going on an expedition to Ottawa, and I’m bringing a torch and a pitchfork. I’m sorry (actually I’m not sorry), but Karlsson was NOT the best all around defenseman in the league this year. He just wasn’t. He’s an excellent offensive defenseman, but the Norris is about being well-rounded. Weber and Chara are both stronger candidates, and while I don’t want Chara to win (he annoys me for some reason… I just really don’t like him), I’d rather Chara win than Karlsson. But Weber deserves this award, and damnit he better win it.
Link: A Predators blog picking Weber, no shock there. Of course anyone but Weber winning the trophy this would be a shock. Weber looks the best all around and it is helpful that he has around half as many penalty minutes. Karlsson should be a none factor until he stops being a far less irritating Mike Green.
Finalists- Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Quick
Dan: My ballot would be for Quick, but I have a strong feeling it’s going to Henrik. Nothing wrong with that, but Quick had the best season. With little goal support, Quick carried the water for the Kings until reinforcements arrived. Here’s your challenge- replace all three netminders with Jose Theodore, and tell me which teams make the playoffs. Rangers and Predators likely, Kings… heck no.
CJ: Even without his stellar postseason numbers Jonathan Quick was the league’s top goaltender from start to finish this year. Simply put without Quick the Kings would be in the Yakupov sweepstakes. As great as both Pekka Rinne and King Henrik were all year neither one of them had to deal with a lack of offense the way Quick did. The
Zoomass Umass Amherst product turned in one of the greatest seasons in recent memory and has more than earned the Vezina.
Caroline: Quick has been a freaking STUD. I can’t imagine anyone else winning the Vezina this year (though something tells me Lundqvist’s gonna take it). Rinne did lead the league in wins, which IS the most important stat when it comes down to it, and Lundqvist had a career year, but Quick slung the entire LA Kings organization over his shoulder and trundled on down the road with them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Quick has earned this fair and square.
Link: I think Lundqvist is just the best. Quick was probably the best goalie this season, but Lundqvist was every bit as effective and frankly has earned a little bit of hardware of his efforts. Is that the wrong way to pick a winner? Who cares.
Finalists- Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos
Dan: Stamkos? I guess 60 goals gets you something. I’d have an issue with it going to Hank because… where is Quick on this list? Malkin will win this, but is he truly the most valuable player on that team? That’s a hard call. In a more perfect world: Claude Giroux, Jonathan Quick, and Geno would be a more interesting Hart race. But it’s not, and Malkin is taking this one home.
CJ: I love Stammer as much as the next man but when your team is in the lottery you cannot be a most valuable player. As for King Henrik as great as he was all year you have to believe the New York media played a role in his being a finalist, because if any goalie were to be named a finalist he plays in Hollywood and goes by the name of Jonathan Quick. The only real option is Evegni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins as he played a good portion of the year without his partner in crime Sidney Crosby. Geno, who came back from a torn ACL stronger than ever simply earned the trophy by his other worldly play and reestablished himself as a top 3 forward in the league.
Caroline: …Lundqvist? Uh, sticking with goalies, both Quick and Rinne more deserving of this nomination. No offense buddy, but no. Now 60 goals are unbelievable, but it’s hard to argue with Malkin’s season. I feel like any and all Penguins get knocked just because they’re Penguins. Everyone and their mother and their cousin and their great aunt and their step-grandpa seem to have a beef with the Penguins. Well, you know what? 109 points make you pretty damn valuable. Malkin deserves the award, and it doesn’t mean there’s a NHL-Penguins-conspiracy. He just deserves it.
Link: I‘m going to go ahead and cast my vote for Claude Giroux. With the absence of Pronger and the trading of Richards and Carter, Giroux stepped up and lead the team on and off the ice. Sure there were still guys like Timmonen and Briere, but it was Giroux that came into his own as a superstar and a leader.