As I stated before, there are going to be some awards that no matter how hard or how well a player does, no Nashville Predators player will win. These, of course, are your MVP, Best Rookie, Goal Leader, and Most Outstanding Player awards. Even though there are Nashville Predators who are having career years, as well as some that are tops in the league in certain statistics, they almost don’t even qualify for these awards.
What I mean is, in order to win an MVP or Most Outstanding, one has to be the best overall player in the entire league. They have to be the sole reason a team achieves the success it does. The Nashville Predators have too deep of a roster. There is not just one player that is the reason for their success this season. You cannot say, unequivocally, that without one particular player, the Predators would be entrenched in the bottom of the Central Division. They have proven that this year by injuries alone. At times they have been without the likes of Ryan Ellis, Filip Forsberg, and Nick Bonino just to name a few. What happened? They continued to win. That is a good thing for Predators fans.
Nonetheless, here are the best candidates for the Hart, Calder, Rocket Richard, and Ted Lindsay Trophies:
Hart Memorial Trophy
This trophy is awarded to the most valuable player in the whole league. Like I said, no one on the Predators can even come close, because they are a deep team. However, P.K. Subban deserves this award. Had Forsberg not gotten injured and continued the pace he was on, I probably would have given it to him. However, the Predators have done just fine since his injury. A big part of that has been Subban’s play on both ends of the ice.
Subban now holds the team lead in points, while leading the entire NHL in goals by a defenseman. The strongest case for Subban is not his offensive production, but his defense. He is second on the team in 5v5 ice time and first in defensive zone starts. He has also spent the majority of the season paired with Alexei Emelin. That is a stark decrease in talent from Mattias Ekholm (Subban’s partner almost all of last season). Even though he won’t be considered for the Hart, he makes a strong case for another trophy we will discuss later.
Calder Memorial Trophy
The Calder Trophy goes out to the league’s most outstanding rookie. The Nashville Predators have had a few rookies make a strong impact in their first full season on the team. Perhaps the greatest rookie season for the Predators ever was Filip Forsberg’s. In that magical season, Forsberg amassed 26 goals and 37 assists for a point total of 63. The previous highest point total for a Predators rookie was Alexander Radulov‘s 39. As for this season, the Nashville Predators do not have any rookies playing full time. So, no player from the Predators can win.
Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy
The Rocket Richard Trophy is awarded to whoever scores the most goals in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin is the front-runner so far with 29 goals as of this writing. Craig Smith and Forsberg are tied for the team lead with 15.
Ted Lindsay Award
The Ted Lindsay Award is for the “most outstanding” player in the league. The difference between the Hart Trophy and this award is who votes on it. The members of the NHL Writers Association (NHLWA) vote on the Hart Trophy. The Ted Lindsay Award is voted on by members of the NHL Players Association (NHLPA). The reason the Hart is considered the official MVP award in the NHL is that the NHLWA carries more clout than the NHLPA in terms of bias. Writers are typically less bias than players are. Filip Forsberg gets my vote here. He had a hardy lead in points and goals for the Predators before he got hurt. He has had his best season of his career and does things on the ice no other Predator can do.