As the Nashville Predators have reached the midway point of the season, it is time to reflect on who stood out during the first half of the season.
The Preds went 24-15-2 in their first 41 games, good for the eighth-best record in the NHL at the midway point, and to do that the Predators needed some great performances from players on their roster.
The awards we will be looking at will be as followed: Hart Trophy (most valuable player), Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Vezina Trophy (best goaltender), and the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward).
Obviously, I will only be looking at Nashville Predators players in this, so don’t take it as me thinking these players will actually win these awards in June. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Hart Trophy: Ryan Johansen
This pick may be an unpopular one, but I think Ryan Johansen has been the Nashville Predators best player during this season’s first half, putting up six more points than anyone up on the roster, beating out Roman Josi‘s 30.
Granted, the Nashville Predators have had so many problems scoring this season, but Ryan Johansen has been one of their more reliable scorers, putting up eight goals and a team-leading 28 assists for 36 points.
With the massive amounts of injuries, the Predators have had, including both of his linemates, Filip Forsberg and Victor Arvidsson, with the former only playing 26 games and still being injured and the latter only appearing in 18 games and having major success since returning, Ryan Johansen has been running the offense.
Johansen has had to play with guys like Austin Watson, and somehow made every teammate he plays with better, and that’s why he was the Predators most valuable player in the first half of this season.
Honorable Mentions: Filip Forsberg, Victor Arvidsson, Roman Josi, Pekka Rinne
Norris Trophy: Roman Josi
This was a fairly easy choice, considering just how good of a season Roman Josi has had. Granted, the Nashville Predators have possibly one of the best defensive corps in the NHL, but the captain himself was the one who stood out to me during the first half.
Josi is currently second on the team in points, only behind the aforementioned Ryan Johansen, with seven goals and 23 assists for 30 points. Josi is also the team’s leader in shots with 151, as Josi has become a focal point for the team’s offense with so many offensive talents injured.
The Predators have also been the best defensive team in the league, allowing just 2.52 goals per game, and Roman Josi has been a huge part of it.
Honorable Mentions: Mattias Ekholm, PK Subban
Vezina Trophy: Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne has been making this pick easy for me all season, as he ranks in the top ten in the NHL in both wins and goals against average. With a 15-10-2 record with a 2.31 GAA and a .919 SV% and two shutouts, he has been one of the most dominant goaltenders in the league.
Pekka Rinne is still playing at an elite level at the age of 36, as he has aged like fine wine at this point, as he is still one of the best goaltenders in the league.
This pick really has no contest, as a testament to how good Pekka Rinne has been, the only thing Nashville Predators fans should be worried about is if Rinne can keep up his great play into the playoffs.
Selke Trophy: Craig Smith
Craig Smith has been one of the more surprising players on the Nashville Predators roster as of late, scoring 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points.
Smith, who has been one of the best penalty killers on the Predators roster has also been one of the Preds offensive standouts this year. Smith is second on the team in goals, only behind the injured Filip Forsberg, while also helping out on the defensive end of the ice.
With the injury of Kyle Turris, Smith has really stepped up as the Nashville Predators second line center, and for that he deserves some recognition.
Honorable Mentions: Victor Arvidsson, Ryan Johnansen
With that being said, that wraps up my midseason awards, these picks will be revisited upon the end of the season just to see if they turned out correctly or not, but my opinion may also vary from yours.
Nashville Predators fans should now look forward to the second half of the season, as the Predators now gear up to fight for a spot in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.