It’s slow around the BLH household at the moment so I thought I’d crank out a mid-season awards post to keep the thousands and thousands of readers at bay.
(By thousands and thousands I mean all the people I pay to read my content.)
We’re just going to hit the major awards (Hart, Norris, Calder, Vezina, Jack Adams) here today so nothing too in-depth. A fun little post before all the day’s shenanigans start off.
If Connor McDavid hasn’t broken his clavicle this wouldn’t even be a conversation but at this point it’s hard not to give this award to Artemi Panarin or The Bread Man as he’s being called in Chicago as he’s leading the rookie scoring race by a 10 points. With that said, I’m not going to give it to him, I’m going to give it to Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings who’s arguably had the more difficult assignments to date. He’s only 19 years old and has stepped right into Detroit’s lineup with only 6 games of minor pro experience and not only that but he’s a difference maker each time he’s on the ice playing for a team whose reputation regarding player development precedes them.
Bottom line, Chicago’s a better team with more depth and the Russian also plays opposite Patrick Kane who leads the league in scoring. Those are detractors in Panarin’s case.
Winner: Dylan Larkin (DET)
Runners-up: Artemi Panarin (CH), Max Domi (ARI)
This trophy normally goes to the defenseman with the most points and I can’t argue with that. It’s hard enough that a player has to play one position but if that player can contribute at the other end of the ice as well, that deserves recognition. I grew up watching the likes of Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque, Niklas Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer. All of whom could put a point on the board in their day.
So I will give this award to Erik Karlsson (OTT). He’s in the top 5 in NHL scoring and is putting up points at over a point-per-game pace. He’s the ultimate offensive defenseman of this generation and he’s got a fellow Swede hot on his tail for that title in John Klingberg (DAL) who might very well pass Karlsson by season’s end.
Winner: Erik Karlsson (OTT)
Runners-Up: John Klingberg (DAL), Brent Burns (SJ)
Jack Adams Trophy
This could be the most contested award of the ones presented here today. I’ve got three names in mind and it’s bloody difficult trying to decide between the three. The trio of coaches I’ve decided on are Florida’s Gerrard Gallant, Dallas’ Lindy Ruff, and Los Angeles’ Darryl Sutter.
The award usually goes to the coach who takes the sh*ttiest team and does the most with them. So if we were to go with that then the Jack Adams would go to Gallant because nobody in their right minds would’ve thought the Panthers would be sitting atop the Atlantic Division at any point in the year. But Dallas and LA failed to make the playoffs last year and here they are sitting in first place in their respective divisions… It’s a real tough call.
I have to go with Gallant. I think the timing is right as his young players are just starting to come into their own at the right times and I think the mix of veterans on the team is perfect. Whatever they’re feeding Jaromir Jagr, Willie Mitchell, Brian Campbell, and Roberto Luongo is something I want a hit of.
Winner: Gerrard Gallant (FLA)
Runners-up: Darryl Sutter (LA), Lindy Ruff (DAL)
This is a pretty obvious one isn’t it. Braden Holtby is emerging into an elite NHL netminder and isn’t the timing right? Washington is first in the league and look to be a major contender for the Stanley Cup this year. He could very well meet up with the second place runner-up, Jonathan Quick, in the Finals. The Kings are looking fantastic and Quick is a major contributor to that.
In third place it was a toss-up between Corey Crawford and Roberto Luongo and I’m going with Bobby Loo because he’s at a point in his career where he should be winding down and considering his post-playing options. At 36 years old he’s defying goaltending logic and his play is really helping in the emergence of the Florida Panthers.
Winner: Braden Holtby (WAS)
Runners-up: Jonathan Quick (LA), Roberto Luongo (FLA)
The award handed to the player voted to be the most valuable to his team can be a contentious trophy to decide. At the half-way point of the 2015/16 NHL season we have Patrick Kane on pace for a 120 point season. There’s Benn/Seguin in Dallas, although I don’t think the trophy can be shared. Erik Karlsson in Ottawa is leading his team in scoring as a defenseman!
But I don’t believe that without those players that those teams would be at a critical juncture. Regarding Dallas, Chicago, and Ottawa, these are not cases like what is happening in Montreal and the absence of Carey Price. The players I feel are the most valuable to their teams are players like Taylor Hall in Edmonton, Johnny Gaudreau in Calgary, or Luongo in Florida.
Take those players off of those teams and they sink like rocks. In Edmonton’s case, they just stop competing altogether and there’s no true positional back-up let alone a compelling defense to save the team with all the injuries that have taken place to their important players. For Calgary, they still have a stellar defense that could keep them in games if need be. In Florida’s case, I’m certain they’d barely be clinging on to a wild card spot if Luongo were hurt but they have the team depth to guide them through any real tough spots but Al Montoya is not the kind of goalie that is built to carry the load for any extended period of time.
Winner: Taylor Hall (EDM)
Runners-up: Roberto Luongo (FLA), Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
I hope you enjoyed the post! Let me know who your mid-season NHL award winners are in the comments below and if you did like the post, please share it on your Facebook page or retweet the link on Twitter! Thanks a lot!