The 2021 NHL season is nearly over, and voting on the awards is about to begin.
In a 56-game season with a condensed schedule, nothing has been normal. Usually, very team would play every other team at least twice, giving us a big sample size and ample opportunity to see how players perform against all manner of competition. This year, teams played strictly within their division and there were plenty of rescheduled games and players having to sit out because of coronavirus protocols.
Despite the unusual season, awards will still be handed out as many players have stood out for their spectacular play.
USA TODAY Sports’ NHL staffers are here to make their picks for the top regular-season awards:
Hart Trophy (MVP to his team)
Jimmy Hascup: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Mike Brehm: McDavid
Jace Evans: McDavid
McDavid ran away with the scoring race by recording points at a clip we haven’t seen since the heyday of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr on the mid-1990s Penguins. With over 100 points in this abbreviated 56-game season, McDavid made clear he’s the best player in the world and should easily capture his second Hart Trophy.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has 33 goals and 102 points this season.
Vezina Trophy (goalie)
Hascup: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
Vasilevskiy did the heavy lifting for Tampa this year, finishing first in the NHL in wins once again (with 31) while making 42 starts. He faced the second-most shots this season and stopped an impressive 92.5% of them.
Norris Trophy (defenseman)
Hascup: Adam Fox, New York Rangers
Fox checks all the boxes to win this award: he led defensemen in points (47), was second in points per game (0.85) among blueliners with at least 40 games played and recorded a strong 1.13 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five play mark. More important, he was on the ice for 58% of the Rangers’ five-on-five goals, more shot attempts for than against, more scoring chances for than against despite starting only 45.8% of the time in the offensive zone. He also logged 24:42 of ice time per game, one of the highest marks in the league.
Jack Adams Award (coach)
Hascup: Joel Quenneville, Florida Panthers
Brehm: Rod Brind’Amour, Carolina Hurricanes
Evans: Dean Evason, Minnesota Wild
The Wild have been arguably the NHL’s most surprising team in their first “full” season with Evason at the helm. A Jack Adams nod for Evason would be a nice recognition of the best season in Wild history by points percentage. Brind’Amour and Quenneville helped their teams finish first and second in the Central Division.
Calder Trophy (rookie)
Hascup: Kirill Kaprizov, Wild
Though significantly older than your average rookie after spending a few years playing in his native Russia, there’s no denying Kaprizov has had the biggest impact on a franchise of any first-year player. The leading rookie scorer has helped transform the Wild, whom he leads in scoring by double digits.
Selke Trophy (defensive forward)
Hascup: Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Brehm: Aleksander Barkov, Panthers
Evans: Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights
Bergeron continues to be a defensive whiz, a center who continues to tilt the ice and limit chances against. The NHL leader in takeaways, per StatMuse, also leads his team in scoring. Selke wins are rare among wingers, but Stone deserves recognition for his fantastic two-way work. Barkov’s solid two-way play will get more notice because of the Panthers’ strong season.
General Manager of the Year
Hascup: Marc Bergevin, Montreal Canadiens
Evans: Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
The offseason acquisitions of defenseman Devon Toews and forward Brandon Saad added nice depth and made this already-potent squad even more dangerous. More broadly, Sakic should be acknowledged for building a young, exciting team that has become must-watch for hockey fans and should compete for years to come. Bergeron was the busiest in the offseason and most of his moves panned out, especially Tyler Toffoli and Jake Allen. Plus he was quick to make a coaching move.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL award picks: Connor McDavid for MVP, but others aren’t as easy
Published: 2021-05-12 16:38:15
Tags: #Connor #McDavid #runs #MVP #grabs