theBRKDWN: Predicting the 2019/2020 NHL Award Winners

By: Tomas Vessio – @TomasVessio15 & Joseph Caruso – @joe_caruso9

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Hockey is officially back! With the NHL Return to Play officially underway, 24 NHL teams will all have a chance to compete for Lord Stanley starting on August 1st in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton. With the regular season wrapped up, theBRKDWN takes a look at who is most deserving of some hardware this season. 

Calder Trophy

Nominees: Dominik Kubalik (CHI), Quinn Hughes (VAN), Cale Makar (COL)

Joe’s Winner: Cale Makar (COL)

The 4th overall pick of the 2017 NHL draft made his name known as a callup in the 2019 NHL playoffs and scored a goal in his first NHL playoff game. Makar and Hughes look like the new faces of the young NHL blueliners and both are already great players. I lean towards Makar more for this Calder race as he put up 50 points in only 57 games as a rookie defenseman which is a better PPG of 0.88 compared to Hughes point totals of 53 points in 68 games (0.78 PPG). This is honestly a coin flip but I like Makar more as he and Nathan Mackinnon helped carry the Avs through a lot of injuries in the middle of the season.

Tomas Winner: Quinn Hughes (VAN)

The 20-year-old D-Man is looking to become the second straight Canucks player to claim the Calder Trophy, following Elias Pettersson in 2018/19. The silky smooth skating Hughes also led all rookies this year in assists (45), power-play assists (22) and power-play points (25) and the top five in average time on ice (2nd; 21:53). 

Ted Lindsay

Nominees: Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Artemi Panrin (NYR), Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Joe’s Winner: Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Tomas Winner: Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

With a stat line of 41 goals, 67 assists and 110 points, it’s clear to both of us that Leon Draisaitl is going to be recognized by his peers by winning the Ted Lindsay award later in the year. With McDavid missing six games in the middle of the season, Dr. Drai stepped up big time and put the Oilers on his back during a time in which the Oilers could have slid out of playoff contention.  A dominant player for the second year in a row now, Draisaitl has shown that he is one of the league’s best. 

Jack Adams

Nominees: Bruce Cassidy (BOS), John Tortarella (CBJ), Alan Vigneault (PHI)

Joe’s Winner: John Tortarella (CBJ)

Tomas Winner: John Tortorella (CBJ)

Losing all of the Star players he had last season, Torts brought his Blue Jackets team closer together with a system that made scoring goals against them extremely tough.  Because of this, he is fully deserving of the Jack Adams this season. Torts really flexed his coaching muscles this year and showed that he is one of the most underrated coaches in NHL history. Even with the loss of Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene, the Blue Jackets dealt with a lot of key injuries to their unproven goalies and defenseman Seth Jones. Torts should take home his third carrer Jack Adams trophy this year. 

Lady Byng

Nominees: Ryan O’Reilly (STL), Auston Matthews (TOR), Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Joe’s Winner: Ryan O’Reilly (STL)

Tomas Winner: Ryan O’Reilly (STL)

After a fantastic individual season in 2018/2019 in which he won the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe, and the Selke, Ryan O’Reilly has continued his excellent two way game during the prime of his career. Always matched with the toughest forwards, O’Reilly plays the game at a high level and his play style encourages taking penalties for the team.  O’Reilly is also one of the smartest players in the league and only had 10 PIMS. 

Vezina

Nominees: Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB), Tuukka Rask (BOS), Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)

Joe’s Winner: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)

Tomas Winner: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)

Without Connor Hellebuyck this season, the Winnipeg Jets are nowhere close to the playoffs. After losing the entire right side of their defence to free agency, a trade and unexpected retirement, the Jets blueline was not good. Luckily, Hellebuyck was unbelievable this season compiling a 0.922 SV% as well as a 2.57 GAA while facing the most shots in the league this season. 

Selke

Nominees: Ryan O’Reilly (STL), Sean Couturier (PHI), Patrice Bergeron (BOS)

Joe’s Winner: Sean Couturier (PHI)

Sean Couturier is and has been one of the most underrated players in the NHL the past three years. While he is not the flashiest player in the league, he has quietly been one of the most consistent point producers in the league since 2017/2018 and his two way game has gone to new heights as well. Not only does the 27 year-old play against the other team’s best lines but he also leads the league in face-off % with 59.6% of draws won as well as averaging 19:50 minutes of ice time per game. 

Tomas Winner: Ryan O’Reilly (STL)

Winning the Selke Trophy last season, Ryan O’Reilly will win it back to back years as the NHL’s most defensive forward. O’Reilly led the Blues with 61 points in 71 games this season. He led the NHL in both face-off wins (880) and face-offs taken (1,556) and ranks 10th among players with a 56.6% face-off winning %. O’Reilly also led the entire Blue’s forward core in ice time with 20:34 a night. 

Norris

Nominees: Roman Josi (NSH), John Carlson (WSH), Victor Hedman (TB)

Joe’s Winner: Roman Josi (NSH)

Tomas Winner: Roman Josi (NSH)

Similar to Connor Hellebuyck and the Jets, the Predators without Roman Josi would not be a playoff team this year. Even with the addition of Matt Duchene in the offseason, the Predators had trouble scoring goals and sometimes preventing them with father time catching up to Pekka Rinne. Josi carried the team on his back in December and early January to allow the Predators to stay in the playoff picture. While he cooled off leading into the season pause, he still led all defenseman in ice time per game with 25:47 minutes per game as well as putting up 65 points in 69 games. 

Hart Memorial

Nominees: Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Artemi Panrin (NYR), Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Joe’s Winner: Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Tomas Winner: Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Nathan MacKinnon had a monster season and we think he was the most valuable to their team. MacKinnon had teammates all around him go down with injuries and still carried the Avs in the process. He recorded 43 more points than his next-closest teammate Cale Makar who had 50 pts. Overall, MacKinnon finished the campaign among the League leaders in shots on goal (1st; 318), power-play points (4th; 31), assists (6th; 58), power-play goals (t-6th; 12), goals (9th; 35) and power-play assists (t-10th; 19). He is more than deserving of this honour and will probably be in the conversation for years to come. 

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