Monday, April 07, 2008

If I Had An Award Ballot

As I did last year I will pick the players I would vote for if I was given an award ballot in the annual NHL awards. These players are not necessarily the players that I think will win the awards, but rather the players I think should win the awards.

Selke Trophy- 1. Patrick Sharp Chicago Blackhawks 2. John Madden New Jersey Devils 3. Rob Niedermayer Anaheim Ducks

I think it is quite likely the voters will select an offensive forward who also plays a solid defensive game. In which case, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings is a top candidate. That would be a mistake. This trophy should go to a forward whose defensive game is his primary value to his team. Here is why I support Patrick Sharp.

Masterton Trophy- 1. Owen Nolan Calgary Flames 2. Fernando Pisani Edmonton Oilers 3. Jason Blake Toronto Maple Leafs

This trophy is not selected by the same method as other awards, but it should be. Instead it has its own convoluted process. There is no good reason why it is not selected in the same manner as other awards - and there are reasons why the current selection process is not ideal. Here is why I support Owen Nolan.

Lady Byng Trophy- 1. Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings 2. Martin St Louis Tampa Bay Lightning 3. Jason Pominville Buffalo Sabres

Here is why I support Datsyuk.

Adams Trophy- 1. Jacques Lemaire Minnesota Wild 2. Ken Hitchcock Columbus Blue Jackets 3. Ted Nolan New York Islanders

I am well aware that my coach of the year selections are very different from those that the media will likely come up with. They usually select the coach of the most improved team for this award. In which case, Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens is a likely selection. That said Lemaire may actually get nominated this year since the Wild won the Northwest Division. I think these three coaches were the most valuable coaches in terms of wins they provided to their teams - and no it doesn't matter that two of the three missed the playoffs. Here is why I support Lemaire.

Calder Trophy- 1. Nicklas Backstrom Washington Capitals 2. Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks 3. Carey Price Montreal Canadiens

Kane may have been the top scoring rookie, but Backstrom is a better player with a more well-rounded game. Here is why I support Backstrom. Price had an excellent rookie year, but didn't get into enough games played to be the winner.

Norris Trophy- 1. Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings 2. Dion Phaneuf Calgary Flames 3. Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins

It could easily be a unanimous selection of Lidstrom as the best defender. Here is why I support Lidstrom.

Vezina Trophy- 1. Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils 2. Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks 3. Jean-Sebastien Giguere Anaheim Ducks

I have thought this is the closest award race throughout the stretch run of the season, but in the end Luongo and the Canucks crumbled. Here is why I support Brodeur.

Hart Trophy- 1. Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings 2. Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals 3. Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins

I think in all likelihood, Ovechkin will win this award. His 65 goals were hard to miss. His team surprisingly making the playoffs will also be used as an argument in his favor. However, I argue Lidstrom is a better player who was more valuable to his team. Since he is a defenceman, his value does not show up in the scoring race the way Ovechkin's does. Here is why I support Lidstrom. I would argue Lidstrom had a better season this year than Chris Pronger did in 1999/2000, which is the last time a defenceman was MVP.

All Star Teams- First Team. Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals, Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins, Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames, Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings, Dion Phaneuf Calgary Flames, Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils

Second Team. Henrik Zetterberg Detroit Red Wings, Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings, Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators, Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins, Brian Campbell San Jose Sharks, Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks

Third Team. Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta Thrashers, Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks, Marian Gaborik Minnesota Wild, Sergei Gonchar Pittsburgh Penguins, Brian Rafalski Detroit Red Wings, Jean-Sebastien Giguere Anaheim Ducks

1) Its actually not even close for Hart: Lidstrom and Iginla(our 2 runner ups) might have won if not for what the Russian did in DC this year.
2) He won BOTH the Richard AND Ross trophies. Very FEW win both and not the Hart. be broke a long standing scoring record.
3) Led the league in goals NOT by a small amount, but by a HUGE 13! If he were scoring at that pace in 81-82 when Gretzky scored his 92, Ovechkin would have scored 93!
3) He was in the top 5 in hits by a forward. He also had a very impressive +28 indicating he wasn't one dimensional after all. He had most PP goals, most GW goals.
4) Most impressive of all, he scored/assisted on 48% of ALL of Washington's goals. Most valuable indeed!
And Lidstrom probably won more games for his team than Ovechkin. He was arguably the best defensive player in the league this season as well as the top scoring defenceman. While Ovechkin has better scoring numbers, he is far from the Lidstrom's level defensively. It is that defensive value combined with Lidstrom's offence that makes him more valuable.
1) Wile Lidstrom's offensive numbers were best among defensemen, even adjusted for their eras they were hardly Orr-esque, while Ovechkin's were Gretzky-esque.
2) What he accomplished BOTH personally AND Teamwise(48%) of ALL goals scored) should give him the nod, easily!
Lidstrom has the benefit of playing with two of the league's brightest offensive stars in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg who both very capable in their own end.

Ovechkin for much of the year was THE team in Washington, and, without him, Washington would have been feeding near the bottom of the East.

That gives 'Vech the Hart.
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