2011 NHL Awards Predictions, Finalists for Las Vegas: Tim Thomas Rewarded for Record Season
2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas: Predictions and Finalists for Hart Memorial Trophy, Vezina Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Calder Memorial Trophy, Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, Frank J. Selke Trophy, Jack Adams Award, Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award, NHL Foundation Award.
The 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas are the Oscars of hockey and a chance to make a bunch of educated guesses for how the “committee” will reward some of its best players. Tim Thomas finished a record-setting season, but can another goalie give him a run for the Vezina Trophy? The Hart, Norris, Calder, and Lady Byng Trophies are all up for grabs as well. It should be a loosely entertaining night to kick off the offseason.
Hart Memorial Trophy
Finalists: Corey Perry, Daniel Sedin, Martin St. Louis
Prediction: Corey Perry had a career year, while Daniel Sedin had 104 points and Martin St. Louis was part of an impressive scoring tandem with Steven Stamkos. Which player was most valuable to his team? St. Louis had help in the form of a 22-year-old superstar scorer and Daniel Sedin had his twin brother to put home his 63 assists. Corey Perry had a career year to carry the Ducks despite goaltending issues and led a late surge into the playoffs.
Finalists: Roberto Luongo, Pekka Rinne, Tim Thomas
Prediction: Tim Thomas set the single-season save percentage record. Luongo had a ton of wins, Rinne had a great season for the Predators, but Thomas was the most dominant goalie in the league all season. He’ll add the Vezina to his Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
Finalists: Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom, Shea Weber
Prediction: Nicklas Lidstrom had an impressive 62 points, but his -2 rating certainly hurts his chances in an award for “all-around ability for a defenseman”. Weber was only +7, but Zdeno Chara was a dominant +33. He has the hardest slapshot in the league, scored 14 goals, and was a fearsome physical presence for the Boston Bruins. He facilitated scoring and dominated games from the backline. I expect Chara to win it this year.
Calder Memorial Trophy
Finalists: Logan Couture, Michael Grabner, Jeff Skinner
Prediction: Logan Couture barely qualified as a rookie this year after significant playing time last year, but made the most of it. He had 56 points for the Sharks. Michael Grabner led all finalists with 34 goals en route to his 56 points this year. Skinner was the youngest rookie to make the all-star team and finished with an impressive 63 points. It’s hard to go against the 30-goal scorers impressive first year.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Finalists: Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Lidstrom, Martin St. Louis
Prediction: The award features two players nominated elsewhere that I expect to fall short for their other awards. With Pavel Datsyuk not nominated this year, the door is open for teammate Nicklas Lidstrom to take the award. His 20 penalty minutes display an incredible amount of sportsmanship and hockey intelligence as most defensemen take far more minutes. He also captained a fantasy draft at the All-Star Game. Martin St. Louis has won before and is hard to count out, but I’ve got Lidstrom winning the Lady Byng.
Frank J. Selke Award
Finalists: Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Jonathan Toews
Prediction: This award is such a toss-up. After watching Ryan Kesler and Jonathan Toews shut each other down in the playoffs, it’s hard to question their defensive skills. Since Toews cracked Kesler shorthanded in the final minute of Game Seven, he gains the slight advantage over Kesler. Pavel Datsyuk will be a challenge too, but I think Toews takes it.
Jack Adams Award
Finalists: Dan Bylsma, Barry Trotz, Alain Vigneault
Prediction: How can this award possibly go to anyone but Bylsma after impressively coaching the Penguins to 106 points after losing his two top scorers. Vigneault of the Canucks inherited one of the best rosters in the NHL, and Trotz did a lot with an undermanned Predators team, but the Bylsma deserves it.
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
Finalists: Ian Laperriere, Ray Emery, Daymond Langkow
Prediction: Laperriere and Langkow were both struck with pucks while Emery came back from hip surgery. In the award for perseverance, I think success after their return should have some roll in the voting. Ray Emery was the only one who made real contributions to an NHL team last year.
Ted Lindsay Award
Finalists: Corey Perry, Daniel Sedin, Steven Stamkos
Prediction: The most outstanding player in the NHL was Daniel Sedin last season. Though he made a tandem with his twin brother, his accomplishments are far more impressive than Stamkos and Perry and his team had the most success. Stamkos has St. Louis helping him as well, and Perry had 98 points, but Sedin’s 63 assists and 104 points will carry him to the award.
Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award
Finalists: Zdeno Chara, Shane Doan, Nicklas Lidstrom
Prediction: Zdeno Chara was the heart and soul of the Stanley Cup champion Bruins. His absence due to dehydration this playoffs only proved how valuable he is to his squad. Doan led a mediocre Coyotes team and Lidstrom is a great leader, but Chara is a bigger presence for Boston.
NHL Foundation Award
Finalists: Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Mike Green, Dustin Brown
Prediction: Who knows? What does it even mean to apply to core values of the NHL? The community service award could go to any of the nominees. I’ll eliminate the Sedin twins because they cancel each other out and never do anything without one another. Perhaps this award will end in a tie? Mike Green had a rough year, perhaps the NHL will award him for spending his concussion-related free time to enrich the community.
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