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2016-17 NHL Award Winner Predictions

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2016-17 Award Winners
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2016-17 NHL
Sidney Crosby is our pick as this season’s Hart Trophy winner.

Hart Trophy – Most Valuable Player

Winner: Sidney Crosby

It’d be criminal to not bet on Sidney Crosby to win the MVP this year.  If it weren’t for the slow start to his season last year, he likely would have won it then as well.  Top that with his recent Stanley Cup win and his tremendous World Cup run, and this was the easiest choice.

Runner-up: Patrick Kane

Kane had a fantastic season last year and deserved all the credit he received.  That being said, Sidney Crosby started making a case for himself when he finally found his game.  Still, we can’t discount Kane as if he didn’t top the league in points with a fairly significant margin.

 

Art Ross – Point leader at end of season

Winner: Sidney Crosby

Prepare for a big season for #87.  His second half of last year was phenomenal, and his offseason showed no signs of slowing down.  He paired up with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand during the World Cup and instantly made his new teammates better.  His last season was hurt by his poor beginning of the season, but don’t be expecting a similar outcome this time around.

Runner-up: Patrick Kane

Not saying Kane’s last season was an anomaly, but don’t expect him to put up the same numbers this year. Aside from last year, he had only put up more than 80 points in a season once.  Last season was admirable thanks to the help from Artemi Panarin as well, but he’s a sophomore this year, there may be a slump.  Don’t expect Kane to plummet though.  He has still put up a point per game or more in 6 of his 9 seasons as a pro.

 

Lady Byng – Outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct

Winner: Sam Reinhart

This may be the largest surprise on the list.  My personal take on Sam Reinhart has him winning this award for a few reasons.  He is a subtle leader on a team with very limited experience and leadership.  He also had just 8 PIM last year, while playing all but 3 games.  He will be a quiet leader of the Sabres this year, and despite being 16th in Lady Byng voting last year, he should be 1st this year.

Runner-up: Anze Kopitar

Last year’s winner, he exhibits all of the characteristics that the award requires.  He put up just 16 PIM last year and was recently named the newest captain of the Kings.  He is an all-around team player and has exemplified what the award stands for.  Expect a strong push for the award again this year.

 

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy – Most goals

Winner: Alex Ovechkin

Just like betting on Crosby for the MVP, this is the obvious answer.  A six-time winner already Washington brings back an almost identical roster, that being the one that dominated the regular season before their playoff collapse.  Pairing that with the fact that he has not missed more than 10 games in his 10-year career (excluding the lockout-shortened season) and he is a lock to score at least 40 goals again this year.

Runner-up: Steven Stamkos

Stamkos should always be in the conversation for this award.  A two-time winner of the award, Stamkos is looking for a big year.  With a new contract and no worries of teammate/contract issues, this should be a bounce-back of sorts for him.  The lowest goal total Stamkos has had while playing a full season was 43, so expect 45-50 any given year.  If Ovechkin doesn’t get the Richard, it was likely Stamkos whole got it.

 

Calder Trophy – Most Outstanding Rookie

Winner: Auston Matthews

This one is a given.  Anytime a player is drafted first overall, there should be an immediate impact.  He looked far above his age at the World Cup of Hockey, and he doesn’t look out of place at all playing with the Leafs roster.  Expect 55-65 points this year at least, provided he doesn’t have a significant injury.

Runner-up: Patrick Laine

Probably the only player capable of taking this award from Auston Matthews, frankly he may be more talented offensively.  Although he doesn’t have the defensive skills that Matthews does, he possesses an offensive upside that is unmatched within the draft.  Look out for a possible 30 goal rookie season playing along some of Winnipeg’s best players.

 

Frank J Selke Trophy – Best Defensive Forward

Winner: Anze Kopitar

Kopitar is the new age of defensive forwards.  Patrice Bergeron has tooled his game more offensively while playing with Brad Marchand, leaving Jonathan Toews as the likely runner-up.  Kopitar was recently named captain of the Kings and will likely be ready to lead by example.

Runner-up: Jonathan Toews

It almost hurts to not put Patrice Bergeron within these two spots, but he’s one of 3 nominees.  This one is practically a coin toss. I give it to Toews strictly based on team play.  Chicago is a far better team than Boston, and Bergeron is now counted on for offense.  Toews plays on a team loaded with firepower, so when it is needed it doesn’t have to be from him.  Toews is still one of the best defensive forwards in the league, and would not be a surprise to win it for the for the first time since 2013.

 

Norris Trophy

Winner: Erik Karlsson

Some may say Karlsson should have won the award last year as well.  The league leader in assists for 2015-16, his offensive upside is incomparable.  He put up the second most pts/60mins among nominated players (2.07), and dominated the offensive stat sheets through and through.  His defense is nothing to turn your head at, but if he puts up a similar season to last years, it is his to lose.

Runner-up: Drew Doughty

Last year’s winner, it is difficult to leave Doughty out of the conversation.  He is the best all-around defenseman in the league today, and coming off his best year yet at just 25, he still has upside.  His offensive numbers don’t jump off the page the way Karlsson’s or even Brent Burns’ do, but his defense cannot be overlooked.

 

Vezina Trophy – Best Goaltender

Winner: Carey Price

Had it not been for his season-ending injury, the Vezina would have likely been his.  Through his limited play last season, Price put up a stellar record of 10-2-0, with the highest save % amongst goalies with more than 10 games played (.934%), and a respectable GAA of 2.06, good for third amongst the same group.  If he puts up even comparable numbers, the award will be well deserved.

Runner-up: Braden Holtby

The runaway winner for last year, it may not be as easy this time around.  Brian Bishop put up a fight against Holtby’s record-tying campaign, but Carey Price is likely tougher competition to beat when healthy.  Holtby played flawlessly last year topping the league with 48 wins (8 more than second place), while only playing 66 games.  No surprises if he repeats this year.

 

Jack Adams Trophy – Coach of the Year

Winner: Mike Sullivan

Provided Sullivan can coach as he did last year and dominate the way the Penguins did since his arrival, this award should deservingly go to him.  Of course, it is a new season, but icing the same roster as last year and having a full year to coach should give him a step up on the competition.  This could be his year.

Runner-up: Bruce Boudreau

This may come as a bit of a surprise pick.  Boudreau has finally found a stable home as a coach.  This could be the bounce back season of Bruce.  He is a solid coach, but a few years of issue have some wondering if he still has what it takes (See: Claude Julien)

 

Presidents Trophy – Best Regular Season Team

Winner: Dallas Stars

This is Dallas’ year to win.  Dallas has one of the best 1-2 scoring punches in the league with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.  Pair that with a duo of decent goaltenders and solid defensive core to help the tandem of goalies, and this is a winning roster.  Their additions of Jiri Hudler and Dan Hamhuis shouldn’t hurt either.

 

Stanley Cup:

Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins

It’d be hard to say that the Penguins aren’t the favorites again this year.  They are icing almost an identical roster to that of last year, and have two clear-cut starting goalies by the looks of it.  With another year under their belt and a Stanley cup ring to go along with it, they looked poised to win it again.  A quicker start should aid their Presidents trophy run, but ultimately they are the favorite for the Stanley Cup as well. The recent Crosby concussion may be an issue, but provided he is healthy soon, they should be in a good spot to repeat.

Runner-up: Chicago Blackhawks

This is a choice based on history.  Chicago has a stellar lineup with leadership and experience all over.  With a scorer like Patrick Kane after last year, they may be more feared than ever.  Corey Crawford had his best season yet last year, and although it doesn’t seem like an enormous move, they brought back former Blackhawk Brian Campbell for some quiet leadership on the back end.  They are a team to be reckoned yet again.

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