The 2015 NHL Awards ceremony will be held Wednesday night in Las Vegas, where the league will hand out its most prestigious individual honors.
Patrice Bergeron is the only Boston Bruins player among the finalists for this season’s awards. He’s the clear favorite for the Selke Trophy, but many of the other award races aren’t as close. Check out our predictions below.
Hart Trophy (League MVP)
Finalists: Alexander Ovechkin (Washington), John Tavares (N.Y. Islanders), Carey Price (Montreal)
Prediction: Price was under constant pressure and still put up stellar numbers, so he deserves to be the first Hart Trophy-winning goalie since Jose Theodore also did it for the Canadiens in 2001-02.
Price steered the Canadiens to first place in the Atlantic Division despite an below-average offense that ranked 20th in goals scored and 23rd in power-play percentage. Montreal also spent a lot of time in its own end as a poor puck possession team, finishing the season with a 48.48 Corsi-For percentage, which ranked 23rd in the league and was the second-worst among the 16 playoff teams.
Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman)
Finalists: Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Drew Doughty (L.A. Kings), P.K. Subban (Montreal)
Prediction: Norris voting often is ridiculous because the most deserving defenseman has not consistently won in recent seasons. The fact Zdeno Chara has one Norris win as a Bruin is absurd.
Anyway, Doughty is the best candidate this season. During 5-on-5 play, he had more ice time, received tougher zone starts, drove more puck possession and scored at a similar rate to the other finalists.
This should be a close race voting-wise, but Doughty should have a slight edge with his excellent two-way play.
Selke Trophy (Top Defensive Forward)
Finalists: Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Anze Kopitar (L.A. Kings), Jonathan Toews (Chicago)
Prediction: Bergeron is the overwhelming favorite and should win this award for the second consecutive year and third time in his career. Simply put, Bergeron was in a class by himself when you take into account many of the puck possession, scoring chance, quality of competition and faceoff metrics from 2014-15.
Here’s a small sampling.
Bergeron faced the opposing team’s top lines, took on tough zone starts and helped his team transition from defense to offense better than any forward this season.
Calder Trophy (Top Rookie)
Finalists: Aaron Ekblad (Florida), Mark Stone (Ottawa), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary)
Prediction: Ekblad’s excellent two-way performance as an 18-year-old playing the toughest position for young players was truly amazing. He ranked second among rookie defensemen in scoring (39 points), first in power-play points (13), first in shots (170) and fourth in TOI/game (21:48). The Panthers also controlled 53.18 percent of shot attempts and 54.44 percent of scoring chances when Ekblad was on the ice during 5-on-5 play.
Vezina Trophy (Top Goaltender)
Finalists: Carey Price (Montreal), Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota), Pekka Rinne (Nashville)
Prediction: Price should easily win this award. He led all goalies in wins (44), save percentage (.933) and goals against average (1.96) while finishing second in shutouts (9). Price also posted an .865 save percentage on high-danger scoring chances at even strength, which ranked fifth among goalies with 1,000 minutes played.
The fact that Price tallied stellar numbers after facing the fifth-most shot attempts in the league and being forced to play 66 games makes him the favorite for the Vezina.
Jack Adams Award (Coach Of The Year)
Finalists: Bob Hartley (Calgary), Alain Vigneault (N.Y. Rangers), Peter Laviolette (Nashville)
Prediction: Laviollete’s Predators were one of the league’s best teams this season, but because they didn’t finish the season strong, his Jack Adams campaign didn’t pick up much steam.
That said, Laviollete engineered a remarkable turnaround in Nashville, leading the Preds to 104 points and second place in the Central Division, one year after the team finished at the bottom of the Central with 88 points. Nashville also improved in many scoring, defensive and puck possession metrics compared to 2013-14.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
Advanced stats via War on Ice