12.4.06

NHL Award Predictions

Here are my NHL award predictions;

Hart: Jaromir Jagr
Art Ross: Jaromir Jagr
Richard: Jaromir Jagr
Pearson: Jaromir Jagr

Yup, I predict he wins the full quad.

The closest of the ballot awards will likely be the Hart (I don't see it being close when the players vote for the Pearson, but I may be wrong). The only clear challengers to him for the Hart are; Rod Brind'Amour, Ovechkin, and Kiprusoff. However, each of those gentleman will get a consolation prize (see below). As for the Richard and Art Ross, there is still an outside chance that he could lose the goalscoring title to a surging Kovalchouk or Ovechkin, and its still possible for Joe Thornton to amass enough assists to catch Jagr for the Art Ross, but I wouldn't bet against Jammy on either front. His team is keenly aware of how close Jagr is to winning these, and to a man they want to bask in the reflected glory helping him reach these marks would mean. So, if you see Ovechkin get close in the goalscoring watch for Jagr to get lots of feeds from his team, if Thornton makes a run at the scoring title, watch for Jagr to get double shifts on the pp.

All in all, maybe Jagr's most complete season to date.

Calder: Ovechkin.

This may be the most frustrating Calder race ever, as there are fully a half-dozen players who would legitmately claim this in almost any other year, but the fact is Ovechkin's chase of a 50-50-100+ season on one of the worst teams in the league gives him the head and shoulders advantage.

That said, Crosby, Phaneuf, Lundqvist, and Brad Boyes are all having outstanding rookie years. Crosby is way over a ppg as an 18 year old (and leads the hapless Pens in every offensive category AND he is their top PIM guy), Phaneuf will get serious consideration for the Norris, but has already declared himself to be the defensman forwards around the league must keep their heads up around. Lundqvist is in the running for the Vezina, and Boyes is making all of Leaf Nation tear their eyes out. And I haven't even mentioned that the Rangers uncovered a nifty 30 goal winger with speed in the undersized Petr Prucha. All in all maybe the best Calder class I have ever seen.

Vezina: Miika Kiprusoff. His stats are stupid ridiculous. He now owns the Flames record for wins by a goalie in one season, surpassing Mike Vernon's record. Recall that Vernon earned this award by leading the Flames to a couple of President Trophies. The only guy who can close out Kipper for this award might be Lundqvist, but since he has been absent the last couple of weeks, Kipper seems to have sewn it up. Pay ZERO attention to Christobal Huet, as the alternative pronounciation of his last name is 'Flash-in-Pan'.

Norris: Niklas Lidstrom in a cake walk. Though I hope some of the writers throw some love to the deserving but never recognized Sergei Zubov, and to pp specialist Bryan McCabe.

Selke: Rod Brind'Amour in another cake walk. Sure Stephane Yelle is a more pure representative of the defensive forward than Brind'Amour, but Rod 'The Bod' Brind'Amour's season has been nothing short of a full rennaisance. He scores timely goals (30 and counting), he wins a tonne of face-offs, he leads all forwards in ice-time, he hits with intent, he kills penalties, and he is the Cane's key shadow for the other teams elite forwards. In short he's had the kind of 'mister everything' season that earns some thoughts for MVP but all but locks up the Selke. Couldn't go to a better player.

Jack Adams: Tom Renney. Afterall, the Rangers were predicted to be in the Kessel sweepstakes, but instead they have pounded out a division title. Renney got them to do this despite relying on; an untested rookie in net, a cast-off collection of injury prone Czechs, a moody superstar who killed a coach, gm, and an entire teams fortunes in his last stop, and a defense corps that featured household names like 'Marek 'the pylon' Malik. In all, an amazing performance to get this team to the playoffs and a coach of the year performance in getting them to the title and making them into a genuine playoff threat.

Lady Bing: Brad Richards. The kid is all class, leading his team in scoring and only garnering 30 or so PIM in doing so. Probably the first of many.

1 comment:

Highlander said...

Well with the advantage of some time, Jagr's run of the hardware table may not amount to much. Great season to be sure but Super Joe and trusty side-kick Cheechoo take the Art Ross and Richard trophies respectively.

The Hart and Pearson may also slip from Jagr's hands to Thornton.

Calder will go to Ovechkin making Crosby's phenomenal first season one that will not come with hardware. Fearless prediction, next season Crosby will outscore Ovechkin by more than 15pts.

Vezina should belong to Kiprusoff but don't be surprised if Brodeur gets another one. Calgary wouldn't be where they are without Kipper but then Kipper wouldn't be there without Sutter. NJ, in the shadow of the media mecca, went from also-ran's to Cup-contenders all because of Marty B. Much closer race than it was a month ago.

Norris is Lidstrom's to lose but I like the quiet campaign for Zubov.

I like Brind'Amour for the Selke as well.

For the Lady Bing though I think that Alfredsson is a good fit. First 100pt season and only 46PIM.

For Jack Adams I know that Renney is the obvious choice but there are lots of other good ones. Lindy Ruff in Buffalo and Laviolette in Carolina spring to mind.

Good post Cam.