Today I will be covering who I think will take home some of the big NHL awards in June. Up first we have the Calder Trophy which is handed out to the most to the most outstanding rookie of the year. This year I think will be tough with guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Henrique, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Read likely up for the award. But to me overall I think the winner will be 1st overall draft pick of this seasons draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, in just 40 games this year he has 35 points, 13 goals and 22 assists with a high amount of points on the power play with 18 points. He is out on an injury right now to his shoulder but should be back in the next few days and continue up his stellar play and ultimately take home the Calder Trophy when all is said and done.
Up next we have the Jack Adams award given to the coach of the year. I think there are a few candidates up for this award like John Tortorella of the New York Rangers, Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues, Alain Vigneault Of the Vancouver Canucks, Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings and Kevin Dineen of the Florida Panthers. All of these coaches have their teams on great runs this season with the Rangers, Wings and Canucks the top 3 teams in the NHL. Dineen and Hitchcock have both respectively turned their bottom feeder teams into playoff contenders, they are also in a lot of consideration for the award. John Tortorella is the man that stands out here to me, he turned the Rangers into just getting into the playoffs last season as the eighth seed, to the tops in the Eastern Conference and third in the NHL. If the Rangers can keep up their strong play and play that tough nose defense that Tortorella has taught them, he can very well take home the Jack Adams award this season.
Up next we have the Hart Trophy which is given out to the MVP of the league, somebody who means the most to their team and performs at a high level. This seasons likely candidates would be Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks. They all are turning in some special seasons this year all being in the top 5 in scoring. Malkin leads the NHL in points with 71 in just 52 games and is doing this without Sid “The Kid” Crosby. He has the Penguins in fifth in the Eastern Conference and they are making a strong push to catch up to the Devils and Rangers who are ahead of them. Giroux in just his 3rd full season in the NHL has turned in 68 points in just 54 games and continues to lead the Flyers. Stamkos is on pace to score over 50 goals this year but his team is on the outside looking in right now and need to go on a big run. Henrik Sedin teamed up with his brother Daniel has the Canucks up top the NHL once again. Overall I think this trophy will go to Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Up next we have the Norris Trophy for the NHL’s best defense men. Players who stand out for this trophy to me is Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators. This award can go to any of these 4 and would not be disappointed, Karlsson is turning in a great season leading all defense men in points with 57 in 60 games while also being a +14. Weber and Suter being paired together in Nashville just happen to be in my opinion the best defensive pairing in all of the NHL. Suter sits with 35 points and a +10 while Weber is turning in a 38 point season while being a +17 on the ice. And finally Nicklas Lidstrom, last years Norris Trophy winner, he has 31 points and sitting with a rating of +26 on the ice, knowing the leadership he provides Lidstrom can very well be the winner again, but if the Senators hang onto a playoff spot I think this one will go to Erik Karlsson for the first time in his career.
The last award I will discuss is the Vezina Trophy, given to the leagues top goaltender. Up for this award can be goalies Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings, Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. All four of them are pitching in great seasons for their teams, Howard is 32-11-1 with .924 save percentage and 2.03 goals against average. Lundqvist is having one of his best seasons of his career for the Rangers with a record right now of 28-11-4 with a .940 save percentage and 1.77 goals against average which is second best in the NHL to only Brian Elliott. Elliott of the Blues who started as the back up took over as the main guy when Jaroslav Halak started to slip off, Elliott is 20-6-2 with .940 save percentage and 1.56 goals against average. Quick of the Kings is 24-16-10 with a .934 save percentage and 1.87 goals against average, but don’t let his stats and record fool you. Quick has been one of the best young goalies in the NHL who just does not get the same support as the other candidates and he is just as good, but overall I think this record will go to “King Henrik” of the New York Rangers.