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2015-2016 NHL Awards Predictions

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy earned in the National Hockey League at the end of the season. Granted, it is the ultimate goal to be able to hoist the Cup over your head, but once the playoffs are completed, there are multiple trophies handed out after the playoffs, focusing on a player’s individual talent throughout the course of the regular season. Three finalists have been selected for each category and in this article I make my productions on who I think will be bringing each award home.

Jack Adams Award – Best Coach

Barry Trotz – Washington Capitals

Gerard Gallant – Florida Panthers

Lindy Ruff – Dallas Stars

All three coaches could make the argument as to why they deserve to win the Jack Adams trophy. While both the Dallas Stars and the Florida Panthers had great seasons this year and exceeded expectations, the Washington Capitals ran through the NHL on their way to the Presidents’ Trophy and did not give the rest of the league a chance, which is why I see Trotz winning.

Predicted Winner:  Trotz

NHL General Manager of the Year Award

Brian MacLellan – Washington Capitals

Jim Nill – Dallas Stars

Jim Rutherford – Pittsburgh Penguins

To me this is a toss up between Nill and Rutherford. Rutherford added important keys to the Pittsburgh Penguins with the likes Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin en route to winning the Stanley Cup. This past year Nill was active trading for Antti Niemi and Patrick Sharp during the off season, and adding Johnny Oduya as a free agent. MacLellan seemingly added the missing piece for the Capitals by signing T.J. Oshie to an already stacked roster. I give Nill the nod due to Dallas doing so well this season after missing the playoffs the year before, beating out the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to win the Central Division, while Pittsburgh has already been Cup contenders for some time now.

Predicted Winnter:  Nill

Mark Messier Leadership Award

Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals

Shea Weber – Nashville Predators

John Tavares – New York Islanders

It is easy to think of these three players when the word “captain” comes up. Alex Ovechkin may be the scoring leader year in and year out, however, that does not make you a leader. Shea Weber has been a solid rock for the Nashville defense for years, anchoring them through good seasons and bad. John Tavares is a “lead by example,” type of guy. His two-way game, and being the heartbeat of the team are pivotal reasons as to why the New York Islanders were able to make the playoff run that they did.

Predicted Winner:  Tavares

NHL Foundation Player Award – Player Who Applies Core Values of Hockey to Enrich His Community

Matt Martin – New York Islanders

P.K. Subban – Montreal Canadiens

Mark Giordano – Calgary Flames

It’s great to see hockey players doing great things in their communities. Martin used his Matt Martin Foundation to raise money to battle Cystic Fibrosis. Giordano partnered with his wife this season to donate $100,000 to be split between three Calgary schools. P.K. Subban donated $10 million dollars for the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, this award cannot go out to all three players although their contributions will all go a long way to their respective charities.

Predicted Winner:  Subban

Bill Masterton Trophy – Best Exemplifies the Qualities of Perseverance, Sportsmanship and Dedication to Hockey

Jaromir Jagr – Florida Panthers

Pascal Dupuis – Pittsburgh Penguins

Mats Zuccarello – New York Rangers

There is no question that hockey players are some of the toughest people to walk the Earth. Jaromir Jagr continues to be able to play hockey at the highest level while still being competitive despite being the spry age of 44. Pascal Dupuis started this season with the Penguins, but was only able to play 18 games before being forced to retire due blood clots. During last season’s playoffs, Mats Zuccarello took a slapshot to the helmet that left him with a skull fracture, a brain contusion, and unable to speak. I think it’s safe to say that most people would have hung up the skates and called it a career. Zuccarello made an incredible recovery and not only got back on the ice, but was able to be effective as well.

Predicted Winner:  Zuccarello

Lady Byng Trophy – Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct

Aleksander Barkov – Florida Panthers

Loui Eriksson – Boston Bruins

Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings

The Lady Byng Trophy is a tale of low penalty minutes. This one is tough on paper, as Barkov finished the season with 8 penalty minutes in 66 games, while Eriksson had 12, and Kopitar only 16. Given that Eriksson played the whole season and finished with only 12 minutes served in the penalty box I think he would be a favorite to win.

Predicted Winner:  Eriksson

Calder Trophy – Best Rookie

Shayne Gostisbehere – Philadelphia Flyers

Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers

Artemi Panarin – Chicago Blackhawks

It makes me wonder what Connor McDavid would have done this season had he not been injured. He was still able to accrue 16 goals and 32 assists despite playing in just 45 games. Shayne Gostisbehere came up from the AHL and took the NHL by storm with 17 goals and 29 assists, playing a huge role in getting the Flyers to the postseason. That said, Panarin’s 30 goals and 47 assists were among the most in rookie scoring, making him a shoo-in to take home the Calder.

Predicted Winner:  Panarin

Norris Trophy – Best Defenseman

Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators

Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks

Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings

While the Norris Trophy is handed to the best defenseman, Karlsson certainly was not a stay-at-home defenseman. Karlsson scored 82 points this season and dominated in the role of offensive defenseman for the Ottawa Senators. His scoring touch makes it very difficult to make a case for Burns or Doughty to take home the trophy this year. Burns finished the season with 27 goals, 48 assists, and was a -5. Doughty had a +24 rating with 14 goals and 37 assists. Although Karlsson was a -2 and finished seven points ahead of Burns, his role as an offensive leader for the Senators was just too big to ignore.

Predicted Winner:  Karlsson

Selke Trophy – Best Defensive Forward

Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins

Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings

Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks

I went back and forth with this pick, but I lean towards Kopitar winning the Selke. His plus-minus of +35 more then doubles Bergeron and Kesler, and that helps him earn the nod in my eyes. Bergeron finished the season with a faceoff percentage of 57.1, just behind Kssler’s 58.5, and ahead of Kopitar’s 53.5. Plus-minus is not always the main consideration for winning the award, but there was such a gap between the competition that it is hard to ignore in this case.

Predicted Winner:  Kopitar

Vezina Trophy – Best Goalie

Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals

Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay Lightning

Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings

This may be a bit of a homer pick, or maybe it’s me rooting for the underdog, but I would like to see Bishop leave Las Vegas with the Vezina. I’m fully aware that Holtby was a part of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals, and he has tied Martin Brodeur for most wins in a season to go along with his 2.20 goals against average and .922 save percentage. That being said, I’m thinking that Bishop’s six shutouts, .926 save percentage, and 2.06 goals against average, which barely beat Holtby, will earn him some hardware. It’s a long shot, but here’s to hoping. You also cannot count out Quick, he is still very much in the conversation with a 2.22 goals against average and .918 saver percentage. This one really could go to any of these three outstanding goalies.

Predicted Winner:  Bishop

Hart Trophy – Most Valuable Player

Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars

Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins

Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks

Another landslide victory, as Kane beat out Benn and Crosby in almost every category. Kane ended the season with 46 goals, 60 assists, and 17 penalty minutes, becoming the first American-born player to win the Art Ross Trophy for scoring the most points in a season. Jamie Benn also had a great season with 41 goals, 48 assists and 64 penalty minutes. In contrast, Crosby netted 36 goals, 49 assists, and 42 penalty minutes. While you can make an argument for Benn and Crosby, it’s difficult to not see Kane leave without the Hart after being such a force for Chicago all season.

Predicted Winner:  Kane

Stats compiled from nhltradetracker.com; foxsports.com and hockeydb.com. Follow Stephen on Twitter

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