Hollywood’s award season is over, but for hockey fans, it's only just begun. With the playoffs looming, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in nail-biting games, and predictions for the NHL Awards.
While analysts have been doing their best to guess who will win all season, things are bound to change in the coming weeks. Let's take a gander at who might win.
Who will probably win: Patrick Kane
The safe pick. The obvious choice. We knew this already. With 92 points in 74 games plus career highs across board, he's the been the favorite all season. He played better than ever despite the public scrutiny resulting from you-know-what. Is there a contest? Not really.
Who could win but probably won't: Carey Price
The Hart Trophy is an honor given to the “player judged to be the most valuable to his team”. You may snigger at Montreal’s situation but Price is so valuable, that when he went down with an injury, the team collapsed. Sadly for Price, he already won the Hart last year, and the PHWA has only ever awarded it to a goaltender two years in a row… once.
Who will probably win: Corey Crawford
Up until mid season, he was locked with Braden Holtby and the DC area was calling for one thing – the crown for their Braden. But the Capitals netminder has since fallen very very far behind. Crawford, just like Chris Osgood, has so much skill, but it's all for a team that's just not shining the way it usually does. Nonetheless, he's got a strong body of work that anyone would be proud of – a .932 save percentage and a 2.32 goals against.
Who could win but probably won't: Roberto Luongo
He's a dark horse. 36 years old and putting up top 10 numbers against goaltenders who've played over 50 games this season. Most agree he's one of the reasons why the Florida Panthers have held onto their spot at the top of the Atlantic.
Who will probably win: Erik Karlsson
The Norris is like the Hart – given to the defenseman who scores the most points in the season. Which means Karlsson is a shoo-in, with an exact points-per-game pace in 72 games this season. His 61 assists leads all league players this season. No one has hit 60 assists since Nicklas Lidstrom did nine years ago.
Who could win but probably won't: Drew Doughty
Karlsson’s nay-sayers argue that the Norris isn't just an award for a defenseman getting the puck in the net the most, but one that's based on “all around ability in the position”. Doughty deserves a reward for his excellent work in the defensive zone, in an already high-quality defensive system the Los Angeles Kings have honed.
LA Corsi% w/o Doughty: ~ 55.4%— Travis Yost (@travisyost) March 19, 2016
Ottawa Corsi% w/o Karlsson: ~ 44.1%
Basically the difference b/t the Blackhawks/Kings and Thrashers/Oilers.
Who will probably win: Artemi Panarin
As if there weren't enough already, the PHWA typically awards this to a high-point-scoring player. Panarin’s got this in the bag (since Kane will probably get the Hart). The Blackhawks are already dynamic, but with his 64 points in 72 games, Panarin might as well write his acceptance speech.
Who could win but probably won't: Shayne Gostisbehere
He's an underdog and giving him the Calder would shock everyone. He took the Philadelphia Flyers from the middle-of-the-road to the playoffs. There's talk that he's the most valuable rookie, because 15 of his 16 goals have been equalizers or leaders. Pity this award isn't typically for rookies, but he's got a great future ahead of him.
Panarin will lead rookie scorers, Gostisbehere is the most VALUABLE rookie, McDavid is one of NHL's best players. Larkin, Eichel also great.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) March 17, 2016
Jack Adams Trophy
Who will probably win: Barry Trotz
It's usually given to the head coach of a team that performs better than expected. It should be called the ‘Underdog Trophy’ after Bob Hartley won it last year despite Calgary’s disappointing run. Trotz has revitalized the Capitals, and even though they're currently in a slump, this is the farthest they've gone in years.
Who could win but probably won't: Mike Sullivan
The Penguins are playing some of its most structured hockey in years, thanks to this man. Now they're in the top three teams in the Met Division . They've been transformed from a team with sketchy defense, into a team that compensates for their weaknesses with aggressive speed. However, since he doesn't have Ken Hitchcock’s 2011-12 season, he probably won't get the award.