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NHL Awards Voting (and Voters) Wants Reevaluation

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The NHL Awards have been final evening, and whereas many of the awards handed out have been well-deserved and, for some, lengthy overdue, there have been a surprising variety of voting outcomes that have been both questionable, irrational, or downright mistaken. Let’s have a look at among the peculiarities within the voting outcomes.

Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues poses with the Frank J. Selke Trophy, the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Girl Byng Memorial Trophy on the 2019 NHL Awards. (Photograph by Bruce Bennett/Getty Photos)

Invoice Masterton Trophy (Perseverance and Dedication to Hockey)

I discover the Masterton Trophy to be essentially the most complicated of the NHL awards. It’s introduced to the participant who reveals perseverance and dedication to hockey. Sometimes the award is given to somebody who confronted off-ice struggles, and that was the case this season as New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner acquired the trophy after battling melancholy and psychological sickness. Nobody was extra deserving of the award this season than Lehner. It’s after him that I discover the outcomes to be a bit perplexing.

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Pittsburgh Penguin, and 42-year-old, Matt Cullen acquired six first-place votes. Three got here from Carolina Hurricanes writers (Cullen’s a former Hurricane) and two extra have been from Penguins writers. He didn’t face the off-ice struggles that Lehner did, nor did he overcome accidents, he’s simply an growing older participant. It’s superior to see a participant in his 40s nonetheless performing on the highest degree, however I’m not sure it’s worthy of great Masterton consideration. Different gamers who acquired votes that I don’t perceive: Zdeno Chara, Jason Pominville, Jack Campbell, Brendan Smith, Jay Bouwmeester, and Curtis McElhinney.

Calder Trophy (Rookie of the 12 months)

To the shock of nobody, Vancouver Canucks ahead Elias Pettersson took residence rookie of the yr honors. And he deserved it after scoring 28 objectives and 66 factors in 71 factors. The Skilled Hockey Writers Affiliation (PHWA) felt so strongly about Pettersson that his 1,650 factors have been almost 600 greater than St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington in second place.

Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks poses with the Calder Memorial Trophy. (Photograph by Bruce Bennett/Getty Photos)

There are a number of fascinating takeaways from the voting outcomes. One is that Binnington, who solely made 30 begins throughout the common season, amassed almost 400 extra factors than defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in third place. Granted, Binnington was glorious in these video games with a .927 save share (SV%) and a 1.98 goals-against common (GAA), but it surely does present that pattern dimension isn’t the whole lot to the voters.

The opposite fascinating takeaway is that Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson, who had two objectives and 25 factors in 84 video games, tied for 10th place and was forward of Ottawa Senator Colin White who completed fifth in rookie scoring. Pettersson did so due to receiving two fifth-place votes, one which got here from Pittsburgh Put up-Gazette author Matt Vensel. This isn’t to say Pettersson isn’t a high quality defenseman, however a Pittsburgh author representing certainly one of two votes for him is a bit suspect, and on the time of scripting this, I’m not the one to name this into query.

I picked Marcus Pettersson as a result of, having watching his each sport, noticed how properly he performed after coming over within the early-season commerce for Daniel Sprong.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) June 20, 2019Frank J. Selke Trophy (Greatest Defensive Ahead)

After receiving votes every of the previous eight years however by no means ending within the top-five, the Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly received this yr’s Selke Trophyin a considerably shut end. His 1,001 factors edge out Mark Stone’s 891. O’Reilly had an incredible season with 77 factors and a 56.9 p.c success charge within the faceoff circle, but it surely solely additional confirms that the PHWA isn’t prepared to provide the award to a non-center. Patrice Bergeron completed third, making him a finalist for the eighth straight yr.

Surprisingly, Sidney Crosby completed fourth regardless of, at one level, it showing that the trophy was his to lose. Essentially the most fascinating factor concerning the voting result’s that Nick Bonino acquired one first-place vote. Previous to this yr, he acquired Selke votes as soon as, ending 26th in 2017.

Common Supervisor of the 12 months

The GM of the 12 months Award is certainly one of a number of we don’t know the way people voted. On this occasion it’s voted on by a panel of 41 members – all 31 GMs, 5 NHL executives, and 5 media members. This yr, Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney took residence the award with 80 factors, 17 greater than Blues GM Doug Armstrong in second place.

Don Sweeney was named 2019 GM of the 12 months. (Boston Globe workers picture by John Tlumacki)

I’m unsure what to make of the outcomes as each made strikes to get their groups to the Stanley Cup Last, however not one of the strikes have been thought of blockbuster on the time. Maybe their fellow GMs rewarded them for the ‘much less is extra’ strategy. In the event that they did, it’d solely be supported by Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen ending eighth after going all-in on the commerce deadline.

Hart Trophy (Most Beneficial Participant)

Nikita Kucherov, the Tampa Bay Lightning star ahead, received this yr’s Hart Trophy in near-unanimous vogue. He acquired 164 of 171 first-place votes, and totaled 1,677 factors to Crosby’s 739 in second place. Connor McDavid rounded out the top-three with 465 factors and Johnny Gaudreau completed fourth with 442, though his two first-place votes have been yet another than McDavid acquired. Nathan MacKinnon acquired the opposite first-place vote.

Nikita Kucherov with the Ted Lindsay award, Artwork Ross trophy, and Hart trophy throughout the 2019 NHL Awards present. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports activities)

Different gamers of be aware who acquired MVP consideration have been Mark Giordano (ninth), Mark Stone (T-12th), and Andrei Vasilevskiy (T-22nd), who acquired only one fifth-place vote. The truth that the Vezina Trophy winner didn’t end increased in MVP voting exhibits simply how proficient the Lightning have been in 2018-19.

Jack Adams Award (Coach of the 12 months)

One other award we don’t know the poll outcomes of, Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders was named coach of the yr for the second time in 4 years. Surprisingly, he didn’t precisely run away with the award – 430 factors to Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper who had 350. Trotz actually deserved the award after he led the Islanders, which misplaced John Tavares to free company, to a second-place end within the division and a first-round sweep of the Penguins. Cooper did an incredible job in his personal proper, he simply had extra expertise to work with.

Barry Trotz received his second Jack Adams Award final evening. (AP Photograph/Gerry Broome)

In what I take into account to be the worst oversight of all of the voting outcomes is Hurricanes coach Rod Brind-Amour ending fifth with solely three first-place votes. All he did was take a crew that completed 14 factors out of the playoffs in 2017-18 and cause them to the Jap Convention Last in 2018-19. Conversely, I battle to know by Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice acquired a first-place vote when his Jets went from 114 factors in 2017-18 to 99 in 2018-19, a drop of 15 factors. That doesn’t appear worthy of a first-place vote.

James Norris Trophy (Greatest Defenseman)

Mark Giordano ran away with this yr’s award: 1,690 factors to Brent Burns’ 720, and it’s troublesome to seek out any fault in that consequence. Giordano received his first Norris as a 35-year-old after scoring a career-high 74 factors in 78 video games. He additionally led the league with a plus-39 plus/minus ranking. His 74 factors have been third-most all-time by a defenseman his age or older, and also you would possibly know the 2 guys forward of him: Ray Bourque (82 factors) and Nicklas Lidstrom (80). Oh, and Giordano is superb at taking part in protection as properly, which possible elevated the hole between he and Burns.

A pair noteworthy objects from the Norris outcomes: Morgan Rielly completed fifth after John Carlson regardless of posting extra factors and taking part in with lesser proficient protection companions. Toronto Maple Leafs deadline addition Jake Muzzin tied for 11th with one third-place vote although he struggled for awhile after the commerce. The lone vote he acquired got here from The Athletic Buffalo author John Vogl.

Mark Giordano was his first Norris Trophy. (AP Photograph/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Erik Karlsson completed in 15th place with 4 fifth-place votes. He could have missed 29 video games because of damage, however he was dominant when he performed with 45 factors in 53 video games. I figured the mixture of his offense and popularity would have resulted in a better end. Lastly, and this can be sarcastic, however NBC Sports activities’ Pierre McGuire didn’t vote for Kris(topher) Letang, who completed sixth. Individuals accustomed to McGuire will discover this shocking.

Girl Byng Trophy (Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct)

The Girl Byng Trophy is likely one of the harder awards to evaluate the validity of as a result of it principally comes all the way down to who performed essentially the most minutes and took the fewest penalties. Aleksander Barkov took residence the trophy this yr after accumulating 22 penalty minutes whereas averaging 22:21 of ice time throughout 82 video games. He beforehand completed second in 2016 and third in 2018. His 1,463 factors greater than doubled O’Reilly’s 713 factors. Each gamers have been greater than deserving of the trophy.

Rounding out the highest 5 have been Sean Monahan, Rielly, and McDavid. Apparently, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard completed seventh regardless of taking three minor penalties in 82 video games whereas averaging 19:54 of ice time.

Aleksander Barkov received the 2019 Girl Byng Trophy. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Additional down the listing, netminder Marc-Andre Fleury completed 32nd thanks to at least one second-place vote, which got here from Swedish journalist Jonatan Lindquist. Now, I’m a giant fan of Fleury, and he’s beloved all through the league, however a goaltender for the Byng appears odd as they typically don’t rack up penalties. Fleury’s inclusion isn’t one thing to be angered over, however it’s quite intriguing.

Vezina Trophy (Greatest Goaltender)

When Ben Bishop, Vasilevskiy, and Lehner have been named finalists for this yr’s Vezina, I believed it’d be an in depth race. I used to be mistaken as Vasilevskiy acquired 146 factors whereas Bishop completed with 64. Lehner was third with 17 factors and 0 first-place votes. Vasilevskiy is a worthy winner after posting a .925 SV% and a 2.40 GAA, though he did solely make 53 begins.

Fleury in some way completed fourth and acquired a first-place vote although he didn’t have nice stats. Maybe one other state of affairs the place popularity performed a job? Both method, we’ll by no means know because the trophy is voted on by the GMs.

What do you consider the voting outcomes? Had been there any omissions or shocking inclusions that caught your eye? Let me know within the feedback beneath.

*Voting breakdown courtesy of The Hockey Information; Balloting supplied by the PHWA

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