Today's Trophy Tracker includes the Calder, Lady Byng, Jack Adams and the GM of the year. We hope you enjoyed yesterday's analysis as we continue with it today.
Calder Trophy - best rookie
The three projected finalists are Adam Henrique, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
It's kind of easy this season because there are only a few rookies that have played enough games to make some noise and then they've all been injured. There isn't much contention between these three choices and anyone else.
NHL.com picked Adam Henrique for the trophy.
Honestly, it pains us to agree but we kind of have to. (Don't tell Curtis.) He's leading in points, has taken over Travis Zajac's position on the top line and is a plus player and plays on the penalty kill. He's tops in rookie short-handed goals. That's awesome.
RNH was having an excellent rookie season until he literally tripped on the ice and smashed his shoulder into the boards. That injury, the first in his career, stopped short the amazing rookie season he was having and it makes us sad. He was running away with the Calder and it sucks to see him not be recognized for being the amazing player that he is.
It is no coincidence that the Oilers power play went from first in the NHL to not first when he went out with the shoulder injury. He is the quarterback on the number one power play in the league and for an eighteen-year-old rookie, that's pretty impressive. He currently has 16 power play assists and the Oilers power play is surging again. No coincidence. Curtis believes in a comeback for the Nuge, do you believe?
As for Landeskog. What can we say about the kid? He's a plus-21 on a mediocre team. He's only three points behind Henrique and plays like a more complete player. We love watching him play because he's all over the ice, offense and defense. Plus, he fought Jack Johnson and we admire him for that. And he's in the top ten for rookie PIMs with only one fight. No Lady Byng in this kid's future.
Doesn't hurt that he's good-looking as well. Duh.
There are two Flyers rookies that we think should be given a good look as well. Matt Read and Sean Couturier.
We like Read because he's one of those role player guys who chips in with goals but plays like everything matters. He's also third in points. What hurts his chances is the fact that he's twenty-five. He's basically old balls with these eighteen-year-old kids kicking up a storm in the league.
Sean Couturier is a definite rookie. What we love about him is the fact that he's one of the Flyers's top penalty killers and scores as well. He's reliable in both ends of the ice and that is rare for kids coming into the league straight from not the AHL.
Who do you think should be in the Calder race?
GM of the year - self-explanatory
The three projected finalists are Don Maloney, David Poile and Doug Armstrong.
General managers should be given like a week-long paid vacation just because. We would have lost all of our hair by now if we were a general manager. Especially if we were in charge of a Canadian team.
Stress times one thousand.
We can also agree with these choices. But NHL.com picked Don Maloney as the winner. Meh, we can definitely think of other general managers who deserve this more than him.
Like, oh, let's say Dale Tallon.
Yes, we may be completely biased because we still think he's one of the best general managers in the league but he deserves at least the nomination.
Think about it this way. He manages the Florida Panthers. The Panthers. They're like the joke of the NHL. Everyone who isn't a fan of them makes fun of the team. And when Tallon started signing everyone he could, people wouldn't let it go.
He had to make it to the cap floor.
The floor. Let's just make sure that everyone understands that, the cap floor. There are teams who have to jettison players or hide them in the minors just to make it under the cap.
It's a thankless task and one that Tallon does beautifully. He signed a ton of guys and fans were skeptical because chemistry is something that is hard to find and maintain. Even without like thirty new guys in one dressing room.
But, but somehow it worked. Tallon picked the right guys and they all fit together and things clicked. Sure, some of it is luck but most of it is who he picks and why and where they play.
Tallon cheated a little and picked a few players that he previously knew but who wouldn't do that? He had the advantage and when the team gelled almost immediately, he looked like a genius.
Because he is.
No one expected the Panthers to be in a battle for the Southeast division. No one. But here they are, beating the pants off teams who should be better than them. They're the Goonies of the NHL and it's all because of Tallon. He gave them an identity that was akin to 'never say die' and the Panthers never seem out of a game even when they are.
Attitude starts from the general manager and who he chooses to coach, play and work for the team. Tallon chose the players he did for a reason and it's showing in their play this season.
Whew. Sorry for that rant but Tallon deserves all the recognition for his moves and his drafting. He's an amazing general manager and everyone should know it.
Anyway, what do you think about this trophy?
Jack Adams - best coach
The three projected finalists are John Tortorella, Ken Hitchcock and Paul MacLean.
NHL.com picked Tortorella to win it. We think it's a great choice as the winner but admit it, he's had it easy.
He has arguably the best goaltender in the NHL right now. He has one of the top captains in the league. He has a team that's filled with players who have gelled and know where the net is whether power play or penalty kill.
We love Tortorella and think that he is an amazing coach. (We like his anger outbursts the most, of course.)
But it seems like the easy choice.
We like Hitchcock for the win. Yeah, we know that the Blues just needed a change and they were ready for a new coach but this is different.
When most teams get a new coach, like in Washington and Anaheim, it usually takes a month or two for the team to really understand the coach's system and how he wants them to play.
After Hitchcock took over, the Blues didn't lose a game for like three months. (We exaggerate but that's how it felt.) He has a 31-10-7 record right now and it kinda makes us sick.
Ten losses? That's it? You've got to be kidding me, dude. That's pretty awesome that a coach can just come in and dominate a team like that.
The Blues aren't a joke anymore. And if they came up against the Canucks, it would definitely be a contest this time around. Hitchcock is no-nonsense and defensive and the Blues needed the kick in the butt.
The change was so drastic that you know it had to be such a shock. Hitchcock changed everything about the team and they're better for it.
If anyone deserves the Jack Adams, it's Hitchcock. Is he the sexy pick? Damn straight he's the sexy pick but it's sexy for a reason.
What do you think?
Lady Byng - most gentlemanly player
The three projected finalists are Matt Moulson, Loui Eriksson and Jordan Eberle.
We will admit that we've always made fun of this award. It seemed unnecessary and useless. But as we got older, we realized how hard it is to not get penalties. It's kind of ridiculous when you see a player with under ten penalties in an eighty-two game season.
Now, the Lady Byng is one of the awards that we make less fun of.
We like sorting through the stats on NHL.com and sometimes we come up with surprises. For instance, we sorted the players by PIMs and most of the guys with 0 had played like five games. And then there's Jamie McBain who has played 58 games with only TWO PENALTY MINUTES. Who does that? And with 23 points, it isn't that bad.
After doing the research, it seems that Matt Moulson would be the likely candidate to win this award. Why you ask? Well, he's played 65 games for the Islanders with only 6 penalty minutes. Are you kidding? That's it?
He also has fifty-six points (28g - 28a) and is a plus-5. Pretty impressive on a team like the Islanders. Also, his ice time is almost 20 minutes a night which is nothing to sneeze at. And with only 6 penalty minutes in that much time in that many games, we can see why he would be chosen as the winner.
Oh, and Loui Eriksson. He has pretty much the same stats as Moulson (65 games, 21-36-57) but on a better team. He has a better plus-minus and the same minutes but still, that's not a lot of penalty time.
But we wanna talk about who we think should win this award. And that's Jordan "dapper gentleman in flannel" Eberle. (Nickname courtesy of Curtis.) Yes, we're biased but let's look past that. Bias doesn't mean he doesn't deserve it.
He reminds us of another player, you may have heard of him, Pavel Datsyuk. They both have sick mitts, moves like Jagger and are calm under pressure.
Also, it takes a lot to get both of them mad. (Although this season Datsyuk is racking up the PIMs with 14, shockingly. Maybe he just had enough?) Eberle never seems like his feathers are ruffled and his infractions are minimal.
He has 61 points in only sixty games. He's playing about 17 minutes a game and is a plus-2 on a team that is definitely as bad as the Islanders and maybe even a little worse at times.
On a young team, we belive it would be much harder to be calm and collected. Especially when Taylor 'hot-head' Hall is your BFF, we don't know how some of that doesn't rub off on him. Curtis says that he's a real gentleman because he never takes advantage of Taylor 'Alco'Hall which he totally can. Or something like that.
Seriously though, being a young kid on a team that is borderline awful, even we would have a hard time keeping our frustrations down and out of the penalty box. Hall has no issues letting his emotions run his game sometimes (which is why we love him, too) and it's impressive that Eberle can keep it together at all times.
The day that this kid gets into a fight, the blog will blow up. Literally. We will probably set fire to it.
Anyway, what do you think about this award?
We hope you enjoyed our analysis of this year's trophy front runners and who we think actually deserves it.
Let us know what you think.