With the 2018-2019 NHL campaign over and a new champion crowned, it is time to head out to Las Vegas to visit the NHL awards. The awards will take place on Wednesday, June 19 (tonight) at 8 p.m.
Starting with the Hart Trophy here is a prediction of who will win each award and why.
Hart Trophy (League MVP)
The Hart Trophy is given out yearly to the player that stands out the most and helps his team the most as the leagues MVP.
The nominees for the Hart Trophy are Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, and Nikita Kucherov from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Predicted Winner: Nikita Kucherov
Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid are arguably the top two players in the world, but what Nikita Kucherov did this year in Tampa was record-breaking.
In 2018-2019 Kucherov scored 128 points in 82 games. 41 goals and 87 assists were his point totals. Kucherov’s 128 points are the most in a season since Mario Lemieux scored 161 in 1995-1996.
Nikita Kucherov led the League with 128 points, the most by any player since 1995-96, to capture his first Art Ross Trophy.@86Kucherov aims to become the second player in @TBLightning history to take home the Hart Trophy – Martin St. Louis won in 2003-04. #NHLStats #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/GeTIdL4OAJ— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 18, 2019
He also helped lead his team to 62 wins and a record tieing 128 points.
Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman)
Nominated for the best defenseman in the league are; Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks), Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames), and Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Predicted Winner: Mark Giordano
Year after year we consistently see the name, Brent Burns as a nominee for the Norris Trophy. As of the last couple of seasons, the name Victor Hedman has also been thrown around for the Norris Trophy.
The defenseman that really stuck out and made a difference this year though is Flames blueliner, Mark Giordano. The 35-year-old has spent each of the last 13 seasons as a member of the Calgary Flames. Giordano posted a personal best in assists, points and plus/minus. While setting a personal record in plus/minus, he also led the league.
Giordano proved that he is a reliable puck-moving defenseman this year and is a big reason that the Flames were able to maintain first place in the Pacific.
Vezina Trophy (Goalie)
The Vezina Trophy is given to the leagues best goaltender. Nominated this year is Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning), Ben Bishop (Dallas Stars), and Robin Lehner (New York Islanders)
Predicted Winner: Ben Bishop
All of the goalies nominated are definitely deserving of this award. Andrei Vasilevskiy is a tremendous goaltender who will only improve with the coming seasons. He has some of the best players in the game in front of him as well to help him out.
Robin Lehner played 46 games this year and recorded 6 shutouts. Lehner split a lot of time this year because both of the Islanders goalies played so well they did not have a consistent number one. They usually just played the numbers game and rode the hot hand. After signing Barry Trotz as the new head coach, the Islanders became more of a defensive team and that has certainly helped Lehner. Not to undermine his play though, he played well throughout the regular season and excelled against the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.
Ben Bishop ranked in the NHL's top three in save percentage (1st; .934), goals-against average (2nd; 1.98) and shutouts (3rd; 7), ending 2018-19 with an 8-1-0 record in his final 10 GP (0.78 GAA, .972 SV%, 4 SO). #NHLStats #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/sP5BsYWNBT— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 18, 2019
Ben Bishop has to win the Vezina trophy this season. Bishop played 46 of the 82 games and battled a series of injuries. He allowed only 87 goals all season and recorded 7 shutouts, only 2 behind the league leader. The former Lightning goalie also ended the regular season with a goals against average under 2. While registering a GAA of 1.98 and a save percentage of .934, Bishop was the goalie that stuck out most this year and there is no way that the league is going to overlook him.
Selke Trophy (Defensive forward)
The nominees for the Selke are Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Ryan O’Reilly (St. Louis Blues), and Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators/Vegas Golden Knights)
Predicted Winner: Patrice Bergeron
Mark Stone did a phenomenal job with both clubs this year and is deserving of this award, but both Bergeron and O’Reilly excelled this year with their defensive capabilities.
Year after year Patrice Bergeron’s name is on the ballot, and for good reason. Bergeron’s ability to skate to the puck and get back to stop a scoring chance is second to none. Bergeron also kept his face off percentage over 56% this season again.
Patrice Bergeron led the @NHLBruins with a +23 rating and placed eighth in the NHL in face-off percentage (56.6%, min. 750).— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 18, 2019
Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy four times in his career, tied for the all-time lead with Canadiens forward Bob Gainey (1978-1981). #NHLStats #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/wOMpCr7f9V
O’Reilly also kept a faceoff percentage above 56 this season. This award is going to be difficult to choose between these two players. He helped bring his team from worst to first this season, It would not be a surprise if O’Reilly had his name called when it is time to present this award.
Calder Trophy (Top Rookie)
The Calder Trophy for the best rookie in the league will be chosen between Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues), Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres) and Elias Petterson (Vancouver Canucks)
Predicted Winner: Jordan Binnington
Rasmus Dahlin had a great first campaign with the Buffalo Sabres. in 82 games this season Dahlin registered 44 points as a blueliner. He also played big minutes against big opponents late in games.
Elias Petterson also had a great rookie campaign. Petterson registered 28 goals and 66 points in his first year in the National Hockey League. Petterson played 71 of a possible 82 games.
Starting with a shutout in his first NHL start on Jan. 7, @binnnasty posted a 24-5-1 regular-season record.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 18, 2019
He set @StLouisBlues rookie records for wins and shutouts (5) and also led the entire NHL with a 1.89 GAA. #NHLStats #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/lhhnA9Nqnp
Jordan Binnington has to be the pick for the Calder Trophy. Binnington is one of the main reasons that the Blues were able to turn their season around. In only 32 regular season games played this season, Binnington went 24-5-1 with a 1.89 GAA and a .927 save percentage. There should be no other name called at the podium tonight when it is time to give out the Calder Trophy.
Jack Adams Award (Top Coach)
Nominated this year for the Jack Adams Award is Craig Berube (St. Louis Blues), Barry Trotz (New York Islanders), and Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay Lightning).
Predicted Winner: Barry Trotz
Craig Berube clearly had a good season, but the talent in front of him was top tier.
Jon Cooper had a great season behind the Lightning bench, he also has a very talented team in front of him.
Barry Trotz left the Washington Capitals after winning the Stanley Cup to join the New York Islanders. In a season where John Tavares has just left in free agency, Trotz was able to keep the Islanders on top of the Metro division for most of the season and end second in the division.