Thursday, June 25, 2015

My NHL Awards ballot

The NHL awards took place last night, broadcast from their traditional home (and, let’s be honest, soon-to-be expansion city) in Las Vegas. There wasn’t much suspense over the MVP, but a handful of other awards were tough calls. Who’d take home the Norris? What about the Calder? Would Rob Riggle be able to get a decent laugh out of this crowd?

This was my second time having a vote as a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Last year, filling out my ballot was a struggle. This year’s ended up being similar: a fairly straightforward vote for the Hart, an extremely tight race for the Norris, and everything else sort of spread out in between.

Here’s a look at who won what, as well as my own ballot for the awards that the PHWA votes on.

Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player)

Winner: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

No surprise here. Price was the heavy favorite, having produced one of the better goaltending seasons in recent memory for a Canadiens team that was otherwise good-but-not-especially-great. There will always be some resistance to the idea of a goalie winning MVP — similar to pitchers in baseball, because some voters just can’t get past the “they already have their own award” hurdle — but it does happen, and as the season wore on, a solid consensus emerged that the award was Price’s to lose. (Price also won the Ted Lindsay Award, the player of the year as voted on by fellow players.)

My ballot:

1. Carey Price, Canadiens

2. Sidney Crosby, Penguins

3. Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

4. John Tavares, Islanders

5. Devan Dubnyk, Wild

I had Crosby higher than most, but I’m fine with that. As you can see, I have no issue giving my vote to a goaltender, but the Dubnyk pick was the one I went back and forth on the most, since it’s basically based on a half-season. But it was one hell of a half-season, and if saving a team’s entire campaign doesn’t qualify as valuable, then I guess I’m missing something.

Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender)

Winner: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Again, no shock here. If Price was considered the league’s most valuable player, it would be tough to make the case he wasn’t also the best goalie. The only surprise was that it wasn’t unanimous, with three voters going with someone else as their first pick.

My ballot: None. The Vezina is picked by the GMs, but I would have voted for Price.

>> Read the full post on Grantland

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