Every other week, we’ll bring you an updated look at the candidates for the major awards around the NHL…
1. Evgeni Malkin, PIT
Stats: 54 GP, 36 G, 41 A, 77 Pts, +12
There really isn’t much more to say about Malkin at this point. Just watch and enjoy...
2. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
Stats: 25-11-4, 1.81 GAA, .939 SV%, 6 SO
At this time of year, we always debate whether goalies should be included in the Hart Trophy discussion. Two years ago it should have been Ryan Miller. Last year it should have been Pekka Rinne. Goaltenders usually do not get the benefit of the doubt, since they have their own award. But if one goalie could break through, it’s Lundqvist. When you consider the market he plays in, his team’s success and his standout season between the pipes, he deserves to be a candidate.
3. Claude Giroux, PHI
Stats: 57 GP, 23 G, 49 A, 72 Pts, -2
The 23-year-old budding star is Mr. Everything for the Flyers and is elite in many facets of the game. Giroux, who is third in the NHL in points, has been clutch for his team all year. His MVP stock has dropped a bit since the Winter Classic, especially because the Flyers have not been the same team. Will Giroux find that first-half gear down the stretch?
1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
Stats: 29-12-4, 1.78 GAA, .940 SV%, 7 SO
Lundqvist continues to be a stalwart and is actually getting better as this season goes along. He’s a big reason why the Blueshirts have taken the lead in the Eastern Conference. ‘King Henrik’ is also arguably playing the best of his career. If he continues to put up these numbers, he’ll be near the top of the Vezina discussion the rest of the way.
2. Jonathan Quick, LA
Stats: 25-17-11, 1.92 GAA, .932 SV%, 7 SO
Quick continues to rise in the Vezina race and could be closing the gap on Lundqvist, the clear-cut favorite. Quick has been the catalyst for a Kings team that has (a) been inconsistent through the first four months and (b) had a hard time scoring goals. He is ranked in the top three in the following categories – shutouts (T-1st), GAA (3rd) and save percentage (3rd).
3. Pekka Rinne, NSH
Stats: 34-13-7, 2.35 GAA, .925 SV%, 4 SO
Despite a bumpy start to the season, Rinne finds himself in the Vezina conversation three-fourths the way through the year. Rinne leads the league in wins and has put the Predators on his back more nights than not. Of the goalies that have started 50-plus games, Rinne leads in win percentage (.607). Don’t forget Tim Thomas or Jimmy Howard in the Vezina race.
1a. Shea Weber, NSH
Stats: 58 GP, 14 G, 26 A, 40 Pts, +17
There isn’t much separating the top three (or top seven, for that matter), but Weber means everything to the Preds and is unquestionably one of the best blue-liners in the NHL. He is second on the Preds in points (40), first in plus/minus (+17) and is a big reason why the power play currently looks down on the 29 other teams in the league. He has frequently had Norris-like performances this season.
1b. Erik Karlsson, OTT
Stats: 62 GP, 14 G, 49 A, 63 Pts, +15
Would the upstart Senators be in playoff contention without Karlsson? Probably not. There isn’t much offensive depth to begin with, so Karlsson’s league-leading production from the back end (49 assists, 63 points) has been crucial. The 21-year-old, eighth in the NHL in points and on pace for 82 points, has been Ottawa’s MVP.
3. Zdeno Chara, BOS
Stats: 58 GP, 9 G, 26 A, 35 Pts, +22
Chara has not been his dominant self of late, which has caused him to lose some ground in the Norris race. ‘Big Z’ boasts an uncharacteristic minus-5 rating in the last nine games, but is still producing. However, he is always in the Norris discussion and has been invaluable to the Bruins’ success in recent years. 2011-12 is no different.
1. Gabriel Landeskog, COL
Stats: 63 GP, 18 G, 20 A, 38 Pts, +20
With 11 points in 11 February games, Landeskog is knocking on the door for the rookie scoring race. The No. 2 overall pick from last summer is raising eyebrows around the league. His all-around play has been impressive for his age, yet something that most scouts expected coming out of the draft. His plus-20 rating leads all rookies, but impressive considering the Avalanche boasting a minus-8 goal differential as a team.
2. Adam Henrique, NJ
Stats: 52 GP, 15 G, 26 A, 41 Pts, +12
To say Henrique has been a pleasant surprise in New Jersey would be an understatement. Henrique is fourth on the Devils in points and was a point-per-game player since the start of November before a recent drop-off. He may not have the flashiness like other rookies, but he leads all rookies in points.
3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM
Stats: 41 GP, 14 G, 22 A, 36 Pts, -3
This was a no-brainer before twice going down with a shoulder injury. ‘RNH’ now has company in the Calder race. The top overall pick from this past summer exceeded expectations through the first half, and has looked better than other recent No. 1 picks in their rookie seasons. He also leads the Oilers in points as a part of the dynamic trio with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.
JACK ADAMS AWARD
1. Ken Hitchcock, STL
Record: 38-17-7, 4th Western Conference
The before and after results of Hitchcock’s arrival in St. Louis is staggering. When Davis Payne was fired, the Blues were 6-7-0; since Hitchcock stepped behind the bench they are 32-10-7. Hitchcock has given the Blues the proper wake-up call, and they are now two points behind Detroit for the division lead. If this success keeps up, he has to be Jack Adams favorite.
2. Barry Trotz, NSH
Record: 36-19-7, 5th Western Conference
Trotz is doing it again. The Predators aren’t just competing for a playoff spot, though, as they are on a mission to hunt down the division-leading Red Wings. Trotz’s gang is 24-8-3 since Dec. 8 (a season-defining comeback in Columbus), as they continue to surge in the West. The Preds have faced adversity a few times this season, but Trotz has kept the team going in the right direction.
3. John Tortorella, NYR
Record: 39-15-6, 1st Eastern Conference
One of the season’s biggest surprises has been the New York Rangers. Aside from the Brad Richards signing, there isn’t much difference between this year’s Rangers and last year’s version. But Tortorella is pushing all of the right buttons as his team leads the Eastern Conference with 84 points (a franchise-record 115-point pace).
Stats through Saturday, February 25
Photo credit: Getty Images
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