Found January 27, 2012 on Red Light District Hockey:
Gettyimage.ashx_url_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f92305142.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d77bfba49ef878921cc759df4ebac47d0326324629ed9bd4ec2a25d34f05a5058ae8abb2d81e622e5
Photobucket
Every other week, we’ll bring you an updated look at the candidates for the major awards around the NHL…

Tracker archive:
Nov. 17
Dec. 2
Dec. 16
Dec. 30
Jan. 15

HART TROPHY
1. Evgeni Malkin, PIT
Stats: 42 GP, 26 G, 32 A, 58 Pts, +12
Two weeks ago I took Malkin off the top three here. I have a pretty good feeling he is here to stay. It goes without saying, but ‘Geno has been magnificent this season. He battled through injury in the first quarter, but has turned it on ever since Sidney Crosby re-exited the lineup, putting the Penguins on his back during their current seven-game win streak. Malkin leads the NHL in points at the All-Star break and has been downright dominant in the last 21 games (17 goals, 34 points); of late, every goal or assist seems to be coming at a key time in the game. There isn’t a better player in the world right now.
2. Jonathan Toews, CHI
Stats: 49 GP, 27 G, 23 A, 50 Pts, +17
As valuable as Malkin has been to the Pens, Toews is just as important to Chicago. Toews, currently on IR with an upper-body injury, is on pace for a career-high 44 goals, but he’s bring a lot more to the table than just goal-scoring. He is the most important offensive and defensive forward for the Blackhawks, who are in contention for the Central Division at the break. He won’t lead the league in points, but Toews is the straw that stirs the drink for the ‘Hawks.
3. Claude Giroux, PHI
Stats: 44 GP, 18 G, 37 A, 55 Pts, +0
You could make an argument that no player has meant more to his team than Giroux to the Flyers. The 23-year-old budding star is Mr. Everything for the Flyers and is elite in many facets of the game. Giroux, who is tied for second in the NHL in points, has been clutch for his team all year. His production has slowed a bit, though, with zero goals since the Winter Classic. Expect him to turn it around, but his stock has dropped a tad in the MVP race.

VEZINA TROPHY
1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
Stats: 22-10-4, 1.87 GAA, .937 SV%, 5 SO
Lundqvist continues to be a stalwart and has been lights-out since Dec. 11 (1.55 GAA, .946 SV%). He’s a big reason why the Blueshirts are playing their best hockey of the year and 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. Tim Thomas, BOS
Stats: 20-9-0, 2.12 GAA, .933 SV%, 4 SO
Like Giroux, Thomas has seen his stock for a major award drop this month. Thomas has a 4-3-2 record in January, with a 2.70 GAA and .914 save percentage. He had a similar stretch last season, but bounced back in a big way towards the end of the year. The thing going against Thomas in this year’s Vezina race is that his offense has given him so much goal support; the Bruins have scored five goals or more in 10 of Thomas’ starts.
3. Jonathan Quick, LA
Stats: 21-12-9, 1.93 GAA, .934 SV%, 6 SO
Quick gets the nod over the likes of Jimmy Howard and Pekka Rinne for the third slot here. Playing on the west coast, not the entire hockey world gets to see Quick go to work every game. But 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 five in shutouts (1st), GAA (4th) and save percentage (4th).

NORRIS TROPHY
1. Shea Weber, NSH
Stats: 46 GP, 10 G, 24 A, 34 Pts, +16
There isn’t much separating the top three, but Weber means everything to the Preds and is unquestionably among the elite on the blueline. He is second on the Preds in points (34), first in plus/minus (+16) and is a big reason why the power play is ranked second in the NHL. He has shown on many occasions this season why he’s an all-around dominant defenseman with countless Norris-like performances.
2. Zdeno Chara, BOS
Stats: 45 GP, 7 G, 20 A, 27 Pts, +26
Chara has been his dominant self during the Bruins’ amazing three-month stretch, racking up 23 points and a plus-25 rating in 35 games. He leads all defensemen with his plus-26 rating this season and is averaging 25:01 of ice time. ‘Big Z’, who is always in the Norris discussion, has been invaluable to the Bruins’ success in recent years. 2011-12 is no different.
3. Erik Karlsson, OTT
Stats: 51 GP, 7 G, 40 A, 47 Pts, +5
Ottawa has proved many doubters wrong by sitting six points outside of the conference lead at the All-Star break – and Karlsson has a lot to do with that. There isn’t much offensive depth for the Senators up front, so Karlsson’s league-leading production from the back end (40 assists, 47 points) has been crucial. The 21-year-old, on pace for 76 points, has arguably been Ottawa’s MVP this season.

CALDER TROPHY
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM
Stats: 38 GP, 13 G, 22 A, 35 Pts, +0
This was a no-brainer before going down with a shoulder injury. 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. But ‘RNH’ now has company atop the Calder race.
2. Adam Henrique, NJ
Stats: 43 GP, 13 G, 21 A, 34 Pts, +6
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 Nugent-Hopkins, but you better believe Henrique is one of the few favorites for this award.
3. Cody Hodgson, VAN
Stats: 49 GP, 13 G, 16 A, 29 Pts, +7
There are more than a few players you could put in this spot, but Hodgson has been a nice full-time addition to Vancouver’s lineup this season. He brings balance to a lineup that is loaded on the top two lines, and has scored a handful of big goals recently. Hodgson has been a consistent producer since Dec. 19, racking up 14 points in 17 games.

JACK ADAMS AWARD
1. Ken Hitchcock, STL
Record: 29-13-7, 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 23-6-7. Hitchcock has given the Blues the proper wake-up call, and they are now fulfilling their potential. If this success keeps up, he has to be Jack Adams favorite, no?
2. Barry Trotz, NSH
Record: 30-16-4, 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 has won 12 of their last 14 games, and 18 of 23, 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: 31-12-4, 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 entire NHL with 60 points. Aside from Boston, the Blueshirts have been the league’s most consistent team since the start of November.

*Stats through Wednesday, January 25
Photo credit: Getty Images
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Gab to go with Malkin's game

Evgeni Malkin was offered a Russian translator and the famous Ottawa doughy treat known as Beaver Tail on Friday afternoon.

6 Penguins in One Writers NHL Top 100

ESPN’s John Buccigross, one of the only ESPN folks that I actually like (probably because he likes hockey), came out with a list of the NHL’s top 100 this last week, and he showed some of our Pens some love.  Five Penguins showed up on the writer’s list with all 6 being 75 or better, 3 in the top 12 and 2 of the top 3 overall.  I didn’t run an overall tally of how many...

Pens' All-Stars Hope to Impress at Skills

OTTAWA – At the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal, Evgeni Malkin participated in the Accuracy Challenge. He dazzled by hitting all four targets in the first round before tagging three of four in the second round. .roundedcornr_box ...

Malkin, Letang go early in NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft

Evgeni Malkin goes to Team Chara with Pick No. 5, and Kris Letang, joined by James Neal at No. 28, to Team Alfredsson at No. 10.

NHL All-Star Draft: Penquins on different teams

Last night was the NHL All Star Draft for the game this weekend.  I think this is so genius and so much fun to have two captains pick their own team rather than just doing East versus the West.  Could you imagine if the NFL did the Pro Bowl like that?  The two captains were Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson and  Boston’s Zdeno Chara. I was a little surprised that Evgeni Malkin lasted...

NHL All-Star Draft: Penguins on different teams

Last night was the NHL All Star Draft for the game this weekend.  I think this is so genius and so much fun to have two captains pick their own team rather than just doing East versus the West.  Could you imagine if the NFL did the Pro Bowl like that?  The two captains were Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson and  Boston’s Zdeno Chara. I was a little surprised that Evgeni Malkin lasted...

Penguins streak into All-Star break (AP)

Dan Byslma isn't a doctor, even though the Pittsburgh Penguins' coach sometimes sounds like one while running down his team's lengthy injured list. So forgive Bylsma if he can't say for certain whether star center Evgeni Malkin is fully recovered from the torn ACL in his right knee that prematurely ended the Russian's 2010-11 season.

It'll be Malkin vs. Neal, Letang in Sunday's All-Star Game

The Penguins are guaranteed to have at least one player on the winning team Sunday in the NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. At least one on the losing club, too. That is because their three representatives in the game -- center Evgeni Malkin, winger James Neal and defenseman Kris Letang -- are divided between the competing squads.

All-Star Skills Lineups Set

The lineups for the All-Star Skills Competition have been set. Evgeni Malkin (Team Chara): Stick handling (NHL Skills Challenge Relay), NHL Elimination Shootout Kris Letang (Team Alfredsson): Fastest skater (NHL Skills Challenge Relay), One...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.