The regular season is over. The draft lottery is complete (with your Florida Panthers pick 3rd overall for the second consecutive season) and the playoffs are underway. What better time than now to hand out some awards? Now, a segment of the Professional Hockey Writers Association might have boycotted the awards this year, but we here at The Rat Trick are happy to pick up the slack. So without further adieu, here is our take on the post season awards:
Frank – A very tough choice here among the nominees, but when you look at the season and what he’s meant to his team, Corey Perry gets my nod. Basically out of nowhere he’s approaching 50 goals as I write this, and has been almost solely responsible for his teams playoff run.
Josh – I know the other Sedin clone is getting nods but my vote goes for Corey Perry. He single-handedly led his team to a playoff berth and is the leagues leading score. No Perry, no playoffs for the Ducks.
Dave – Corey Perry not only had a phenomenal season, but he also performed best when his team needed it most. The last month of the NHL season can be brutal with teams fighting for a playoff spot and Perry filled the stat sheet every night, carrying the Ducks to the 4th seed.
Frank – This award is award goes to the best goaltender. Stats are about the only thing that you can base that on. With the numbers that he’s put up, it should be unanimous that the award goes to Tim Thomas. A spectacular season. Sorry Bobby….. you lose again!
Josh – My vote here is clear based on stats…Tim Thomas gets the vote another great season from an American goaltender
Dave – For much of the season, Tim Thomas was just flat out insane. Even when he came back down to Earth a little bit, he still finished with the best Goals-against-average.
Frank – It would be easy to say give it to Niklas Lidstrom in what may be his final season. This trophy however has to be earned playing the best defence, and of the three players nominated I would have to say that Shea Weber is the winner. Playing on a Nashville team that has trouble scoring, it’s his defensive play that makes them so hard to beat. Plus averaging 25 minutes per game with a plus seven as I type this isn’t too shabby either.
Josh – Lubomir Visnovsky gets my votes here he leads the leagues defensemen with 68 points (18 goals, 50 assts) not only has he been a powerhouse offensively but he’s a plus 18 this guy has quietly put together a stellar season.
Dave – There were defensemen that some better offensive numbers than Shea Weber, but not many of them provided the physicality he brought. In addition to the his offense, he finished the season sixth in hits. This is the part where Panthers fans hope a certain incoming defenseman turns into the same kind of player.
Frank – A very tough choice here. The Chicago fan in me would like to say Corey Crawford for the superb job he has done in goal for the Blackhawks. However, Jeff Skinner leads all rookies in points, and has played this season like it’s his 4th or 5th. He’s meant more to his teams success than any one player on the ‘Canes. A very tough call, but Jeff wins by the “Skin” of his teeth.
Josh – Jeff Skinner for sure…even though there are other great rookies this year Skinner has had the most impact on his team and is just fun to watch play. l He is going to be a number one center pretty quick in this league and his speed and skill make him my pick.
Dave – I had my picks whittled down to two guys the Panthers had a chance to have, Skinner and Michael Grabner. In the end, I went with Skinner because of the jolt he provided Carolina. Without him, Carolina is probably picking top 5 in the draft.
Frank – I would have to say that of the players I’ve seen nominated, Martin St. Louis is the choice here. Rarely is this guy in the penalty box, and he’s a consistent point producer. A weird name for such a tough sport, but if anyone fits the bill, he does. It would be his second in a row.
Josh – Teemu Selanne many didn’t realize until he was in a fight the other night that Teemu hadn’t had a major penalty since 1992….wow…if that doesn’t show his character I don’t know what does.
Dave – As a Panther fan, I’m supposed to hate Tampa Bay. But there’s not way I could ever hate Martin St. Louis. If he’s in the penalty box, take a picture, because it’s not a sight you see often.
Frank – This trophy has been sitting on Pavel Datysuk’s mantle for three years running. This year, I believe that it’s time for a change. Jonathan Toews who has virtually carried the Chicago Blackhawks on his back this year is my choice. No not cause he’s from the Hawks, but if you look at his faceoff percentage, the amount of time he spends killing penalties, and the fact that he rarely gives up the puck, and is among the leaders in takeaway’s, it’s hands down. Oh, and by the way, he’s aggressive on the forecheck and works harder than any center I’ve seen.
Josh – I have to go with Ryan Kesler here…he is a solid forward who plays two-way hockey and gets back to provide relief to his dmen…he brings that element which led the Canucks to the presidents trophy heading into the playoffs.
Dave – When you lead the league in goals against as a team, it’s not just great goaltending and defensemen. You need hard backchecking from your forwards to make your defensive zone a nightmare for opposing teams and Ryan Kesler was Freddy Kruger this season. Three shorthanded goals on the league’s third best PK unit while posting a +24 rating go a long way to show how good he was this year.
Frank – This award is for the best coach, not for the best team. While some may point to Alain Vigneault, or even Dan Bylsma, I feel that the award must go to Barry Trotz. Every year he gets the most out of his roster of players without a superstar goal scorer, while getting his players to completely buy into his system. You want to talk about getting blood out of a rock? This guys does it. If I’m in the West, this is one of the team’s that I’m concerned about the most. And it’s because of him.
Josh – Dan Bylsma…after the season he’s had losing most of his good players including captain Sid, Bylsma has continued to show that his coaching is some of the best in the league by leading his team to the playoffs. Not to mention after getting to know him a bit through HBO’s 24/7 you can see what kind of coach he is…
Dave – Dan Bylsma. Just eeking into the playoffs without the services of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the final three months of the season would deserve an “atta boy”. But to make a push and finish tied for the Atlantic Division and amass 106 points? Here’s your trophy, Dan.
So, those are the awards! Agree? Disagree? Think we missed someone? TELL US!
Thanks for reading. Any and all comments are welcomed and appreciated!
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Tags: Alain Vigneault Anaheim Ducks Barry Trotz Corey Crawford Corey Perry Dan Bylsma Jeff Skinner Jonathan Toews Lubomir Vi Lubomir Visnovsky Martin St.louis Michael Grabner Roberto Luongo Ryan Kesler Shea Weber Teemu Selanne Tim Thomas