The Maple Leafs played their 41st game of the season on Saturday – a loss, unsurprisingly, as it’s that time of year – and so I guess it’s time for a little report on the NHL Awards Arms Race. I don’t know the last time I’ve done one of these, both because of personal issues and, more importantly, the continued ineffectiveness of the Maple Leafs, I have been watching way, way less hockey over the last couple years. But I figured I would try to get back in the game.
As usual, this list includes both real awards and awards that I believe should exist.
The information was current prior to January 6’s games.
The Rocket Richard
Tyler Seguin: 26G, 21A for 47P, +7 in 38 games.
The Oates / Francis (Most Assists)
Jakub Voracek: 15G, 33A for 48P, +13 in 39 games.
The Art Ross
The King Clancy / Orr (Most Goals by a D)
Brent Burns: 11G, 20A for 31P, -21 in 40 games.
The Bourque (Most Assists by a D)
Kevin Shattenkirk: 7G, 28A for 35P, +17 in 39 games.
The Coffey (Most Points by a D)
Tie between Mark Giordano and Shattenkirk.
Giordano: 10G, 25A for 35P, +17 in 35 games.
The +/- Award
Tie between Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov at +26.
The Jennings (GAA)
Corey Crawford, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling: 2.06 GAA, as of the morning of January 5.
The Crozier (Save Percentage)
Carey Price and Pekka Rinne: .929 save percentage, if you set the qualification at 20 starts. If you set it lower, it’s Michael Hutchinson, at .936.
Voted On Awards
The Gretzky (Best Skater)
Every year this is Crosby’s to lose, well until the inevitable regression kicks in, he’s lost it. Seguin is currently leading the league in PPG. I’m sure by the end of the season Crosby will be, though.
The Hart (Best Player on Best Team Interpretation)
The Predators are currently the best team in the league (they have games in hand on the Ducks). They are the eighth best offensive team and the second best defensive team. So the award, under this interpretation, should go to Rinne, or to a battle between Shea Weber (26 points in 1008 minutes) and Roman Josi (24 points in 1004 minutes).
The Lightning are the best offensive team in the league, so Tyler Johnson would get the vote if all we cared about was scoring.
The Hawks are the best defensive team; Crawford hasn’t played enough so this would go to Duncan Keith if all we cared about was D.
The Hart (Literal Interpretation)
Mark Giordano leads all skaters in Point Shares, but the Flames are barely in the playoff picture. My bet is that they will fall out. However, until that time, I don’t think we can consider anyone else for the Hart as “Most Valuable Player on a Playoff Team”. Seriously. It’s not normally this easy. (And it won’t be come the end of the year, I’m sure.)
Ugh, my eternal struggle continues…
I really need to better acquaint myself with the new hockey analytics. This is a question best left for those people.
My very flawed method seemed not so flawed until last year, when it produced Niskanen as the deserving Norris Trophy winner; clearly it is overly skewed by plus minus. That being said, until I can take the time to really delve into hockey analytics, I think I will stick with it.
So far, it is pushing Giordano, a much more defensible choice for this season. So let’s pencil him in tentatively.
Hutchinson has only played in 17 games. I deny that this is enough to consider him as the leading Vezina candidate right now, despite the fact that he is leading the league in both GAA and save percentage.
So it’s Price and Rinne, neck and neck. Both have faced nearly identical numbers of shots (952 and 950, respectively), have identical save percentages and Rinne only has one more shutout than Price. Sure, Rinne’s GAA is significantly better, but GAA is a team stat, as we know. So I can’t call this yet.
Rinne has a slight edge with his extra shutout. But this is too close to call so far.
The Hasek (The Most Valuable Goalie)
It’s a seemingly equally tight race for the MVG, again between Price and Rinne. Both golies are worth about 8 points to their respective teams, but both teams have 54 points as I write this. But their disappearance wouldn’t drop either team out of the playoffs (making the silly assumption that nobody replaced them…). So it must be someone else.
At the moment, it’s got to go to Braden Holtby, with over 6 GPS on a team with only 47 points. But this will change as the season progresses.
It’s really, really easy this year (so far):
Aaron Ekblad: 5G, 17A for 22P, +9; 22:04 ATOI. He won’t be 19 for another month. Jesus tap-dancing Christ.
The Jack Adams
At this fairly early stage, my vote must go for Peter Laviolette, though it really goes to Pekka Rinne. (That’s a joke!) Nobody thought the Preds would be this good, did they?
I decided to add team MVPs this year for two reasons, because I think it’s such a big league we should celebrate the little guys as well, but mainly because I pay so little attention to hockey now that I need to look at rosters so that I don’t start failing newer sporcle quizzes.
Anaheim (1st in Points, 2nd in P%, 16th by SRS, 9th in GF, 21st in GA)
Nobody knows how Anaheim remains this good. Everything says they’re actually average, except their win-loss record. Anyway, Ryan Getzlaf wins this easily, as he is far and a way the best offensive player on a Top 10 offensive team that is a bottom 10 defensive team.
Getzlaf: 13G, 31A for 44P, +8; 20:34 ATOI, 5.3 PS
Arizona (27th in Points, 26th in P%, 28th by SRS, 25th in GF, 27th in GA)
The Yotes are terrible. Yandle leads the team in points and almost leads the team in ice time. Easy decision.
Yandle: 4G, 22A for 26P, -10; 24:33 ATOI, 3.6 PS
Boston (18th in Points, 20th in P%, 21st by SRS, 19th in GF, 18th in GA)
The Bruins have been shockingly mediocre; it’s not a surprise they don’t score, it is a surprise they can’t seem to defend either. This is a tough one. Here are the two most important players by Point Shares:
- Rask: 15-10-6, 1 SO, .911 SV%, 2.54 GAA, 5.3 PS
- Dougie Hamilton: 7G, 16A for 23P, 0; 22:11 ATOI, 4.1 PS
Rask is 10th in shots against in the league so he’s not exactly getting shelled to the extent that, say, Schneider is in Jersey. Hamilton is leading the team in ice time and is 4th in scoring. Let’s give it to him for the moment.
Buffalo (28th in Points and P%, 30th by SRS, 29th in GF, 30th in GA)
The worst team in the league if you look at things over than win-loss record. Obviously nobody is the most valuable player but if there’s a gun to my head it’s
Jhonas Enroth: 11-13-2, 1 SO, .909 SV%, 3.14 GAA, 5.2 PS
He’s faced the 5th most shots in the league and has a save percentage over 900 despite the fact that his team players zero defense, apparently.
Calgary (16th in Points, 17th in P%, 11th by SRS, 9th in GF, 14th in GA)
We already covered this. Calgary’s MVP is the league’s MVP through half the season, Mark Giordano.
Carolina (29th in Points and P%, 26th by SRS, 29th in GF, 12th in GA)
Another terrible team. Between the following:
- Cam Ward: 10-15-2, 1 SO, .916 SV%, 2.34 GAA, 4.8 PS
- Justin Faulk: 6G, 15A for 21P, -14; 24:16 ATOI, 4 PS
This is practically a toss up. Let’s give it to Ward, barely.
Chicago (2nd in Points, 3rd in P%, 1st by SRS, 3rd in GA, 1st in GA)
The best team in the league if you ignore win-loss record (does that surprise anyone?). This is between two players:
- Patrick Kane: 19G, 23A for 42P, +10; 20:06 ATOI, 6.1 PS
- Duncan Keith: 6G, 20A for 26P, +12; 25:59 ATOI, 5.6 PS
I am inclined to give it to Keith, just because the team is slightly better defensively than it is offensively.
Colorado (23rd in Points, 24th in P%, 22nd by SRS, 23rd in GF, 22nd in GA)
Bottom 10 in both offense and defense. This has to go to Tanguay at the moment; equal points to Iginla in a couple fewer games.
Alex Tanguay: 12G, 13A for 25P, +4; 17:54 ATOI, 3.2 PS
Columbus (24th in Points, 23rd in P%, 27th by SRS, 24th in GF, 24th in GA)
Equally bad on both ends!
Sergei Bobrovsky: 14-10-2, 1 SO, .917 SV%, 2.78 GAA, 5.6 PS
Dallas (20th in Points, 19th in P%, 20th by SRS, 5th in GF, 27th in GA)
Well, this is an easy one. The guy currently leading the league in points and PPG, Tyler Seguin, plays on a top 5 offensive team which is also a bottom 5 defensive team.
Detroit (8th in Points, 10th in P%, 14th in GF, 9th in GA)
The answer is simple: the goalie.
Jimmy Howard: 15-7-7, 2 SO, .921 SV%, 2.08 GAA, 5.6 PS
Edmonton (Last in Points and P%, 29th by SRS, 27th in GF, 29th in GA)
Since the Oil are a slightly better offensive team, it’s a toss up:
- Taylor Hall: 10G, 14A for 24P, -6; 19:37 ATOI, 2.7 PS
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: 11G, 13A for 24P, -6; 21:21 ATOI, 2.6 PS
Let’s give it to Nugent-Hopkins, who has played in more games than Hall and gets played more.
Florida (19th in Points, 16th in P%, 24th by SRS, 28th in GF, 7th in GA)
Despite the fact that the Panthers are currently almost a playoff team, due to the NHL’s odd system, they are not very good. As much as I’d like to give it to the rookie of the year, this team is going so far as their goalie lets them.
Robert Luongo: 15-7-7, 2 SO, .924 S%, 2.28 GAA, 6.5 PS
Los Angeles (10th in Points, 13th in P%, 15th by SRS, 21th in GF, 13th in GA)
Shockingly average, for those of us who thought they would be good this year.
Drew Doughty: 4G, 20A for 24P, +1; 29:11 ATOI, 4.2 PS
Minnesota (21st in Points and P%, 19th by SRS, 19th in GF, 17th in GA)
Well this is an easy one. It will likely be every year he’s plays here.
Ryan Suter: 1G, 21A for 22P, 0; 29:29 ATOI, 3.6 PS
Montreal (2nd in Points, 3rd in P%, 7th by SRS, 17th in GF, 3rd in GA)
The goalie, obviously.
Carey Price: 22-9-1, 2 SO, .929 SV%, 2.14 GAA, 7.6 PS
Nashville (2nd in Points, 1st in P%, 2nd by SRS, 8th in GF, 2nd in GA)
Again, the goalie:
Pekka Rinne: 25-6-2, 3 SO, .929 SV%, 2 GAA, 7.7 PS
New Jersey (25th in Points, 27th in P%, 25th by SRS, 26th in GF, 22nd in GA)
Well, it’s gotta be the goalie here too, because they’re less bad on that end:
Cory Schneider: 13-18-4, 2 SO, .917 SV%, 2.45 GAA, 6.8 PS
New York Islanders (6th in Points, 5th in P%, 8th by SRS, 4th in GF, 20th in GA)
Another pretty easy one:
John Tavares: 17G, 19A for 36P, -6; 20:27 ATOI, 4.4 PS
New York Rangers (15th in Points, 8th in P%, 4th by SRS, 11th in GF, 4th in GA)
Rick Nash is on pace to having the best year of his career, but the team’s stronger in its own end. I’m torn:
- Henrik Lundqvist: 18-8-3, 5 SO, .914 SV%, 2.35 GA, 5 PS
- Rick Nash: 24G, 14A for 38P, +17; 17:40 ATOI, 6.6 PS
I give it to Lundqvist because the team is better defensively, because of the 5 shut outs, and because Nash really doesn’t play all that much despite his scoring.
Ottawa (22nd in Points and P%, 17th by SRS, 22nd in GF, 14th in GA)
Normally, this would be an obvious “give it to the goalie” situation, however Anderson just hasn’t played enough.
Erik Karlsson: 7G, 20A for 27P, -9; 27:20 ATOI, 4.1 PS
Philadelphia (25th in Points and P%, 23rd by SRS, 18th in GF, 25th in GA)
An easy one:
Jakub Voracek: 15G, 33A for 48P, +13; 18:42 ATOI, 6.1 PS
Pittsburgh (6th in Points, 5th in P%, 3rd by SRS, 6th in GF, 5th in GA)
I can’t believe I’m saying this given who’s on this team, but it’s the goalie:
Marc-Andre Fleury: 20-7-3, 6 SO, .926 SV%, 2.18 GAA, 7 PS
San Jose (10th in Points, 13th in P%, 18th by SRS, 14th in GF, 14th in GA)
A very average team, despite their points so far. This one is very tight:
- Burns: 11G, 20A for 31P, -7; 23:43 ATOI, 5.2 PS
- Joe Pavelski: 20G, 15A for 35P, +9; 20:06 ATOI, 5.3 PS
- Antti Niemi: 16-9-4, 3 SO, .914 SV%, 2.51 GA, 5.3 PS
I give it to Burns.
St. Louis (8th in Points, 10th in P%, 6th by SRS, 6th in GF, 9th in GA)
An easy one,
Shattenkirk: 7G, 28A for 35P, +17; 23:08 ATOI, 6.9 PS
Tampa (2nd in Points, 7th in P%, 5th by SRS, 1st in GF, 18th in GA)
Another easy one,
Tyler Johnson: 15G, 28A for 43P, +26; 17:24 ATOI, 6.2 PS
Toronto (16th in Points, 17th in P%, 10th by SRS, 2nd in GF, 26th in GA)
Despite the fact that Bernier is the only thing keeping this team from being the worst defensive team in the league, I think we still have to go with offense here (as Bernier doesn’t quite play enough):
Phil Kessel: 18G, 23A for 41P, -7; 18:28 ATOI, 5.1 PS
Vancouver (10th in Points, 9th in P%, 12th by SRS, 14th in GF, 8th in GA)
It’s the goalie,
Ryan Miller: 20-8-1, 3 SO, .913 SV%, 2.46 GAA, 4.8 PS
Washington (10th in Points, 12th in P%, 9th by SRS, 12th in GF, 9th in GA)
We already covered this under the Hasek, it’s Holtby.
Winnipeg (10th in Points, 13th in P%, 14th by SRS, 21st in GF, 6th in GA)
Well this would be obvious but the team is platooning its goalies and the best one just doesn’t play enough (yet).
Andrew Ladd: 15G, 17A for 32P, +6; 19:46 ATOI, 4.4 PS