Extremely premature 2011-12 NHL Trophy Predictions

Selke Trophy (best 2-way forward): Pavel Datsyuk takes it over Ryan Kesler. In the end, Kesler’s lingering hip issues slow him down. He also has the stench of letdown on him, especially after his disappearance in the Finals. In the end, Datsyuk remains just too good.

Bill Masterton Trophy (comeback story/got through not-self-inflicted adversity): too hard to tell at this point. Have to see what the season presents us with.

Mark Messier Leadership award: Dustin Brown, LA Kings. A dark horse pick (if something like that exists for the Messier award). Brown leads a still pretty young Kings team through a headline-making offseason to a decent Playoff run.

Ted Lindsay award (MVP, voted on by players): Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals. I think Ovechkin blows it up this year after a down year last year. Most players seem to like Ovie, so I could not envision a scenario where they do not vote him MVP out of spite.

NHL Foundation Award (charity work):  Mike Green, Washington Capitals. Greenie seems to do a lot of good stuff around here, and I don’t really know much about the charitable endeavors of other NHLers around the League, although I am sure they are plentiful. A willingness to do charity work is something the NHL and its players have never lacked.

Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship/really low PIMs combined w/ high level of play): Nick Lidstrom, a usual suspect to be in talks for the Lady Byng, gets the nod as a courtesy in his final year.

Jack Adams award (best coach): Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators. Trotz always manages to do so much with so little. This really came to light last year, and I think the Preds will be even better than in the previous campaign. This will mean an Adams award nod for Trotz.

Calder trophy (Rookie of the Year): Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia Flyers. The highly touted prospect was a key part of the deal that sent Mike Richards to the Kings, and Schenn will begin living up to those expectations this year. You know he’s going to get the minutes, and he is skilled enough that the production will come too.

Norris trophy (best defenseman): My brain says Shea Weber, but my heart says Nick Lidstrom. I think the NHL will go with their hearts too. Lidstrom will leave the game as probably the best European d-man to play in the NHL, and this 8th Norris trophy will be a nice reminder of that.

Vezina trophy (best goalie): Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens. Price carried this team last year with no defenseman, and now they have a better offense and a mostly healthy blue line. We know he can put up the stats, and he will do so again this year. And it’ll be enough to get him his rightly-deserved Vezina.

Hart Trophy (MVP): I want to say Carey Price, but that won’t happen. I’m going to go with Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins. I think Malkin, healthy again, will dominate, to the tune of 100-115 points, and possibly more, depending how long Crosby’s out. I thought he should have won it a couple years ago, and I think the same now.

Statistic-based trophies

Rocket Richard trophy (most goals): Alex Ovechkin.

Art Ross trophy (most points): Evgeni Malkin.

Jennings trophy (best goaltender or duo, by GAA): Dark horse: Vokoun/Neuvirth/Holtby, whoever plays (presumably the first two).

Best blogger: yours truly.

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