Monday, January 12, 2015

2014-15 Mid-Season NHL Awards

We're at the halfway point of the 2014-15 NHL season and it's time to talk trophies just as the league gears up for the 2015 All-Star Game in two weeks. There's been plenty of standout performance through the first half of the season so it shouldn't surprise you that some of the usual superstars are absent through 41 games. The second half is set up to be a dandy and the trophy-worthy players will rise as their teams push for the playoffs down the stretch.

Here are our mid-season award winners:

Hart Memorial Trophy - Pekka Rinne

Through 36 games played, Rinne has an outstanding 28-6-2 record for the Nashville Predators. With that record it's not surprising to see the Preds leading the NHL with 60 points in 41 games. Rinne has been a wall stopping the 2nd most shots in the league with 960 saves and a .930 SV%. Toss in one of the best GAA's at 1.98 and you have a bonafide MVP. If Rinne keeps his play up he should be the 7th goaltender to capture the Hart Trophy and first since Jose Theodore in 2002.

Vezina Trophy - Pekka Rinne

If you win the Hart then you should win the Vezina so Pekka Rinne could be looking to take home two major awards this season. Unless his play completely falls off then he's got a great chance to win the Vezina although there are always a few goaltenders in contention. Right now his biggest threats are Carey Price, Jaroslav Halak, Marc-Andre Fleury and Brian Elliott if he gets more games in. Should be a fun race to watch down the stretch.

James Norris Memorial Trophy - Mark Giordano

Giordano is having a great season on the Calgary Flames blueline and has garnered some attention as a serious Norris contender. With 10 goals and 36 points through 43 games he sits 2nd in defensive scoring and has been a rock for the Flames shutting down top offensive lines. Gio's fancy stats aren't as good as last season, but his offensive line should be enough to at least earn a nomination at season's end.

Calder Trophy - Filip Forsberg

Thankfully Johnny Gaudreau and Aaron Ekblad are keeping this race from being a runaway as this was looking like all Forsberg at the quarter-mark. With 14 goals and 38 points he leads all rookies in both categories and his impressive +22 rating ranks him 4th in the NHL. He's been a big boost to the league leading Nashville Predators this season and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Jack Adams Award - Peter Laviolette

In his first season with Nashville, Laviolette has them leading not only the tough Central Division, but the entire league with a 28-9-4 record. Among the league leaders in goals for and goals against, the most surprising stat is that the Preds have the highest 5 on 5 goals for/against ratio at 1.53 - a full .16 ahead of 2nd and a full .5 ahead of the league average. Laviolette's got all his talent performing at their best and it will be interesting to see if he can keep them going into the spring.

Frank J. Selke Trophy - Patrice Bergeron

Bergy is simply doing what he usually does and is en route to winning his 3rd Selke if he keeps it up. Awesome possession numbers (58.5 CF%), an amazing 59% faceoff percentage, and 31 points have Bergeron considered one of the best two-way forwards in the league. Despite starting slow offensively, Bergeron now has 15 points in his past 16 games and should get his numbers up to his normal totals. Look for Toews and Datsyuk to give him a good push down the stretch for this trophy.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy - Patrick Kane

3rd in league scoring with  20 goals and 47 points, Kane also stands out with only 2 PIMs. That one penalty was a tripping call so as long as Kane keeps lighting the lamp and staying out of the box he should take home this award based on the highest scorer-lowest PIMs rule. Plenty of competition however if Kane ever decides to lose it with lots of top scorers sitting with 10 PIMs or less.

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