Forget the PHWA, Our writers correctly select the winners for the NHL Awards – TheLeafsNation


I’ve never really been one for the NHL Awards, but here we are in the middle of a pause waiting to see if we’ll get hockey games in August of all months. If that isn’t enough reason to start caring I don’t know what is. We’ve also saved you the trouble of arguing about the award decisions online because our decision is 100% right and there is no need for debate.

For contents sake we’ve also picked the Leaf player most deserving of some of the awards as well. I didn’t ask the other writers about who in the Leafs organization would win the Vezina because I assume everyone would naturally agree that it’s David Ayres.

Hart League Pick Leafs Pick
Mark Norman MacKinnon Matthews
Nick DeSouza Panarin Matthews
Nick Richard MacKinnon Matthews
Scott Maxwell Panarin Matthews
Totally Offside Panarin Matthews
Jon Steitzer MacKinnon Matthews
Brendan Mori MacKinnon Matthews
Cam Lewis Draisaitl Matthews

League Winner: Nathan MacKinnon
Leafs Winner: Auston Matthews

Well, I guess the fact that we all agreed on Matthews isn’t really a big surprise but MacKinnon vs. Panarin is a very real discussion, and Cam is providing the proof that only Oilers fans think that Draisaitl should win the Hart.

What our writers said:

Mark Norman: What MacKinnon has done with the revolving door of wingers he has had this season is insane. The Avs have been hit by long-term injuries to his two main linemates Mikko Rantanen (28 games missed) and Gabriel Landeskog (16). Kadri (19) and Makar (13) also missed time. He leads the league in both points and points-per-game clear of his second-highest teammate. He lifted players like Burakovsky and Donskoi to career seasons. A few seasons ago I vouched for Hall over MacKinnon because of how above and beyond Hall’s production was relative to his teammates: this year MacKinnon takes that honour.

35 even strength goals. 80 points. Longest pointless streak of the season was just 3 games. Improved defensive game. Matthews was everything the Leafs needed this season.

Scott Maxwell: Panarin had one of the best seasons on a horrendously bad Rangers team. This team had no business being as close to the playoffs as they were (before they made it anyways), and part of that is because of Panarin’s 95 point season. People make the case for Draisaitl, but his most common linemate was Connor McDavid, while Panarin’s was Ryan Strome and Jesper Fast.

Selke League Pick Leafs Pick
Mark Norman Couturier Hyman
Nick DeSouza Bergeron Matthews
Nick Richard Couturier Matthews
Scott Maxwell Bergeron Matthews
Totally Offside Couturier Hyman
Jon Steitzer Cirelli Tavares
Brendan Mori Couturier Hyman
Cam Lewis Couturier Hyman

League Winner: Sean Couturier
Leafs Winner: Zach Hyman

Clearly I needed to pick a lane, but damned if Selke isn’t the area where I felt the need to be a contrarian bastard and look like a crazed Oshawa Generals homer (I’m not btw, that would be disgusting.)

Courturier is a great and long overdue choice, and as for Hyman, he’s certainly demonstrated his ability to do some heavy lifting in his own zone, and consensus says Mitch Marner has a long way to go before getting our Selke votes.

What our writers said:

Totally Offside: Couturier has been great defensively for years. With the Flyers success this season, it seems like the right time for him to finally get his due.

Scott Maxwell: It could be considered a lazy pick, but it says a lot that at 34 years old, Bergeron is still one of the best two-way players in the game, driving one of the most dominant lines in hockey, and doesn’t look out of place in the game. I’ll happily hear arguments for Couturier, O’Reilly, or Stone though.

Mark Norman: A mainstay of the Leafs PK, dogged forechecker and reliable presence at either end of the rink, Hyman was third on the Leafs in Goals For share among skaters with at least 500 minutes.

Norris League Pick Leafs Pick
Mark Norman Josi Muzzin
Nick DeSouza Pietrangelo Muzzin
Nick Richard Josi Muzzin
Scott Maxwell Pietrangelo Muzzin
Totally Offside Pietrangelo Muzzin
Jon Steitzer Spurgeon Muzzin
Brendan Mori Carlson Muzzin
Cam Lewis Pietrangelo Muzzin

League Winner: Alex Pietrangelo
Leafs Winner: Jake Muzzin

Future Leaf Alex Pietrangelo got serious love from our voters, and if I wasn’t hellbent on reminding people what an absolute gem Jared Spurgeon is, he probably would have got my more serious vote. As for Muzzin, we love him. Whether we’ll still love him on the new contract, check back with us, but for now he’s great.

What our writers said:

Scott Maxwell: Between Draisaitl for Hart and Carlson for Norris, this has the potential to be a really bad year for awards picks. Carlson may have points, but the rest of his game is lacking. Pietrangelo is sixth in the league in points, while having one of the best defensive impacts in the game from the blue line. He picked a good year to have a contract year.

Mark Norman: Josi lead his entire team in points this season as a defenceman, 17 (!!!) points clear of the next closest player. He played the third-most minutes-per-game of any defencemen and was a consistent game changer every night. He was tied with John Carlson in points from Nov 1 onwards, and also lead the league in shots by a defenceman.

Muzzin was the heartbeat of the Leafs’ defence this season and one of the few dmen to show a physical edge to his game.

Calder League Pick Leafs Pick
Mark Norman Makar Mikheyev
Nick DeSouza Makar Mikheyev
Nick Richard Hughes Mikheyev
Scott Maxwell Makar Mikheyev
Totally Offside Hughes Mikheyev
Jon Steitzer Hughes Mikheyev
Brendan Mori Makar Mikheyev
Cam Lewis Hughes Mikheyev

League Winner: Makar/Hughes (tie)
Leafs Winner: Ilya Mikheyev

I guess the two man race between Hughes and Makar is very real. Makar looks to be a very elite offensive defenseman, and while the same can be said for Hughes, I’d argue there’s more to his game and did more with less on the Canucks.

As for Mikheyev, we love Ilya like Mikheyev loves soup. As much as Engvall came out of guns blazing and we were excited to see Sandin in a Leafs uniform, the answer is the guy we hope to see more of soon.

What our writers said:

Totally Offside: If you make the Canucks watchable, you deserve an award.

Scott Maxwell: This was a close one between him and Hughes, but leading rookies in points per game as a defenseman while also having the best overall impact just gives him the edge in this one.

Byng League Pick Leafs Pick
Mark Norman Teravainen Nylander
Nick DeSouza Matthews Nylander
Nick Richard Matthews Matthews
Scott Maxwell Matthews Matthews
Totally Offside Werenski Nylander
Jon Steitzer Matthews Matthews
Brendan Mori Matthews Matthews
Cam Lewis Teravainen Matthews

League Winner: Auston Matthews
Leafs Winner: Auston Matthews

This was our chance to be homers and we took it, although I kinda think that Totally Offside had the best logic to his pick, and admire that Nick DeSouza has Matthews as the league winner and Nylander as the Leafs winner.

What our writers said:

Mark Norman: Teravainen had just 8 PIM all season, which was tied for the lowest among players with at least 60 points .

Scott Maxwell: Every Bruins player when they play the Leafs, but actually Matthews.
He’s one of only two players to have more than 50 points while also having fewer than 10 minutes, the other being Teuvo Teravainen. While the points are irrelevant overall, it says a lot that he plays a top role while only taking four penalties all year. Now, if only he could get some time on the PK…

Totally Offside: 10 PIMs in 63 games as a top pair defenseman.

Vezina Gregory Adams
Mark Norman Hellebucyk Gorton Tortorella
Nick De Souza Hellebucyk Gorton Cassidy
Nick Richard Hellebucyk Sweeney Maurice
Scott Maxwell Hellebucyk Waddell Copper
Totally Offside Hellebucyk Dorion Cassidy
Jon Steitzer Hellebucyk Sakic Cassidy
Brendan Mori Hellebucyk Gorton Maurice
Cam Lewis Hellebucyk Sakic Tortorella

Vezina Winner: Hellebucyk
Jim Gregory Winner: Jeff Gorton
Jack Adams Winner: Bruce Cassidy

The fact that we universally all believe that Hellebucyk had an amazing year this year pretty much makes him a lock for being snubbed from even being a Vezina finalist this year. I think that speaks to the inability of NHL GMs to identify talent as well as your average hockey blogger.

When it came to GMs we were a bit all over the place, but Jeff Gorton ended up edging out Joe Sakic. The fact that he dismantled the Rangers, built them back up quickly with a young core, and managed to earn a playoff play-in in the process is pretty impressive.

As for Cassidy, well, at the beginning of the year it was going to be a two horse race between the Lightning and Leafs for first in the Atlantic and at the end of the day we’re once again looking at a dominate Bruins team that won the Presidents Trophy and are the Cup favourites. Tortorella and Maurice doing a lot with nothing was impressive, but both also had the help of red hot goaltending, which I guess Cassidy gets as well.

What our writers said:

Totally Offside: 
Vezina: Hellebuyck
Really great season from Hellebuyck with a .922 sv%. he’s the reason the Jets were in playoff contention this year.
Adams: Cassidy
Every year, I think it’s going to be the year Boston falls off and every year, I am proven wrong. Cassidy has done a great job again this season; leading his team to a league leading 100 point finish.

Scott Maxwell:
Vezina – Hellebuyck
He was one of three starters to finish the year above a .920 save percentage, and the one player higher than him (Rask) did so in more of a 1A/1B situation. Hellebuyck was tied for the most games played as a goalie, had the best results, and did so behind a horrendous Jets defense. Not only should he be a shoe-in for the Vezina, he should probably get Hart consideration.

Mark Norman:
Gregory: Gorton
The Rangers turnaround has been quicker than most expected, and it’s largely due to signings and trades made by Gorton during the offseason. The Rangers added the biggest prize of the summer free agency period in Artemi Panarin, stealing him from the Islanders, then made a trades for Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox. He was smart to have Igor Shesterkin marinate in the minors for a half season, before bringing him up and seeing him dominate. The Rangers look scary good.

Okay, so when I put out the initial request to our writers I forgot to include the Ted Lindsay, and the Masterton, although picking the Masterton always feels weird to me, even if I think it’s a great award to have. Here’s what we landed on…

Lindsay Masterton
Mark Norman Draisaitl Ryan
Nick Richard Draisaitl Ryan
Scott Maxwell McDavid Ryan
Totally Offside McDavid Ryan
Jon Steitzer McDavid Lindblom
Brendan Mori McDavid Ryan

Ted Lindsay Winner: Connor McDavid
Bill Masterton Winner: Bobby Ryan

We’re assuming that anyone from Oilersnation who wandered over from that site had a stroke when Draisaitl wasn’t our pick for the Hart, so hopefully they’ll stay out of comment section now that we all agreed that an Oiler should win the Ted Lindsay. We just think it should be the actual best player on their team, the best player in the league, and the guy who can produce in 5 on 5 situations as well.

As for the Masterton, there is no question that the Bobby Ryan return game hat trick was a highlight of the season and he deserves recognition for what he’s overcome. Oskar Lindblom and Jay Bouwmeester are also pretty deserving of the honour.

Now in the finest NHL Awards tradition, “Ladies and Gentlemen…, CHAKA KHAN!!!”