If this feels like deja-vu, that’s probably because it is. Looking back at my last predictions made before the season began, you could say I was a little off in some areas. It’s time to re-visit the awards predictions at the mid-season point. Like the last one, this article will attempt to predict the Art Ross, Calder, Vezina, Rocket Richard, Hart, and Norris trophies.
Hart Memorial Trophy
Winner: Tage Thompson
Runners Up: Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Jason Robertson, David Pastrnak
It is only fair that we give the second most prestigious trophy given out to hockey players (second to Lord Stanley) the first prediction. Given out to the regular season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), this trophy is given to the best of the best from the season. With the trajectory Tage Thompson is making this season, an explosion of goals and talent, it should be no surprise to see him in high contention for the Hart. While it will most likely go to one of the runners up, it would be a well deserved award for Tage Thompson.
Calder Memorial Trophy
Winner: Matty Beniers
Runner Up: Juraj Slafkovsky
Given to the Rookie of the Year, the Calder is a symbol of great beginnings of an NHL career. With their starts to the season catalogued, there is still room for improvement. But based on their performances and trajectory for the rest of the season, it would be wrong not to consider Seattle Kraken’s Matty Beniers as the Calder winner. Beniers, while not on my contention for the Calder at the beginning of the season, demonstrated excellent skill during this season. First overall pick Juraj Slavkofsky made a clear impact in the Habs roster proved himself to be a Calder contender. However, with an injury set back for the rest of the season it is unlikely he will be considered.
Winner: Linus Ullmark
Runner-Ups: Juuse Saros, Igor Shesterkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy
Given to the top goaltender, the Vezina trophy will no doubt be heavily discussed leading up to the awards. With last year’s winner Igor Shesterkin from the New York Rangers likely putting on yet another fantastic performance this season, he will likely be a runner-up for the Vezina once again. On top of this, Andrei Vasilevskiy will also most definitely be a wall in the crease, leading him to be a certain runner-up. Just like earlier, I have Juuse Saros in the top contention for the Vezina with a spectacular performance for the Predators so far this season. However, the player winning the Vezina Trophy is none other than Boston Bruins’ Linus Ullmark who outshines each goaltender by tenfold, not only in wins but in save percentage. This would be an easy win for Ullmark considering his performance this season thus far.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
Winner: Cale Makar
Runner-Up: K’Andre Miller
Given to the top defenseman, it is no surprise why Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar won the Norris. With an outstanding performance, he will continue to prove himself within the league and as one of the best defensemen and players the NHL has ever seen. Makar will most likely win again. However, an underrated pick for the Norris comes from the New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller. Only 23 years old and entering his third NHL season, Miller has a long way to go. But with a growing defensive prowess, Miller is proving himself to be one of the top defenders in the league. While the Norris will likely go to Makar once again, Miller should definitely stay within the future and current Norris Trophy conversation.
Art Ross Trophy
Winner: Connor McDavid
Runner-Up: Leon Draisaitl, Nikita Kucherov
Given to the top point scorer, it is only applicable to the winner or runner-ups of the Hart Memorial Trophy, as the NHL MVP most likely also holds the most points. Given, Connor McDavid’s performance and goal scoring output, there is little doubt he will take home the Art Ross Trophy. However, that doesn’t mean that Draisaitl and Kucherov cannot hold their own and can be a part of the Art Ross contention if McDavid manages to fall behind.
Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy
Winner: Connor McDavid
Runner-Ups: David Pastrnak, Tage Thompson, Jason Robertson
Given to the top goal scorer, it will be a close race between Connor McDavid and other names throughout the league especially Pastrnak and Thomspon who can both pull through to be Rocket Richard contenders. Other players to consider are Jason Robertson, who can easily post 50 or more goals. However, this will will most likely be a close race between McDavid and Pastrnak that will only be answered when the season comes to a close.
With the mid-season predictions out of the way, it will be interesting to see how the season changes and what names emerge or lose their status regarding award contention.
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