We're going to do two awards a day and analyze who we think should win and then say who we think will win. Because there's always a difference and nobody leaves happy except the player who won.
Calder Memorial Trophy
this trophy is awarded to the best first-year player in the league
Finalists: Adam Henrique, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
At the start of the season, it looked like Henrique would be going back to the minors. But then injuries to Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson gave Henrique the golden opportunity that he was waiting for. And he delivered big for the Devils. He was first in assists among rookies and third in points with fifty-one. He was also a huge part of the Devils penalty kill, tying the league-lead in shorthanded goals.
Not only is he a pretty face but he's a really good player. He never looked out of place playing with the big boys and showed the confidence that veterans have. The fact that he was a rookie constantly surprised us...didn't help that he looks about twenty-three. He tied the league-lead in rookie points and was second in goals. He averaged almost nineteen minutes a night, played on the penalty kill and was a plus-20.
Baby-faced Nuge wasn't a lock to make the team but he showed poise and skill way beyond his eighteen-years. But he had a goal in his first ever NHL game and only two games later, had a hat trick. Nugent-Hopkins finished tied with Landeskog for the rookie lead in scoring and played twenty fewer games because of a shoulder injury. He was also a huge part of the Oilers successful power play, being the quarterback and all.
Who we would pick: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
There is a little bias here but most of our picks are biased, duh. Honestly though, we really like how Nugent-Hopkins plays bigger than his 6'1", 175lb frame and makes a difference on the ice. It is also impressive to put up the numbers he did while missing twenty games. He was still able to end up tied for rookie scoring despite dealing with a shoulder injury.
Who is probably going to win: Gabriel Landeskog
It's hard to argue with his stats this season. He was a plus-20, played almost nineteen minutes a game and was a solid player for the Avalanche. Also, he's the name that everyone knows and we can see him winning this one.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
this award is given to a player who is gentlemanly and also puts up a lot of points and spends little time in the penalty box
Finalists: Brian Campbell, Jordan Eberle and Matt Moulson
He played all 82 games this season, which surprised us. But then he only took three penalties. That's it. Campbell was also second among defensemen with 49 assists and 53 points which also surprised us. His offensive prowess and nearly penalty-free year definitely went under the radar in the hockey world. Most impressive though is the fact that he took only one penalty after the All Star Game.
Eberle had career highs in goals, assists and points while only going to the penalty box five times in the season. Pretty good for a young player. There were thirty-one games between penalties until he took an interference call in the last game of the season. Being on a young team and not getting the calls you want, we're sure it's hard to keep a temper in. But it's kind of obvious now that Eberle just doesn't have one.
Moulson had thirty-six goals and six penalty minutes which makes him the first player since Paul Kariya to have more than thirty goals and single-digit penalty minutes. It actually seems ridiculous in a way that someone could have that many points yet so few penalty minutes. He had a forty-seven game stretch of games where he wasn't called for a single penalty.
Who we would pick: Jordan Eberle
Yeah, yeah it's biased but seriously? The kid plays with hot-head Taylor Hall and somehow that personality and borderline rage-outs did not rub off on him. Also, he plays in the Western Conference where players are bigger and scarier and definitely push around a small guy. Being a smaller player, Eberle has to be careful that he doesn't get frustrated and hook someone or slash them after a bigger dude just barrels him over. It helps that Eberle seems not to have that kind of personality after all. If he doesn't win it this year, he will in the future.
Who is probably going to win: Matt Moulson
East-coast bias! Kidding. But seriously, we think he's gonna win it because he is in the East and gets talked about more. He also had more goals and less penalty minutes than both of the other guys. It's a solid pick and we can see why he would be picked.