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.
this award is given to the league's best goaltender based on whatever the voters feel like such as shutouts and save percentage and stats like that
Finalists: Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne
Oh Henrik. Good lord, this Swedish man. He had eight shutouts and 39 wins which is impressive considering that he played the least amount of games since his rookie year. He also had career-bests in goal against and save percentage. While at his best, the Rangers made it to the conference finals before before being ousted by the Devils. Lundqvist was a huge part of the Rangers success this season and the reason why they sat atop the Eastern Conference at the end of the season.
It's amazing what a year does for a goaltender. Or even a coaching change. Ever since the sour-faced Darryl Sutter took over as head coach of the Kings, the defense tightened up and Quick also improved. He became the stalwart goaltender that the Kings needed and posted ten shutouts. Ten. He had more shutouts than Henrik Lundqvist. Listen kiddos, that just doesn't happen. Of course his defense had a huge part in it but he was also making the saves that needed to be made.
Pekka played the most games out of any goaltender with seventy-three. Seventy-three games out of eighty-two. That is absolutely insane and also super impressive. Even though Nashville is thought of as a defensive team, the Predators still relied heavily on their goaltender which is super-obvious by the amount of games that Rinne played. He led the league with 43 wins which is also a very impressive number when you think about the other goaltenders in the league and what they are capable of.
Who we would pick: Jonathan Quick
Voting is done before the playoffs are over so that is not taken into account. We like Quick for the Vezina for two main reasons. One is the fact that he led the league in shutouts. Shutouts are an important stat because it shows how 'on' a goaltender is and also that he played the whole game without letting in a goal. And we all know that is harder than it looks. The second stat that we look to is the fact that the Kings were 29th in the league in scoring and had a ton of games with one goal scored or fewer. Quick had to be perfect every game for the Kings to win.
Who is probably going to win: Henrik Lundqvist
Because it has to be his time, some time. And while Quick and Rinne are great goaltenders, there isn't another goaltender like Lundqvist who has been up for the Vezina almost every season and gets beat out by the 'hot' goalie of the moment.
this award is given to the league's top defenseman, duh
Finalists: Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber
Chara had his best offensive season and led the league in ice time. What else is new about this giant? His ice time averaged twenty-five minutes a night and never let the puck out of the offensive zone on a power play. Or at least it seemed like it. Chara seems to always be nominated for the Norris, like every year.
Karlsson had one of the best offensive seasons by a defenseman in years. He was tied for tenth in league scoring. League scoring, as in all players, not just defensemen. He was tops in scoring for defensemen with 78 points. And he was also a plus 16 which is impressive considering how offensive he is (gotta make sure the kid knows how to actually play defense).
Weber was also a huge part of his team's offense this season. He tied Karlsson in defense goals with nineteen and had his best offensive season to date. And that's saying a lot considering what his last season have been like. He was also the quarterback for the league's best power play unit while also playing a lot on the penalty kill. Plus, his beard causes fear in the hearts of lesser defensemen.
Who we would pick: Shea Weber
Because it's Shea Weber and he deserves every award for everything and it's not just because of the beard. And also because he is definitely one of the best defensemen in the league, all-around, and still possess one of the most feared slapshots in the league. If Chara didn't exist, Weber would have the record for the hardest shot in the last two All-Star games.
Who is probably going to win: Erik Karlsson
Somehow the Norris trophy has become a trophy that is being won through offensive prowess among defensemen. Oh, wait, it's always been about that. Well, Karlsson is the offensive leader and he had a pretty huge year in the points department. And we think that's how this award will shake out.